The very last scene and the few minutes before that in the film Sayanna Varthakal somewhere show us what motivated Arun Chandu and co-writer Sachin R Chandran to explore an extremely sensitive topic that has relevance in the current political scenario of India. But the randomness in the treatment of various phases of the film takes away the engaging factor from the film, and the end result somewhat looks like a wasted opportunity to deliver a solid movie in the most entertaining format.
Dennis is a journalist running this private small-scale media house named Sayanna Varthakal. The lackluster run of the channel gets a boom when a whistleblower named Ravi, who was part of a job recruitment scam, comes out exposing big names. What this scam was and how exactly it operated is what Arun Chandu is showing us in Sayanna Varthakal.
As I said, the treatment confusion derails the movie from a very early stage. The humor-driven treatment the makers have given to Ravi’s backstory somewhere sets the wrong mood for the film. Yes, nostalgia was obviously there when I saw road rash, Center Fresh cricket cards, and the 4 the people reference. But I was clueless about what the movie’s focus was. Even when it reaches the interval point, the film isn’t giving us anything about its plan. And when things go dark in the second half, the scaling up is happening so swiftly that there is no time for you to grasp the whole thing.
Arun Chandu, who previously made Sajan Bakery (which was technically his second film but got released first), wants to do a lot of stuff on the screen to show his craft. But like many other films, Sayanna Varthakal runs through the scenes without enthusiasm after the initial burst. When the whole movie changes its tone in the second half, the treatment can’t really elevate the film to make us feel the same awakening the characters are going through. The purpose of that Aju Varghese side track is to show how real issues never get the limelight, but sadly the positioning of that track fails to create the desired impact.
As Ravi, the central protagonist, Gokul Suresh delivers a nice performance. He shifts the pitch of the performance according to the treatment of the scene, even though that scream after rescuing the girls was a bit odd. Sharanya Sharma as Sithara was okay. Anand Manmadhan as Anand was impressive. Aju Varghese was in his typical zone as actor Jithu Joseph. Vishnu Govindan, Irshad, and Dinesh Prabhakar are the other major names in the cast. Dhyan Sreenivasan as Dennis is more like an extended cameo.
Sayanna Varthakal is blurry about its aim for most of its runtime, and the treatment somewhere doesn’t help it achieve the required seriousness. The right-wing strategy of silencing the whistleblowers is something that has great relevance in the current socio-political scenario. But unfortunately, Arun Chandu’s film is a mishmash in terms of presentation. Indhu VS’s 19(1)(a) explores a similar space in a minimal yet better way.
Sayanna Varthakal is blurry about its aim for most of its runtime, and the treatment somewhere doesn't help it achieve the required seriousness.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended