The weekend releases haven’t ended yet and with that I finished watching the new Tamil film Varisu last night which is playing at a theatre near me. Pongal, which marks the first festival of the year, is crucial in celebrating the harvest season. But often, theatrically speaking, it marks the first clash of the Titans across industries. So, Hindi films discounted, the festival brought us a 4 way clash between Thalapathy Vijay(Varisu), Thala Ajith(Thunivu), Nandamuri Balakrishnan(Veera Simha) and Chiranjeevi(Waltair Veerayya). This was indeed a lip-smacking contest for the fans who would line up to watch their favourite superstars on the big screen. And so looking at the show timings, I decided to go and watch the Thalapathy Vijay starrer Varisu, in hope of having a gala time. So then does Varisu manage to impress, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
Varisu follows the story of Vijay who is given the task of taking over the business from his father against the wishes of his brothers. What happens next? The story is as old as old can be with absolutely nothing new to offer. It won’t be wrong of me saying that this was an old wine recycled and packaged in a new bottle. I do fully understand that this is a mass masala entertainer and I shouldn’t be seeking story or even logic in this film. But the bar of entertainment cannot be so low with a superstar just catering to the bare minimum fan service. If the story wasn’t novel, the only hope was from its screenplay to provide some entertainment. But standing at almost 170 minutes long, it is daunting and a masterclass in how to expand a wafer thin plot for almost 3 hours.
The drama does start off on a decent note wherein you are introduced to the prime characters before the gala entry of our superstar. So we are told of a family business being carried out against a competitor where despite winning the deal, not everything seems to be alright. Cut to the grand slow-motion entry of the protagonist amidst claps and whistles from the audience, only for him to break into a random gig. So far the entertainment quotient is decent, although nothing much to shout about already. As the story progresses, we get to know that not everything is well between Vijay and his family until a twist of fate brings them together much to the dismay of the brothers. How Vijay wins over their trust forms the rest of the story.
Now, penning a review of Varisu isn’t easy simply because throughout its runtime of 170 minutes, almost nothing substantial happens. Neither the stakes are high nor the events are entertaining or engaging enough. And this while some of the audience members were having an absolute ball. Honestly, this made me question my judgement, am I the only one not enjoying? But as the drama did unfold further, the claps and whistles began to evaporate and that is when my faith my restored. The drama is as flat as a pancake, thus being as predictable as ever. You can sense the pulse of the drama on where it is headed and the events exactly take you to that point. Also, multiple slow-motion shots did nothing but extend the length of the drama.
I have nothing against commercial entertainers provided they do that one thing right, which is to entertain the viewers. But taking the audience for granted is just not right which is what this drama does here. The events are bumpy and so random that it made me wonder why such a film, in times of OTT, was even made in the first place. Even the action sequences did not exude of any confidence. A few emotional scenes did work momentarily but I couldn’t help but think how simplistic this drama actually is. The love angle was an absolute eyesore and the comedy too forced to even have me bother about it. Even the final act where you would otherwise expect a final showdown is executed so poorly that the excitement of watching a Thalapathy Vijay film just wasn’t there. I wonder what would have been the fate of the drama had this been a Hindi film. Memes Galore! Overall, the lesser said the better about the screenplay.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are massy but that is about it. None of the lines are memorable or even meme worthy. The music is good here and even though every song appears out of nowhere, it does provide some respite with some catchy beats and dance moves. The BGM is good as well and atleast tries in enhancing the drama. The cinematography and art design are decent. Director Vamshi Paidipally just misses the mark here. To give you a perspective, some sequences are so poorly executed that even staunchest of Vijay fans would feel cheated. To deliver a mass masala entertainer, you need to create several clap-worthy moments and here you could almost sense the excitement of the audience sinking with every scene.
The performances are decent here. Actors like Prakash Raj and Rashmika Mandanna are absolutely wasted, particularly the latter who has no significance in the screenplay. Even if her character wasn’t present, the film still would have ended the way it did. Srikanth Meka and Shaam, the two siblings are decent as is R Sarathkumar who essays the role of the father. But this is an out and out Thalapathy Vijay show, catering to strictly his fans. While he is really good here, I had a question. Why the bare minimum fan service? Even in the commercial space when his earlier works did include Bigil or even Master, why is he content with just serving the bare minimum bit in his previous two films. It may well be time to visit the drawing board again for him to re-analyze and return with a better script.
Varisu is a drama which can be classified as a bare minimum fan service that just made me go, Meh, Just Meh! Available in a theatre near you.