Movie Title: VARATHAN
Director: Amal Neerad
Produced: Amal Neerad
Co-Produced: Nazriya Nazim
Cast: Fahad Fazil, Aishwarya Lakshmi, Sharafudheen, Dileesh Pothen
The story revolves around a couple, who return from Dubai. Abin(Fahad Fazil) loses his job and his wife Priya (Aishwarya Lakshmi) has a miscarriage. They make up their minds and come back to Priya’s homeland. They hope that the change of place will help them come out of their personal loss. But from the time they land, they have to confront lecherous stares and glares. Priya gets stalked and it makes her uncomfortable. Abin is a gentle and friendly person who feels that it’s better to talk than react. But his lack of action does raise a doubt of his incapability of protecting his wife. In the latter part as the hassles keep mounting he unleashes storm against them.
The film displays how Abin -the Varathan (outsider) and Priya are drawn into a game of hostility and violence and caught up in a place of lusting men. The film has an eerie feeling. There is an air of mystery lurking always. There is a bold undercurrent of aggression in this story. Amal Neerad showcases the society that is capable of savagery. The screenplay of Suhas -Sharfu is solid and gripping. They bring out the different shades of the people of that place who are prejudiced against women and who keep leering at women. Something every woman can relate to and keep the tension around. Varathan bears similarities of the psychological thriller Straw Dogs but it isn’t an exact replica Littil Swayamp makes us go through the emotional stress that Priya is suffering when she is being watched continuously.
Fahad has teamed up with Aishwarya Lakshmi and the screen space is evenly shared and portrayed. Every emotion, the pain, the fear, and the anger is portrayed naturally. Fahad has matured in every film gracefully and it is a treat to watch him portray all his emotions well in this movie. Aishwarya portrays the character with a much mature realistic performance. Dileesh Pothan and the others have done their roles well. Sharfudeen gives us a surprise and he plays his character flawlessly. The background music and the songs are a treat to hear. Oduvile Theeyayi is a favorite of mine.
Varathan is undoubtedly the best film of Amal so far and its a treat to watch. The last 30 minutes is superb. It’s a suspense thriller. The main theme is voyeurism and it shows how that affects and traumatizes a woman. It will strike a personal chord with the audience. It speaks of unspoken challenges of life. The story is simple, the strong performances, exceptional background music and splendid making make it a brilliant treat to watch.