Varayan, the latest Siju Wilson film, is a cliched mashup that would have been an okay film if released 10 or 15 years ago. Written by Fr. Danny Capuchin, Varayan is full of all the used-out ideas one can expect in a village drama. And, it relies on the characterization of its main lead heavily to claim a difference. Varayan is not an unbearable film, but the familiarity of the script in terms of the drama makes it a run-of-the-mill template.
Kalippakkara is the village where our story is happening. The village people have this violent nature, and they don’t like outsiders controlling them. And hence, even the police of that village are scared to take on the villagers. When the village priest tried to help the police, one of the villagers stabbed that priest. The story of Varayan is about the events that unfold in Kalippakkara when a new priest arrives to take charge.
There is a loud and caricature tone to almost all the characters in the film. The story is trying to give us an idea about the notorious nature of the village in the first half an hour. The format is such that we won’t be surprised when the hero changes his tone in the interval block of the film. Post-interval, the movie struggles to find topics to strengthen the conflict. And Danny Capuchin wants to play it safe and divine, which again reduces the possibility of witnessing something fresh.
As I said, in the beginning, portions, there is this quirky narrative style to establish Kalippakkara and its people. But the excitement was only there till that opening credits song happened. The buildup format we have seen in almost all mass masala movies is repeated, and the script goes after overused tropes to fill the runtime. A love track is added to the movie just for the sake of having one, and the way they have concluded that angle was way too cheesy. The song sung by Sanah Moidutty felt really good.
Siju Wilson in that getup looks very graceful and cool, but the script isn’t offering him much scope to be that charmer the movie wants Fr. Eby to be. Maniyanpilla Raju plays the stereotypical feudal antagonist. Leona Lishoy gets a pointless role just for the sake of having a heroine. Bindu Panicker was good in her role. The little kid’s performance was fun to watch. Vijayaraghavan, Jude Anthany Joseph, Joy Mathew, etc., are the other cast members.
Varayan is a harmless and unexciting village drama that never tries to achieve anything unique in terms of craft or script. A badass priest fixing a lawless village is an idea that looks interesting as a one-line. But to make a film out of that, you need better writing which wasn’t there in the case of Varayan.
Varayan is a harmless and unexciting village drama that never tries to achieve anything unique in terms of craft or script.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended