Varshangalkku Shesham Review: Unexpected Humor Rescues Melodramatic Story

Upon witnessing the song “Nyabagam” from “Varshangalkku Shesham” a few days prior, I harbored a premonition that this musical piece would serve as the heartbeat of the film, leaving an enduring imprint of melancholy. The sustained shots featuring Dhyan Sreenivasan and Pranav Mohanlal exuded a poignant essence. However, upon completing the film, the depiction of the 70s era and the prolonged focus on the emotions of the elderly characters seemed to be the film’s Achilles’ heel. What rescues “Varshangalkku Shesham,” elevating it to a higher plane, is the comedic touch reminiscent of Vineeth Sreenivasan’s adeptness, showcased in films like “Thattathin Marayathu” and “Oru Vadakkan Selfie.”

The narrative revolves around two friends, Murali and Venu. Venu, passionate about theater, aspired to carve a path in that realm, while Murali aimed to flourish as an independent musician. Their lifestyles diverged markedly, yet they resolved to embark on a journey to Madras in pursuit of their respective passions. The evolution of their friendship, marked by its highs and lows over four decades, unfolds poignantly in “Varshangalkku Shesham.”

Murali’s character is characterized by impulsiveness, his decision-making is marked by erraticism. Twice in the film, rifts surface within their friendship. The flaw in Vineeth Sreenivasan’s writing lies in the necessity to condense numerous events within a brief span, leaving the audience struggling to truly grasp the essence of the friendship. The manner in which Venu ejects Murali the first time lacks organic development, feeling rather abrupt and brash. This hastiness persists in their second fallout, where Venu somewhat unfairly holds Murali accountable for reigniting his dreams. It almost seems as though Vineeth contrived this separation to set the stage for the climax’s drama.

During the film’s promotional phase, anecdotes of the joviality during the Munnar shoot abounded. Indeed, this segment of the film exudes a sense of merriment and agility. Following the funeral sequence, the film transitions into a more light-hearted vein, with banter-laden comedy punctuating the latter half. The camaraderie between Murali and Venu takes on a humorous hue in the latter portions. Meta-humor, industry lampooning, and Nivin Pauly’s self-deprecation render the film’s latter half immensely engaging. Whenever strains of “Nyabagam” reverberate in the background, my mind instinctively cautioned against delving too deeply into its somber depths.

Vishwajith’s cinematography triumphs in delineating the distinctive aesthetics of the film’s two depicted eras. Ranjan Abraham’s editing maintains a brisk pace, ensuring minimal distractions despite the film’s nearly three-hour runtime. The film’s production design is also commendable. Amrit Ramnath’s music, though hauntingly beautiful on a standalone basis, might have wielded greater impact had the film’s dramatic elements been more compelling. Nevertheless, “Nyabagam” emerges as a profoundly therapeutic composition.

From the trailer, it was evident that Dhyan Sreenivasan sought to transcend his comfort zone, and Venu from “Varshangalkku Shesham” indeed stands as a testament to his growth as an actor. Initially leaning on familiar mannerisms, he seamlessly transitions into the seasoned Venu, as promised in his interviews, never appearing as a mere facade. Pranav Mohanlal’s performance flows with newfound ease, showcasing moments of uninhibited portrayal. Portraying the older iteration of Murali presents a slight challenge, with occasional lapses in diction. Aju Varghese retreats into his comfort zone, delivering a fluid performance within that realm. Basil Joseph shines in the latter half, particularly in scenes shared with Nivin Pauly. A standout among the cast, Nivin Pauly seemingly improvises most of his lines, channeling his comedic prowess to deliver uproarious moments.

For those anticipating a profoundly moving tale of burgeoning friendship, “Varshangalkku Shesham” might leave them wanting. The cathartic experience hinted at in the film’s promotions and music fails to fully materialize in the final product. However, for those aligning their expectations with the film’s comedic and lighthearted elements, “Varshangalkku Shesham” offers ample entertainment, leaving a satisfying aftertaste.

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