Director: Amal Neerad
Cast: Fahad Fazil, Aishwarya Lekshmi, Sharafudheen
‘Varathan’ means outsider. In the era of mob-lynching and xenophobia, the question ‘who is an outsider’ becomes ever more relevant and Amal Neerad’s latest movie ‘Varathan’ touches upon this global crisis of identity. As a sub-theme, the film also deals with the helplessness of a woman, even though educated and cosmopolitan, who is destined to live as a prey in a dominant world of ruthless men in the backdrop of a village in Kerala. ‘Varathan’ also captures the struggles of a young couple Priya and Abin who fight for survival in a village full of misogyny, voyeurism and honour-killing.
The story is about two youngsters, Abin and Priya, who decide to live for a while in a rustic village in Kerala after Abin lost his plum job in Dubai. Fahad and Aishwarya Lexmi have been piquing the interest of the audience as the leading characters, Abin and Priya with their adorable chemistry. Aishwarya Lekshmi who already proved her mettle as an actor in Ashiq Abu’s ‘Mayanaadhi’, undoubtedly repeats the same magic in ‘Varathan’. After suffering from a miscarriage, Priya who badly needs a change in life is compelled Abin to go back to her ancestral property, a farmhouse in the hills, in Kerala to forget all bad memories.
Even though it looks calm and beautiful outside, the property is equally eerie and alluring beneath. But unfortunately, Priya is caught up in the web of a group of lusting men of the village. The performance of debutant actors such as Sharafudheen, Arjun Ashokan and Vijilesh Karayad as wicked youngsters make a powerful performance. These three black-hearted youths who live near the compound of Priya's farm house take ‘Varathan’ to a different level. Especially, the performance of Sharafudheen for his character Joice who oozes menace.
Cinematographer Littil Swayamp unravels a totally different picture of life through the eyes of a helpless woman who lives in Kerala under the shadow of male chauvinism. As always, Amal Neerad subtly follows a fresh narrative for the dark plot of ‘Varathan’ which was penned by Suhas–Sharfu duo. The treatment of long climax sequence also deserves praise. Amal has depicted the evil spirit of a beautiful village of Kerala effectively and this is undoubtedly Amal’s best film so far.
Fahad-Aishwarya Lekshmi duo literally compete as actors. Others actors including Dileesh Pothen, Unnimaya and Vijilesh have also handled their roles beautifully. Sushin Shyam’s BGM is excellent.