Varathan review: a movie with good blend of all flavors
Varathan is definitely an Amal Neerad film with things that are signature to his style. Stylized frames, slow motion, guns, stunts, and all the other things are there and along with that Varathan is political and intriguing till it unfolds. The climax is the main highlight here where we see our hero unleash his rage in the most practical way and with the sensible buildup the movie generates till that point, the climax gives you a high which makes the movie good blend of all flavors.
Abi and Priya are a couple who has been working in Dubai. Some issues in personal and professional sphere make them leave that place and come back to Kerala for some time. Thus they go to this farmhouse owned by Priya’s family. But what happens after reaching there wasn’t really pleasing for them, especially for Priya. What are those problems and how does Abi respond to that is what Varathan talking about.
Patriarchy is the villain of the movie. Every antagonist in the film is a representation of an orthodox male-dominated patriarchal society. But the movie gives them rooted layers to make them look real which intensifies the venom in them. The physically less tough actors make those characters look convincing and Amal Neerad manages to take away his usual stylization factor for a major portion of the movie helping the process of building the intrigue. The distractions, in the beginning, were a bit typical, but then the movie grabs pace and you are easily invested in the story. Post interval, it is both survival and reaction and that mixture is built in a very gripping way.
What is most exciting about this movie for me was its courage to be political. When the hero decides to respond to male dominant old-school mindsets, he gets labeled as a Maoist. That along with many such visual instances is there in the movie which clarifies its politics with subtlety. They have neither softened it nor made it an out loud agenda and that is exactly the beauty of it. Amal Neerad shows a new aspect in his making style, which is building intrigue. He refrains from stylization to give a gap from glossiness and when Abi shifts gears in the last 20 minutes, its claps and whistles. The edits are slick and Sushin Shyam’s background score gives an extra punch to the thrill. The action choreography is also fabulous.
The graceful hero Fahadh Faasil carries Abi smartly and neatly. It has a one-dimensional tone, but with his expressive eyes, Fahadh manages to give the character layers of emotions. Aishwarya Lekshmi manages to make a space for her own by being equally important by putting an impressive show as Priya. She depicted the mood swings of the character very naturally. Dileesh Pothan was convincing. I loved the new interpretation Amal Neerad gave to actor Sharafudheen. The gang of Sharafudheen, Arjun Ashokan and Vijilesh has this realness in their performance. Nisthar Sait, Chetan Jayalal, Unnimaya Prasad etc are some of the other names in the list.
Varathan is a technically brilliant, interestingly political and engagingly narrated piece of cinema. If the genre needs an evolvement, then perhaps a Varathan can make filmmakers think differently.
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