Saw Gautham Menon's Varanam Aayiram last night at Sathyam, my favorite movies in Chennai. The movie experience at Sathyam is perhaps the best in Chennai, but for a small problem. One can't get in or out.. barring that everything else is super... Now back to the movie...
Varanam Aayiram is a decent movie but is awfully long and feels like rudderless in the second half. But to Gautham Menon's credit, he kept me awake for the whole 3 hours and particularly considering it was a late night show. (Unlike Aegan which I just slept through.)
This movie is actually the story of a son (junior Surya) but unfolds as a story about relationship between son and his father(senior Surya). The depth of relationship unwinds as the story spreads out on the screen. It comes through in a gentle but in an impactful manner. Thanks to Mr. Menon, we are spared of loads of dialog or buckets of tear.
Though there isn't any reason why Surya ought to be playing dual role in this film, he has done commendably well in both the roles. He compensates for what some folks would call as 'lack of charisma' with his sheer dedication and hard work, which is evident in every frame of this movie. In some places the director tries to over do it, like in the case of Surya's much talked about 'six pack abs'. They show Surya shirtless in many scenes just to show sell his body. It gets to be little tiring to see him shirtless, scene after scene.
Though it was Surya movie, one other actor has managed to stand out and that is Simran. She stands out taller than Surya in this movie both literally and figuratively. Her mature and dignified portrayal of a mother's role is bound to make her second innings (in the industry) stronger than the first one.
There is something to be said about Harris Jayaraj and Gautham Menon combo that produces chart busters movie after movie. Most of the songs in this film are hummable and pleasant. I am no music connoisseur, but have a feeling that Harris likes to leverage Guitar the most in his songs. Several of the songs in this film too have Guitar base and that makes the songs personally appealing to me. Its unfortunate that Harris Jayaraj and Gautham Menon have split and will not be doing films together anymore... but then I am sure a talented director like Gautham Menon will continue to produce melodies anyone he teams up with.
The movie starts to meander aimlessly after the interval and would have been better off particularly without the kidnap episode and Army stint. Without them, the movie would have been lot more crisper, sharper and forceful.
Overall the movie is watchable for its melodious songs and Surya / Simran's performance.
Overall - B+
Acting - Surya & Simran - A (For solid performance)
Director - Gautham Menon - B+ (For decent story telling.. could have been better though)
Movie Length - B (For making us sit for three long hours.. one hour longer than needed)
Music - Harris Jayaraj - B+ (For melodious and memorable songs)
Story - Gautham Menon - B (For meandering story line)