Movie Review – Varsham

Life for some people is nothing but an expedition to make money. Although it may appear that such people don’t have a life beyond business, they also have emotions and personal attachments. PK Venugopal, the hero in Varsham, is one such complicated character. He is someone who has tried even shady ways to grow his gold finance company. He plans for the future of his son and even secures him a paid medical seat in advance. Although he appears as a gentleman to the people around him, he carries a purposive and devious approach in his relationships, evident from his reluctance to bother about the wellbeing of his domestic help.

When his only son dies unexpectedly one morning, Venugopal feels a sudden vacuum for the first time in his life. He does not make any conscious attempt to get over it, and slowly resigns himself to his fate. He often says he had the money to treat his son if only god had given him an opportunity. He laments the lost opportunities to become a caring father to his son. But this does not bring about a positive change in him. Driven to distraction by his personal tragedy, Venugopal detests life altogether, and even decides to stop his charity work citing silly excuses.

His doleful life springs back to good times when he happens to meet Aslam, a customer who collapses in his office. Realising that Aslam approached his firm for a gold loan for the surgery of his son Amir, Venugopal readily offers to help. This incident makes him look back at what he has achieved through iniquitous ways, and what he can do to help the society. Post this noble act, he tells his wife that he has had a good sleep in several days. Amidst all difficulties, Venugopal introduces some reforms in the private finance industry and ventures into new areas of business that could benefit the society. Naturally, he faces opposition from his peers in the industry. But Venugopal is determined to take forward his new concept of financial probity, and feels that it is the best tribute he can give to his son. The film is about this resoluteness and the positive change it brings to his life.

Strictly speaking, Varsham is a touching drama that attempts to yank you down into an emotional whirlpool, scene after scene. Mammootty leads the pack and sparkles as Venugopal, showing yet again how gifted an actor he is. The best moment of the film is when a distraught Venugopal understands about the loss of his son and confirms it with the doctor. The movie starts a little shaky with all the conventional masalas of a family life. We also see several cliched faces in films of this genre, like a loquacious and inquisitive housemaid, snooping neighbours, a laughing club leader, and a caring elder brother. Asha Sarath offers excellent support to Mammootty as his complaining yet lovable wife. Sudheer Karamana enjoys a good long run in the film and is cast in a role different from his usual avatars. TG Ravi has his moments and appears thoroughly convincing in a character tailor-made for him. Director Ranjith Sankar himself wrote the film and he can be proud of its intricate details and end result. I would give the film 6 out of 10 and place it just below his Punyalan Agarbathis in comparison. As Venugopal remarks that he felt an invigorating change after a torrential rain the night before, the film itself can be a potential rain of change for the parents who do not allow their children to be themselves, the businessmen who do not see the preciousness of relationships, and the many couples who do not know the strength of togetherness.

Photo: Theatrical poster, courtesy of Yentha.com.

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