In Aranmanai 3, Yogi Babu plays a thief called Abhishek (lel), who thinks he has stolen 10 kg of gold and safeguards it in the titular Aranmanai.
But the audience knows that it is not 10 kg of gold but 10 kg of dosa batter.
How far can this joke be extended successfully?
Sundar C does it for almost 3 hours.
Actually, this is nothing for Sundar C, compared to how he has managed to extend the same-premise franchise for three whole movies and maybe into the future as well.
“Cash grab!” someone shouts.
Yes, but only in ways like how the MCU is a source of recurring revenue. It is a cash grab but certainly better in many ways than the immediately comparable Kanchana franchise.
“Okay, they are really serious about discussing the Aranmanai franchise” someone shouts.
Yes, as is the case, we are ahead of the curve in assessing pop-culture phenomenons, when all other review bodies can only see this as a cash grab. They will continue to see it as a cash grab till maybe the fifth or sixth installment (or till the point of ego-breakdown) and write think pieces about how “Aranmanai” is actually good.
This cycle happened for many franchises, including The Fast and the Furious, whenever review bodies see franchises, they see it is as a devious corporate attempt to extract more money from the same.
But Aranmanai 3 is actually good. Very good.
And I am not saying this because of my inherent bias towards Raashi Khanna films. #FullDisclosure
A good way to gauge interest while watching a movie is to pause it at any moment (thanks to OTT) and see if we are able to guess the rest of the way. Most of the movies would fail in this test, but the investment that I have in the characters alone would see me through.
For Aranmanai 3, I tried to do this multiple times and always Sundar C and team always won.
If Aranmanai can be seen as an extension of Chandramukhi and Aranmanai 2 an entry which was just finding it’s footing in mythological horror; Aranmanai 3 can be seen as Sundar C completely embracing the madness.
Always crazy in thought and totally shocking in execution, you will see stone lions come to life, undying love and half dead bodies, scheming paintings, competing saamiyars, poison spewing paatis, piano playing ghosts, tik tok obsessed aunts, matted lock sadhu brigade and lots and lots more that you will forget to be shocked when singers Shankar Mahadevan and Hariharan appear as themselves leading a lord Murgan themed rock concert somewhere in the unreachable hills in this undefined film.
If the writing team had suggested 100 ideas during the discussion, all of them, repeat, all of them, made it into the film.
It’s great! It’s baroque! It’s nothing like anything!
It’s a movie where two ghosts come together to form a combined fighting unit!
What’s not to like?
Then there is director Sundar C himself recurs as Ravi, the great controller of all the strands of the plot. Each of these strands as dangerous as the snakes on Medusa’s head and only he can make sense of it all, and even that pressure is lifted off from our shoulders.
Also, this is the last appearance of Vivek sir, extending his sadboi comedian persona well into the beyond, he will be missed.
Aranmanai 4, yes over here, I’m interested; but can Sundar C ever top this?
Aranmanai 3 is now streaming on Zee 5.