Fahadh Faasil and Aishwarya Lekshmi play the lead roles in Varathan, directed by Amal Neerad and produced by Fahadh’s wife, actress Nazriya Nazim.
Plot: Abin (Fahadh) and Priya (Aishwarya) have been happily married for four years. After the recession in Dubai leaves Abin without his IT job, the couple returns to Priya’s ancestral property in Kerala to start their lives and careers afresh. Trouble grows as the men in the village lech after Priya. Owing to their strong patriarchal mindset, they can’t bear to see a woman they can’t control. How Abin deals with these men and protects his wife forms the crux of the tale.
- Fahadh and Aishwarya make a lovely pair and look extremely comfortable in each other’s company. They appear natural onscreen and have a certain sophisticated charm.
- When the film shifts gears and explodes into action, Fahadh displays a subtle brand of ‘macho’ and heroism. His transformation is highly gallery-pleasing, and has been presented in a stylized manner.
- The scenes in which Aishwarya is at the receiving end of abuse are not overtly sexual, but suggestive. She acts well in these tense moments. The conversation between her and Fahadh just before the final action stretch is great
- Sporting a thick beard, Sharaf U Dheen bears more than a passing resemblance to Randeep Hooda. He is menacing in his role as the villainous clan leader.
- Cinematographer Littil Swayamp uses high-speed shots to good effect, luring the viewers into the drama and tension. The hilly terrain (in Wagamon) lends itself well to the film’s genre and mood. The film is a slow-burn with a riveting finale.
- Sushin Shyam’s background score is terrific; the usage of some peculiar sound effects sends our pulses racing. It’s just what a thriller drama needs.
- A couple of romantic songs in the early part of the film do not leave much of an impression.
- The final 20-odd minutes, in which the hero beats the living daylights out of the baddies requires a suspension of disbelief. There’s not much logic to how he suddenly transforms from a soft gentleman into this raging lion. The stunt sequences are also over the top and typically commercial.
Final Word: With an adrenaline-pumping final stretch, Varathan is good bang for the buck.