Ahead of Varisu’s release, at the audio launch, producer Dil Raju’s speech about what the audience should expect from the film went viral on social media. He stated unequivocally that the Vijay-starrer will be a complete package of all the elements that make up a perfect family entertainer.
True to his words, Thalapathy Vijay shines like a superstar, whether it's through power-packed action sequences, hilariously timed comedy scenes, groovy song renditions, or peppy dance moves. He is at his charming best.
The story revolves around estranged Vijay (Vijay) who is the youngest of his two brothers, Jay (Srikanth) and Ajay (Shaam), and his family, helmed by his father Rajendran (Sarathkumar). Vijay fights to create his own identity by breaking free from his father, a business tycoon who treats his family members like mere money-minting machines.
The best thing about Varisu is Vijay’s comedic timing. It is at an all-time high, letting us experience flashes of his 'Ghilli' and 'Sachein' days. His imitation of Redin Kingsley's body language, his scenes with Yogi Babu, and a specific boardroom sequence complete with dialogue and song references from several of his previous films make it a hilariously fun ride.
Varisu advocates for the need to understand the complexities of Indian families. At many levels, it felt like an amalgamation of the previous Tamil family dramas that were themed around bruised father-son relationships—Prakash Raj’s Santhosh Subramaniam, Sarath Kumar’s Sooryavamsam, Sivakarthikeyan’s Don, Dhanush's Thiruchitrambalam or Karthi’s Viruman. I know you must be wondering why I have to quote so many films when talking about Vijay's Varisu.
The obvious reason: Varisu fits in a typical commercial family drama template. And hence, it doesn’t unravel anything novel but rather tries to gold-plate a tried and tested genre in the most entertaining way possible.
The film, however, takes a contradictory stance on toxic relationships. It empowers a woman in an unhappy marriage to seek divorce only to ask her to reconsider "family" over leaving the relationship later on.
The underlying message of valuing familial bonds while navigating the complexities of them was admirable. However, I was left with two unanswered questions. The film says, 'Stick with your family no matter what'. Sure, will do that but at what cost? Is it really worth it to forgive people even before they repent for their mistakes? For instance, Vijay’s elder brother cheats on his wife and even attempts to murder him. However, even before he could realise his mistake and repent, he was accepted despite his entitlement.
Jayasudha is noticeable for portraying the sentimental mother figure and Rashmika Mandanna for her dance numbers and romantic scenes, even though they seemed like tokenistic female representations. What bothered me the most was that Rashmika's character is mocked when she doesn't conform to conventional beauty standards as a teen ( she appears with nerdy glasses, double-plated hair and tooth braces), but is ogled at when she undergoes a makeover. Isn’t it 2023?
The setting and the characters in the film look like they were straight out of a posh clothing or jewellery advertisement. The way the emotional sequences were choreographed simply gives you a high-budget serial vibe. Despite the fact that the film's primary goal was to play on sentiment, director Vamsi Paidipally's writing lacked emotional depth.
The screenplay suffered majorly during the first half. It did, however, pick up steam just before the intermission and soon became fast-paced in the second half.
There is no denying that Varisu gets the basics right. It is loaded with sentiment, love, dance, action, and whatnot. Despite certain cliches, the film is self-aware, up-to-date in understanding the pulse of young audiences, and successfully caters to the die-hard fans of Thalapathy Vijay. He even broke the fourth wall a couple of times with a flying kiss to his fans at one point, leaving them enthralled.
Varisu is running in cinemas now.