Directed by Amal Neerad, this Fahadh Faasil-Aishwarya Lekshmi starrer 'Varathan' portrays the challenges that an NRI Malayali couple face when they leave Dubai to return and settle down in a village in Kerala.
Directed by Amal Neerad, this Fahadh Faasil-Aishwarya Lekshmi starrer ‘Varathan’ portrays the challenges that an NRI Malayali couple face when they leave Dubai to return and settle down in a village in Kerala. What makes this thriller terrifying and gripping is its dark narrative that probes deep into the unspoken real life challenges the couple tackle when they return to their home town in Kerala. You are given clues in ‘Varathan’ in the form of missing garments, a mobile phone camera hidden in the bathroom, lewd songs, peeping Toms hovering around the kitchen to get a glimpse of a woman at work. From these scenes that leave you disturbed right from the start, a film goer can deduce how the unwanted and uninvited gaze of strangers cause disturbance in the life of a couple.
Living abroad changes the young Malayali couple, perhaps in little ways that seem ‘big’ to rural folks, like how they hold hands when having tea, or how they enjoy each other’s company in public space or even something as simple as wearing western clothes and speaking English. For instance, the scene in ‘Varathan’ when they reach the village tea shop and drink tea, after which the men hold a discussion on ‘What was she wearing? Morality is at risk in this village now.” This mindset is what the young couple have to deal with every day.
In ‘Varathan’, Priya’s gestures and body language embody the essence of a fearless and intelligent woman. Surrounded by corrupt minds, wagging tongues that conjure lies and colourful stories more than liquor, the ugly reality of a decadent, feudal mindset looms large on Abin (starring Fahadh Faasil) and Priya (Aishwarya Lekshmi). Throughout the narrative in ‘Varathan’, you cannot help feeling disturbed by the way Priya is stared at.
Her husband Aby comes as across as calm and practical. He likes to focus on his work, does not like to kill even a cockroach with his ‘let live’ policy and avoids reacting even under provocative situations. This is the point where the audience begins to doubt the unflappable serenity of the husband who is easily convinced by the feeble alibis of those whom his wife suspects to be stalking her.
What happens next is as terrifying as reality can be as the action scenes unfold. The screenplay is rock solid and gripping, the BGM keeps you on the edge of your seat and the music, while it lifts your spirits with its soothing cadence, lets you relax just a bit.
Coming to the ‘rogues’ in the film, Sharafudheen as ‘Josey’, who is known for his comic roles, is outstanding in his performance. His every glance, mannerisms and body language gets under the skin of the dark narrative. Other character artists have also marked their presence with aplomb like Dilesh Pothan, whose effortless and natural style of acting is a pleasure to watch.
#Varathan 3.5/5. Awesome thriller, slow burner, last 20 minutes goosebump moments. #AmalNeerad nailed it. #FahadhFaasil fantastic, steals the show. @Aishwarya__nair an actress of substance. Super = Camera #LittilSwayamp, Sound #TapasNayak Music #SushinShyam. Traces of #StrawDogs
— Sreedhar Pillai (@sri50) September 21, 2018
Given the sensitive portrayal of a woman who is stared at and stalked continuously, ‘Varathan’ is already getting good reviews on social media as one of Amal Neerad’s best directed movies till date.