Though similar to Cheran’s autograph, this has Gautham’s signature all over it in big block letters.
Vaaranam Aayiram is an uncompromising film that’s all heart, indulgent and personal and that’s why you would be tempted to overlook the length, the pace and the overdose of voiceover that expressly overstates the obvious… It is somewhat strange when so much of it is spelt out in English and it does get to you when every sentence in the voiceover ends with “Daddy” but soon, you forget all about it and get sucked into another great moment.
The entire film is a collection of some truly great moments packaging nostalgia. And it’s the Suriya Show all the way as he turns in a career best performance as a father and the young man from 17 to 35. After Vaaranam, we can say for sure that he’s the best of the lot today. Here’s a guy who is content feeding the actor than the star in him and he revels in this role knowing pretty well that it could be a once in a lifetime opportunity to do an ‘Aarulirundhu Aruvadhu Varai.’
The filmmaker seems to have a natural flair for romance and Vaaranam in many ways plays out as the Best of Gautham. So yes, this is a nostalgia film that is bound to give you a sense of deja vu. There are times when we are hit with a little ‘Minnale,’ and times when we get the feel of ‘Kaakha Kaakha’ or ‘Vettaiyaadu.’ Maybe because they were born out of his personal experiences at some level – be it the loverboy who pursues and woos the girl he met once against all odds (Minnale) or the dignified officer who’s being wooed (Kaakha Kaakha) or when he’s showing us grown up romance (like Vettaiyaadu). But it also reminds you of your own days back in college, your first love and your relationship with your Dad.
While most of the individual chapters work well, the problem areas in Vaaranam are those sequences that try to connect the different phases in the young man’s life – whether it’s the period when he buys a house overnight for his father when he’s yet to clear his arrears in college or the phase during his addiction, these are bits that are conveniently and quickly resolved within a couple of scenes each.
But then, this is also one of those few films that freaks the hell out of you about the consequences of smoking without trying to be a full blown message film about deaddiction and rehabilitation.
For a film about a father-son relationship, there is no serious conflict between the two ever (except for a brief exchange during his addiction) and the lack of conflict results in the film becoming an assortment of episodes rather than one seamless narrative. Though each episode keeps you adequately engrossed, the voiceover that ties it together is a little weak making you wonder how long is that damn chopper ride?
But then, just around the time you are getting a little restless, there’s a Harris Jeyaraj number around the corner all set to haunt and play in your head in a loop, till the next one comes along.
Simran is the best of the women – it’s a great comeback vehicle for one of the best Tamil actresses ever. Sameera should seriously stick to sarees, she’s never looked better (except maybe in that Pankaj Udhas video Aahista Aahista) and Divya Spandana is a natural. It is quite a task to make a film without a comedy track or a serious villain or a filmy conflict and Gautham has made a fairly engaging film that strikes a chord despite its imperfections.