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Times of India
What makes Arundhati a watchable film is the cast.
Do reincarnation films work today? Tollywood tries to break the formula at times with thrillers or horror stories, but hardly ever with relationship tales. And that's what makes Arundhati worth a watch. Its unusual storyline gives you a respite from the boy-meets-girl stories that are churned out via assembly line. Yes, it's a remake of one of the highest grossing Telugu films of recent times, but this Tolly version has enough Bangaliana in it to make it stand out.
The film follows the ill-fated story of the royal family of Dhulibari. Mishti (Koel), the first daughter born in the family in two decades, visits her ancestral home before her marriage. There, she comes to know that she is the spitting image of her great-grandmother, Arundhati, who was once the reigning queen of Dhulibari. She also learns that Arundhati gave her life to protect her people from the evil Rudra (Indraneil), whom she had buried alive. After many violent and mysterious turns, Mishti realizes that she is the reincarnated avatar of Arundhati and she has to deal with the evil that returns from the dead. Before you start poking holes in the story, let this reviewer remind you that fantasy films are best enjoyed if you leave your logical mind back at home.
What makes Arundhati a watchable film is the cast. Among the supporting actors, Soma Chakrabarty as the caretaker of the rajbari, Annada Ma, is good as usual (if you can ignore the ridiculous white wig) and Debshankar Halder as the fakir baba is appreciable, albeit theatrical at times. Koel and Indraneil fit the requirements of their characters to the T. Koel as queen Arundhati aka Manima looks majestic and acts likewise. But she is a disappointment as Mishti. However, Indraneil as the nefarious Rudra and the evil-to-the-core Kalrudra is quite convincing. Watch out for that lecherous gaze that will make your skin crawl. A suitable background score, appreciable special effects (spirits dissolving into thin air doesn't make you go ROFL) and good production design make the actors' job easier.
The director should be applauded for resisting the urge to throw in unnecessary songs, but he should've been more careful in choosing the side actors. Sujoy as Koel's fiance is awkward and cringeworthy. The same can be said about Koel's extended family — all the members have various expressions of worry on their faces. There's also a dance sequence where Rani Arundhati defeats Rudra for the first time while which you keep thinking, why didn't the director get a better choreographer?