Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Sundar C.|
|Produced by||D. Dinesh Karthik|
|Written by||Venkat Raghavan
|Screenplay by||Sundar C.|
|Story by||Sundar C.|
|Music by||Bharathwaj (soundtrack)
Karthik Raja (score)
|Cinematography||U. K. Senthil Kumar|
|Edited by||N. B. Srikanth|
Vision i Medias
|Distributed by||Sri Thenandal Films
Red Giant Movies
|Budget||12 crore (US$1.9 million)|
|Box office||22 crore (US$3.5 million)|
Aranmanai (Tamil: அரண்மனை, English: Palace) is an Indian Tamil horror comedy film co-written and directed by Sundar C. The film features an ensemble cast including Sundar C., Vinay Rai, Santhanam, Hansika Motwani, Andrea Jeremiah, Raai Laxmi, Nithin Sathya, Kovai Sarala and Manobala. The film was started by the end of September 2013  and released on September 19, 2014.It is also dubbed into Telugu as Chandrakala on December 19, 2014.
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (September 2014)|
In a village, a team of people are led by Ayyanar (Saravanan) on a tractor. They are going to tidy the palace for owners who are coming to their ancestral Aranmanai (palace) to sell it. During the night, the cook (Kadhal Dhandapani) is frightened by some supernatural being in the palace and he disappears.
The next day, an estranged Eshwari (Kovai Sarala) returns with her husband (Manobala) and son (Nithin Sathya). Eshwari's brother's (Chitra Lakshmanan) and his daughter Maya (Raai Laxmi), welcome them. The brother and sister, along with another older brother's son Murali (Vinay Rai) and his newly wedded wife Madhavi (Andrea Jeremiah) have gathered to sell their Palace off to Ayyanar, who had leased the property for five years. Meanwhile, Paalsamy (Santhanam) sneaks into the Aranmanai under the guise of a cook, to find a photograph that is a sole evidence that he is also an heir to the palace, so that he can claim his share of the money.
They stay at the Aranmanai but strange incidents happen. Madhavi sees a servant's daughter speaking to someone who is supposedly an invisible person named Selvi Akka. The mother of the girl explains that she's mentally unstable. Mishaps continue to happen and they are unable to sell the palace,so they extend their stay. Meanwhile two other servants have also gone missing. Now Ravi (Sundar.C), the older brother of Madhavi comes to the palace to meet his sister. Hilarious incidents happen as Paalsamy tries to woo Maya and he has Ravi and Eshwari's son competing with him. Madhavi and Maya tell Ravi that there are weird things happening in the house. So he sets cameras up around the house with Maya's help.
Ravi sees that a worker is backing away from something, but the camera starts to fizz and goes out. At the same time, a fortune teller in front of the house runs away in terror, seeing something. The next day in the village pond, there are three bodies of the murdered workers found by the police. Ravi is shocked and visits the fortune teller who ran away from his house that night. The man reveals that he saw a worker being killed by a woman possessed by a vengeful spirit and he gives him an egg infused with dark magic, and tells that the egg will start reacting when the possessed woman is close-by. The police officers interrogate all the members of the house about the murders with Ravi seated opposite and the egg placed in front of him. Finally when the egg starts reacting by spinning vigorously, he looks up to see that the woman is none other than his own sister, Madhavi sitting for interrogation. He follows her and sees Madhavi wear a big round vermilion on her forehead and the mirror reflection shows Selvi(Hansika Motwani). Relating with the little girl's talks and the name Selvi, Ravi sets out to investigate.
The villagers portray Selvi as the girl who stole the Temple deity's jewels and ran off from the village. He comes across Selvi's friend Ramya. She says that Selvi is a nice girl who shared a sister-like relation with her living in the same house and that she is not a thief. Selvi is a girl who often impersonates the goddess and predicts the future accurately for the villagers. She adds that back then, Murali was not yet married and when he came to the village, he fell in love with Selvi. Selvi also liked him but she held herself back to maintain her holiness. On the day when Murali leaves the village, he expected her reply and asks her to meet him at his house before he leaves. Ramya encouraged Selvi to go and confess her love to Murali. Ramya ends her conversation with Ravi by saying that Selvi also left the house on that note and had gone missing since then.
As per Ravi's plan, when Ramya comes to meet the possessed Madhavi, she recognizes Ramya and tells her all that happened after she left the house that day. It is revealed that Ayyanar and his goons stole the temple's jewels and had replaced them with fake ones. Selvi knew this as she was equipped with prediction powers and confronted them. To hide their act, they killed her and buried her inside the palace when she came to meet Murali to confess her love. She also says that she wants to be with Murali always, as today is an auspicious day (Eclipse), and if she gets intimate with Murali, no one can drive her out of Madhavi's body forever. If her plans fail today, she will kill Murali, so that they will live together after death.
Ravi hears all this and tries to stop them but in vain. He meets a Swamiji (Kota Srinivasa Rao) who says that there are only two ways to stop Selvi's mayhem. One is by using a strong memory to bring Madhavi to her senses while she is possessed. Due to lack of time, it is a tough job and the other option is to bring Murali to the river junction where the ritual of the Eclipse takes place and goddess deities will be immersed in the river, generating a powerful energy which will help in separating Selvi's soul from Madhavi. Ravi instructs the members of the house to somehow disturb them and cause confusion to buy time. Selvi meanwhile, sends Murali into a trance and leaves the house to kill the remaining person - Ayyanar. She finds him and finally kills him. When she is gone, Swamiji and Ravi are back in the house trying to bring Murali out of his trance but Selvi is back and does not let Murali go, and threatens to injure Madhavi's body. Swami traps her in a circle of fire and helps Murali leave the house with Ravi. But she escapes and follows them and their car overturns and falls into the river. Selvi tries to drown Murali but Ravi stops her and tells Madhavi is pregnant and brings her to her senses but only briefly. At the same time, in the shore of the river, the goddess deity is immersed in the ritual and the power comes through the water to Selvi and she is released from Madhavi's body as the eclipse fades away. Selvi is seen from the sky and she sadly disappears and the couple reunite. In the end it is seen that another buyer has arrived to buy the palace and also Ravi unites with Maya.The camera then zooms to one of the rooms in the palace and is seen that Selvi still lives in there.
- Sundar C. as Ravi
- Vinay as Murali
- Santhanam as Paalswamy
- Hansika Motwani as Selvi
- Andrea Jeremiah as Madhavi Murali
- Raai Laxmi as Maya
- Nithin Sathya as Eshwari's son
- Kovai Sarala as Eshwari
- Manobala as Eshwari's husband
- Chithra Lakshmanan as Maya's father
- Kota Srinivasa Rao as Swamiji
- Saravanan as Ayyanar
- Akhila as Ramya
- Kadhal Dhandapani
- Vichu Viswanath
- Santhana Bharathi as Chairman
- Ganeshkar as Cook
- Aarthi as Herself
- Meera Krishnan as Murali's Mother
- Yogi Babujii
- Manikka Vinayagam
- Sirkazhi G. Sivachidambaram
Hansika Motwani confirmed in September 2013 that she had signed the film. She also stated she played the main lead and that the story revolves around her character, which was later reported to be a lady with supernatural powers. The month before, Ragini Dwivedi stated that she signed up for the film, but she was later replaced by Raai Laxmi, while Andrea Jeremiah was also chosen for an important role. Andrea's character was said to have a humorous side. It was reported that Arya would play the male lead, but the role went went to Vinay Rai. Nithin Sathya tweeted that he was a part of the film too. Sundar C. himself played a supporting role as the brother of Andrea's character.
The filming was started on 28 September 2013 in Pollachi with Raai Laxmi, Andrea, Kovai Sarala, Nithin Sathya and Manobala. Hansika joined the team on 6 October 2013 and told "it's a super challenging role for me that I haven't done till today". The film largely takes place in a palace, for which a set created by Mohan Babu in Hyderabad was used. 2 crores were spent for renovating the palace, in which 70 per cent of the film was shot. According to Sundar C, the film features more than one hour of computer graphics imagery.
- Katthi Parvakkadsdari - Karthik, Surmukhi
- Peeche Peeche - M. M. Manasi, Surmukhi, Monisha
- Petromax Light - Velmurugan, Hariharasudhan
- Sonnathu - Sadhana Sargam,Harini
- Unnaye Enniye - Ananthu, Mukesh, MLR Karthikeyan
The satellite rights of the film were bagged by Sun TV. The film was given a "U/A" certificate by the Indian Censor Board, It is censored PG in UK . The Tamil Nadu distribution rights of the film were bought by Rama Narayanan's Sri Thenaandal Films who would jointly release Aranmanai with Udhayanidhi Stalin's Red Giant Movies on September 19, 2014 across Tamil Nadu.
Aranmanai received positive reviews. The Times of India gave the film 3 stars out of 5 and wrote, "This is kitchen sink filmmaking but there is an assurance in how it is done. The film also feels somewhat overlong but the director manages to keep things moving that we just go with the flow. The visual effects are tacky and often excessive while the performances are functional...but then, the film doesn't take itself too seriously and so, we are able to overlook these niggles, and just about enjoy the ride". Deccan Chronicle gave 3 stars and called it "a film which entertains you with its Sundar’s signature style of slapstick comedy combined with some scary moments". Bangalore Mirror wrote, "The horror scenes have been thoughtfully crafted and the principal cast punctuates the thrilling moments with great timing. Tactfully, he (Sundar) has had made a mirch masala from films like Chandramukhi, Arundhathi and Aayiram Jenmangal. Sify wrote, "The commercial elements comedy, horror and glamour has been mixed in the right proposition by the writer and director. What works is a riveting performance by Hansika, along with comedy track of Santhanam &Co and is packaged as a fun entertainer by Sundar C". Behindwoods.com gave 2.25 out of 5 and wrote, "Sundar C is back with his typical commercial, fun filled entertainer that has all elements that will keep you engaged all the way, making you overlook those “not-too-glaring” flaws". Cinemalead.com rated 3/5 and wrote, "Aranmanai might not scare you much. Nor does it have something out of the box. But it successfully sets out doing what it intended to". Indiaglitz.com gave 3.25 out of 5 and wrote, "The saying, "old wine in a new bottle", might fit Aranmanai with Sundar C's narration and screenplay helping the movie out of its predictable script".
The Hindu wrote, "What’s truly scary about Aranmanai is how it brings nothing new to the horror genre...The film has a whole host of stereotypes associated with the horror genre in Tamil cinema...In many ways, Aranmanai is like a time machine. A few scenes into the film and you find yourself transported to the 80s". Rediff gave 2 stars out of 5 and wrote, "Sundar C seems to have let his fans down with this cliché-ridden supernatural thriller. The narration moves at a slow pace and horror moments are practically non-existent. Even the "Aranmanai", around which the entire story revolves, is not impressive".
Aranmanai took a good opening with a first day gross of 2.60 crore (US$410,000) in Tamil Nadu and went to collect gross over 7.55 crore (US$1.2 million) in its opening weekend. In Chennai alone, it collected 89.48 lakh (US$140,000) in the first weekend. After one week the film's collection was estimated at 11.5 crore (US$1.8 million) according to Sreedhar Pillai. Sify wrote that the film had grossed around 18 crores in two weeks at the Tamil Nadu box-office.