Varane Avashyamund is the directorial debut of Anoop Sathyan and produced by the very popular Dulquer Salman. This movie had everything going for it. It promised a stellar cast with Shobana, Suresh Gopi, Dulquer Salman himself, as well as newcomer Kalyani Priyadarshan. Anoop Sathyan is the son of the critically and commercially acclaimed director Sathyan Anthikad. And after having watched this movie, one can easily say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
In typical Sathyan Anthikad fashion, his son too has put together a feel-good movie, that has very few negatives that could be pointed out particularly. The true hero of this movie is Shobana and I would suggest people watch this movie, if not for anything else, just for her. She is delightful from the get go, subtly funny and beautiful. Anoop Sathyan has modernised his father’s takes, “dating” is okay now. Shobana can still fall in love now. She can still choose to live with someone now. She can still go on dates now. It is beautiful how they have shown a woman at an age, where her character could be mostly reduced to “mother”, living her life, learning new things, making an income, and falling in love and being able to act on that love. They haven’t reduced it down to something to be ashamed about. At no point does Shobana’s character feel the need to be embarrassed about the romantic in her even though her daughter seems to.
The move seems a tad too long for my taste, it seems to have taken its time to get where it wants to get, ambling along. Perfect for a TV watch though I’m pretty sure I’d have grown impatient at the theatre. Suresh Gopi too is a lot of fun to watch in this movie. I wish all these senior actors chose to do such roles that show them with the respect that they deserve to be shown with, instead of just doing masala flicks with actresses’ half their age. It’s a pleasure to see Shobhana and Suresh Gopi together again. They meet on the beaches of Chennai, not shying away from meeting in public places.
True to the Anthikad way, there are epiphanies, sad backstories, from which humans have emerged better than humans. Monologues that show how some humans love selflessly, how humans ought to be and so on. The son too seems to not be able to move away from his father’s moralistic traditions. But this was a brave attempt to modernise it. A counsellor exists in this movie, albeit a man shown too humorously for my liking. But the fact that recent movies have shown support mechanisms like this in ways that may not be too perfect, is still a good step forward in making it less of a taboo. Urvashi is also a wonderful addition to this movie, another rare gem of a moment that happens with the whole modernising mission. She’s a mother who disapproves of her son’s attitude and thinks the girl is better off without her son. The fact that Urvashi and the girl remain friends is a very pleasant addition to this movie showing women with some agency.
The least interesting tangent in this movie is probably the younger lot, Dulquer Salman and Kalyani Priyadarshan. Salman is barely in the movie, he could have gotten away with calling it a cameo appearance, his presence doesn’t add much to the movie. I’m kind of glad of this because it gave more space and time for Shobana and Suresh Gopi. Kalyani’s adamant search for grooms on M4Matrimony for an arranged marriage is quite amusing and different. Of course, the film ends the way it does with all the loose ends tied up, with happily ever afters. This is after all a movie just to make you feel good. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s on Netflix to stream. A proper family watch that will make you smile every time Shobana is on screen.