The Indian Kaleidoscope : Varathan (trans. Outsider) (2018) : Review

After what appears to be a century I am back with another edition of “The Indian Kaleidoscope“. It’s a running edition on my blog that focuses on all movies Indian. Honestly Indian cinema has entirely different industries for each language across the country, but I didn’t wanna drive down that division and decided to have them all under this broad classification. Me, being an Indian would naturally want to share with you a lot on Indian movies on my blog along with all the other features!

This time it’s a very popular 2018 movie in Malayalam, the native language of the South Indian state of Kerala. You can find the main OST here and have a listen while you read the review.

Release Poster

Title : Varathan (trans. Outsider)

Country of origin : India

Language : Malayalam

Directed by : Amal Neerad

Screenplay by : Suhas-Sharfu

Music : Susin Shyam

Starring : Fahadh Faasil, Aishwarya Lekshmi, Sharafudheen, Dileesh Pothen, Arjun Asokan, Nishthar Salt, Vijilesh Karayad, Shobhi Thilakan

Released : 20 September 2018

Duration : 130 minutes

Genre : Survival Thriller

From left to right- Priya and Abin played by Aishwarya Lekshmi and Fahadh Faasil respectively.

The story starts with Abin who loses his job in Dubai. Not knowing what the next step is, his wife Priya suggests they go back home to Kerala. Now in Kerala, after meeting up with their family, Priya suggests to spend some more time on her father’s place which is in a rather remote and rural area in Kerala, away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

But once the couple do make it there, it quickly becomes apparent that they are not going to be having a peaceful vacation amongst the hills.

As soon as the couple reach they feel some cold stares from the villagers and issues start happening when Priya starts experiencing issues. It starts with ogling, and continues where she sees people peeping in or placing mobile phones in the bathroom.

It soon becomes apparent on who the people responsible for the issues are the story of the movie follows how the couple literally have to deal with the situation that they’re now in.

Sharafudheen as Josey

That’s the basic plot of the movie and I know what you’re thinking – doesn’t the plot seem really minimalistic to be a suspense thriller? Well I would love to say more but although it won’t seem like a spoiler I still don’t want to give too much away. To understand this I will give you a little bit of context. When I went to watch this movie I had gone to the theatres after hearing and seeing people rave about it in person and all around social media. I went with sky high expectations, a mistake from my part and ended up feeling not as elated as maybe all the people who went with no clue for the movie. It’s for that specific reason itself that I’m sticking to the minimum plot.

Now keeping my deflated expectations away, how was the movie? It was a good movie. It’s not a blow your socks off, drop dead amazing movie, but it’s a really good movie.

The parts that I loved the most about the movie was the way it made me feel uncomfortable. Uncomfortable in the sense, when you see the strange people ogling at the outsider girl and her husband, or when she is peeped into the privacy of her home, or taunted or any of the other incidents that happen I honestly was having a nervous breakdown because it shows how shitty it is to have yourself ogled, or catcalled or taunted or harrassed. It’s not always physical abberations that count, a lot of the times these things are more than enough to drive you to the edge, which Priya, the character in the movie depicted.

The other character and plotline that revolved around the character that I loved the most was Josey’s. Yes, he’s a villian, he’s despicable and has the most vile character build up that you hate him from the bottom of your heart. But when it comes to our leading man, I don’t have any issues with Fahadh’s acting per se but his character was either unbelievably dull and making me irritated with his dullness or he just becomes something we don’t expect and just throws us off balance.

I really liked the location the movie was set, I think it’s a location I’ve seen in other movies perhaps? But it really seemed like the sort of place where we would find these kind of people who maybe don’t agree with a more modern lifestyle and the people who follow it and just behave like this. It’s absurd but it’s hard to deny that sometimes this culture clash does happen.

The entire team tried to spin off a rather ominous story setting and spinned it around in a head over heels fashion into some of the craziest scene sequences that the audience has ever seen as far as Malayalam films go. Truth be told when we were introduced to the initial setting of the home we might have expected some action but definitely not in this scale. That surprise element really elevated this movie which gave it the popularity that it enjoyed during its run post release inti the theatres.

So my final verdict? Yes it’s a good thriller that is worth to check out! The premise and the ending sequence really sets it apart as long as you don’t think about what should and should not make sense! It may not be the best suspense thriller out there but it’s definitely one you can try giving a watch.

To get an overall feel of the movie you can check out the trailer! It has English subtitles as well! Let me know what you felt after watching this movie if you have or anything at all you want to know other than spoilers!

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