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S M Raju
Giri, Ashwatha, Monica, Samath, Gowtham
Isaac Thomas
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Varnam, is a coming off age film, the story of the life of adults, seen through the eyes of a teenager. The film took some years to release, but has done the festival rounds before its theatrical release now.

The story is told in flashback, from the point of view of the young schoolboy, Mani, (Giri) whose father is killed by one Velu aka Anwar (Aadhish), in a village fight.

The young widow brings up Mani with great difficulty, but the boy makes life hell for her with his constant antics in school, forcing her to send him away to his uncle, Durai (Sampath), a rich coffee estate owner and a womaniser.

Mani joins a new school and is naughty but is soon toned down by Kavitha, (Monica) a teacher who coaxes him to study instead of horsing around. Mani falls in love with his classmate Thangam(Aswatha), a poor girl, whose brother falls prey to Duraiís vengeance when he seeks to get a higher price for his coffee.

One day Mani accidentally burns down Thangamís hut . The family is in ruins and Thangam is forced to sell herself to Durai, a fact which pains Mani. Meanwhile, Durai gets engaged to Kavitha, who is actually in love with his driver Anwar and elopes with him, leading to the climax.

The story is narrated at an even pace, with some gripping camerawork and lovely shots of the coffee estates. Every actor sinks into his character and does their job well. There is neither melodrama nor unnecessary dramatics at any point.

The suspense is kept kindled at regular points. The love scenes between Monica and her lover are well picturised, and Monica has a meaty role with scope to perform.. The music fits the scenes and the songs have been well conceptualized. On the flip side, a kuthu number with an all-male ensemble, could have been avoided and is perhaps a concession to the Ďcommercialí elements usually incorporated into films.

The film may prove a tad slow to those who are used to fast paced action films or too realistic for those in love with glossy romantic love stories.

Verdict : Average


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