Aranmanai 4 review: Tamannaah shines brightest in the best instalment in Sundar C’s horror franchise

Tamannaah gets an author-backed role in 'Aranmanai 4', and she delivers the tour de force performance of the film.

ByAvinash Ramachandran

Published:May 03, 2024

A poster of the film Aranmanai 4

Aranmanai 4 (Tamil)

03-05-2024, Horror-Comedy, 2 hours 28 minutes U/A
  • Main Cast:Sundar C, Tamannaah Bhatia, Raashi Khanna, and Yogi Babu
  • Director:Sundar C
  • Producer:ACS Arun Kumar and Khushbu Sundar
  • Music Director:Hiphop Tamizha
  • Cinematography:E Krishnasamy



For someone who has been directing films for almost three decades in Tamil cinema, it is interesting how Sundar C has managed to always be relevant. Even if he is not ahead of the curve, he is fixed firmly on it.

Yes, he has delivered comedies that will stand the test of time, but the Aranmanai film series is one of the most fascinating works of director Sundar C.

The bedrock of this franchise that has spanned over a decade and four films is not the storytelling, the performances, the chills, the laughs or even the glamour, it is conviction. It is the filmmaker’s conviction that clichés are par for the course in a genre like horror comedy.

He understands the audience and seems to know what they want.

In Aranmanai 4 — the latest instalment of this hit franchise, Sundar C’s unflappable conviction is aided by a solid story, convincing performances, the right dose of scares, humour that starts shakily but ends on a high, and the most important ingredient of them all —sentiment.


Raashi Khanna and Kovai Sarala in Aranmanai 4

Raashi Khanna and Kovai Sarala in ‘Aranmanai 4’. (Supplied)

Aranmanai 4 wastes no time in setting up the premise, and visually narrates the story of the ghost that is going to torment the lives of our protagonists.

Soon after we see the inhuman and demonic power of the ghost, we meet lawyer Saravanan (Sundar C), who dotes on his now-estranged sister Selvi (Tamannaah Bhatia).

An extended but pointless fight scene ensues and we are understandably uncomfortable about what’s in store. But the writing pulls us right back in by focusing on Selvi’s story which is intriguing from the very beginning.

The film is burdened by many such detours like fights, strained attempts at comedy, and a brief brush with what could have been a potentially disastrous romance angle.

But the writing pulls us back from these distractions and places us right in the supernatural proceedings, and this is where Aranmanai 4 gets a lot of things right.

Check out gallery: Tamannaah Bhatia and Raashi Khanna’s stills from ‘Aranmanai 4

Sundar C adopts a novel premise

Sundar C plays the protagonist in the latest instalment

Sundar C plays the protagonist in the latest instalment of Aranmanai. (Supplied)

Usually, in the Aranmanai films, there is a ghost baiting for revenge, and the inhabitants of the eponymous Aranmanai are subject to the shenanigans of the said ghost. Of course, this ghost goes on to possess one of the protagonists.

This horror-comedy-horror oscillation continues till there is divine intervention and Sundar C’s character swoops in to save the day.

This tried-and-tested template started getting tired and tested our patience in the third instalment.

Learning from the mistakes of the ghosts of the Aranmanai past, Sundar C and his team ensure Aranmanai 4 has quite a novel premise.

He removes the usual “Is she the ghost or is it the other heroine” trope in the Aranmanai films and lets us know what is going to happen right from the first time we meet Tamannaah’s Selvi.

He gambles this for the investigative angle behind the whys and hows, and it works in favour of Aranmanai 4.

Tamannaah adds another feather to her cap 

Tamannaah steals the show in Aranmanai 4

Tamannaah steals the show in ‘Aranmanai 4’. (Supplied)

Tamannaah Bhatia is the soul (pun intended) of the film, and it is her presence that adds the all-important gravitas needed for the movie.

Even if Aranmanai 4 doesn’t give most of its lead actors scope for performance, Tamannaah gets an author-backed role, and she delivers the tour de force performance of the film.

Another inspiring casting choice is of KGF-fame Ram, who is equal parts menacing, and funny with his straight-faced performance.

The other actors, including prolific comedians like Kovai Sarala and Yogi Babu, are left high and dry with scenes that might offer half a smile amidst the overwhelming sense of boredom and distaste.

However, the humour and the performances come into their own in the outlandish last act, which technically shouldn’t have worked on paper but there is something magical about its transition to the screen.

Before we make up our minds if this works, we are laughing with the film, and are amazed by moments of absolute conviction where there is an “Amman” song, cameos by legends of the industry, and an overall sense of satisfaction of leaving the theatre with high spirits.

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Emotions compensate for artificiality

Another strong point of Aranmanai 4 is the succinct flashback.

The reasons for the ghost(s) to exist in this Aranmanai make a lot of sense, and there is a sincere attempt to connect all the dots without breaking away from the logic and rules of this world created by Sundar C.

Be it the visuals of the village, where everything unfolds, or the ghosts that are flying around in the last act, everything seems artificial for sure.

But after a while, we are so invested in the proceedings that the lack of quality is overshadowed by the presence of emotions.

Sundar C’s cinema is not restricted by the boundaries of genre. He might make a complete comedy or a gripping revenge thriller.

But it won’t be without the mass masala elements, albeit used in a way that isn’t overpowering.

Final take

The Aranmanai franchise is Sundar C’s mass masala-fication of the horror genre. With the belief exuded by the director in this latest instalment, he has hit it out of the palace. And, all we can say is, “May the Aranmanai 4 be with you!”

(Views expressed here are personal.)