Vijay Rajendran is a happy-go-lucky man, but everything changes after the unexpected death of his foster father.
Cast: Vijay, Rashmika Mandanna, Prakash Raj
Director: Vamshi Paidipally
The movie follows the story of Rajendran, a business tycoon played by Sarath Kumar, who is terminally ill. Rajendran pits his own sons against each other in order to find the right successor for his company. His first and second sons, Jai and Ajay, played by Srikanth and Shaam respectively, compete for the position and blindly follow their father’s wishes. The third son, Vijay, played by Vijay, disagrees with his father’s methods and chooses to stay away from the family business. As Rajendran’s health deteriorates, he begins to see his sons for who they truly are and ultimately chooses Vijay as his successor. This leads to conflict between the brothers and a joining of forces with Rajendran’s bitter rival Jayaprakash, played by Prakash Raj. The question remains if Vijay can prove himself as a worthy successor and also reconcile with his now-broken family.
Director Vamshi has crafted an engaging film by setting a family drama against the backdrop of a ruthless corporate world. The film explores themes of misunderstood sons and fathers, brothers in conflict, jealous rivals, a worried mother, and light-hearted romance. The film is also well-balanced with peppy songs, and dramatic heroic moments. The standout performance in the film is by Vijay, whose acting elevates ordinary moments into entertaining episodes.
Varisu starts off in a shaky manner, with scenes that feel somewhat alien to its setting and rather cold. Even the mother sentiment doesn’t seem forceful enough, and the scenes between Vijay and Jayasudha have the sanitized feel of a TV commercial. What keeps the audience interested in these moments are the parallels that can be drawn with the reported real-life tiff between the film’s star and his parents.
However, as the story progresses, the set-up makes the audience feel like they have dropped into a Telugu version of “Chekka Chivantha Vaanam”, where instead of the gangster backdrop, the story is set against the corporate world. There are moments that are rather flat, like the fallout scene between Vijay and Rajendran, that appears early in the film. Even the intermission point isn’t exactly a rousing one.
“Varisu” picks up steam in the second half, with the director Vamshi scoring big with mass moments that blend comedy and heroism seamlessly. He balances the sentimental moments with comedy, preventing the film from becoming overly melodramatic. At the same time, he also doesn’t hold back when he wants to evoke emotions from the audience. The film is self-aware, and it is driven by the themes of family and relationships. It acknowledges that relatives can be toxic, but also understands that sometimes, one must make the best of what they have when it comes to family.
There are slip-ups in the form of a rather slight romantic track (Rashmika plays the arm candy here), and less-than-formidable villains. That even an actor of Prakash Raj’s stature cannot turn the antagonist into a formidable threat to the protagonist shows how weak the characterisation is. Perhaps, the director felt the conflict involving Vijay bringing his two brothers back into the fold was enough. The overall writing in the scenes is also quite broad, which lessens the emotional impact of the scenes, especially in the first half. The pacing, too, is uneven and Vamshi even includes unnecessary songs and one too many fights that turn the film into an overlong affair.
In conclusion, “Varisu” has its share of shortcomings, but it more than makes up for it with the lead performance by Vijay. He is in top form, delivering one-liners that are sure to make audiences smile, engaging in comedic banter with Yogi Babu, making self-referential jokes, and showing genuine earnestness in the sentimental moments. He truly elevates the film and makes it worth watching.