Varshangalkkku Shesham Movie Review: Vineeth Sreenivasan delivers his biggest, most wholesome film yet

The film knows perfectly when to be serious and when to be funny. It also knows when to go over the top and when not to. Its heart and soul are Pranav and Dhyan, who deliver their career-best performances
Varshangalkkku Shesham Movie Review

Varshangalkkku Shesham Movie Cast & Crew

Production : Merryland Cinemas
Music Director : A.R.Rahman

Imagine this scenario. What if Vineeth Sreenivasan wanted to travel back in time to the '70s and '80s and make a film with Mohanlal and his father? Since that's impossible, the only thing to do is have Pranav Mohanlal do a character named Murali who not only resembles his dad but also convincingly delivers the mannerisms of the characters he did in some of his most memorable films such as Kamaladhalam, Ayal Kadha Ezuthukayaanu, or Devadoothan. And then there's Dhyan Sreenivasan on the other side, who doesn't behave like his dad but plays a character named Venu, whose second name is the same as that of his dad's hometown. Perhaps Venu is someone Sreenivasan could've played in the 80s, but he has more in common with Mohanlal's character from Iruvar. Now, what I'm implying here is that Dhyan's character gets an impressive evolutionary arc and undergoes a maturity phase that is quite similar.

Varshangalkku Shesham is the ultimate Vineeth Sreenivasan movie. Given his penchant for narrating stories about close friendships or familial bonds, reunions, second chances, and strong comebacks, you go to a Vineeth Sreenivasan expecting a particular set of ingredients that have always worked out for him. In Varshangalkku Shesham, we get a buffet with all these ingredients added in the right measure. There is a weak student who yearns to be a storyteller and succeeds at it. There is a gifted musical genius whose life takes an unexpected detour.

Varshangalkku Shesham is a story that travels through two generations, divided by aptly named chapters. With the old and contemporary periods marked by a recognisable visual style (thanks to cinematographer Vishwajith Odukkathil and production designer Nimesh Thanoor), we get the feeling of watching two movies for the price of one.

In terms of scale and number of cast members, this is Vineeth's biggest film yet, with references galore to yesteryear films of Mohanlal and Sreenivasan and some of the best self-aware, meta-humour when it switches to the present. One of its most impressive qualities is its ability to make us laugh even when these characters interact against the backdrop of a tragic event.

There is a lovely balance between the film's most serious and comic moments. And there are these delightfully tiny moments that put a smile on our faces, like when a faulty bulb suddenly comes alive when a woman tells a man she wants to marry him, or when someone makes a joke about an actor who "is busy on a Himalayan tour when he should be focusing on acting" right when Pranav Mohanlal enters the frame, or that scene where Aju Varghese, who plays a flop producer, tells Dhyan that he knows how to make black tea when the latter narrates his script's opening scenes.

Another brilliant masterstroke is having Nivin Pauly play a star named Nithin Molly, who, in a drunken fit, addresses the body-shaming trolls and the struggles of an outsider in a world of nepo babies. Then there's Basil Joseph, playing an assistant director from the present age, offering the necessary guidance to a yesteryear filmmaker who wants to make movies for today's audiences. All these jokes land so beautifully because they resonate well with what these actors went through in their world. Aside from using some of these actors' own strengths to best effect, Vineeth also embellishes them with the qualities of some influencers who got into the news for all the wrong reasons.

The film knows perfectly when to be serious and when to be funny. It also knows when to go over the top and when not to. In one scene, Dhyan tells an actor that there are certain places where you need to be a bit over because some audiences like that, too.

The film's heart and soul are Pranav and Dhyan, who, in my opinion, deliver their career-best performances. The entire first half, which feels like a separate film in and of itself until the interval card appears, hinges upon the question of whether or not these two will reunite. The two actors sink so much into their roles that it doesn't take long for us to forget their off-screen personas. Much like Vineeth's last film, Hridayam, Varshangalkku Shesham is about second chances and late bloomers and the misdirected paths one gets lost in when affected by heartbreak and psychological manipulation. But this is, after all, a Vineeth Sreenivasan film, and there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. To sum it up, it's just a damn good time at the movies.

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