Varane Avashyamund (2020)

Varane Avashyamund comes packed with all the elements required for the quintessential feel-good flick. With no pathbreaking storyline and twists to boast of, what keeps Varane Avashyamund an engrossing 140-minute watch are the performances from the ensemble, often rising above the commonplace nature of the script. Don’t get me wrong – Anoop Sathyan’s writing does offer some great situational laughs (at times, the way his father’s films did) but it unabashedly rides on the effervescence of the performers.

Kudos to DQ for picking a less prominent role in the script, not taking valuable screen-time away from the folks who deserve it – I’m referring to the nostalgic pairing of Suresh Gopi (who plays Major Unnikrishnan) and Shobana (who plays Neena). They both play their age, one a retired army veteran and the other a divorced French tutor, residing in a rather-upscale apartment complex in Chennai. When I mention Chennai, I like how Anoop sets up the city as a character of its own. Everyone who has visited or lived in Chennai at some point in their lives (or still do) will strike a chord with it.

Nikitha (Kalyani Priyadarshan), as opposed to most urban women in their mid-20s, is keen on finding her matrimonial match the conventionally arranged way. While this happens on one side, her rather-romantic mother finds love the way love is usually found – spontaneous, unexpected, and a classic case of ‘opposites attract’. The slice-of-life feels are amped up by the presence of next-door neighbor Bibeesh (a.k.a Fraud – DQ), Major Unnikrishnan’s counselor Dr. Bose (Johnny Antony), Dr. Sherly (Urvashi) – the mother of one of Nikitha’s prospective grooms, and many other familiar characters.

Kalyani Priyadarshan makes a relatively okay acting debut – the smile is very cute, but the emoting needs to improve (well, it’s just her first film!). The seniors especially put up a good show, often giving their new-gen counterparts a run for their money. Suresh Gopi is great fun to watch in his restrained (but rarely explosive) avatar while Shobana retains her on-screen grace. Urvashi too is a wonderful addition to the cast and her scenes with Kalyani are heartwarming.

The referencing of dialogues from the cult classics of Malayalam cinema (including the famous “Gange!”) needed more bite. Plus, the lack of a substantial plot really starts to eat into the screenplay, more so in the second half. The liveliness of the cast really helps keep things watchable throughout. Varane Avishyamund carries the vibe of an upgraded Sathyan Anthikkad flick – family over everything, of course!

Review by arungeorge13


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