Varisu Review: Thalapathy Vijay & Rashmika Mandanna's film feels like an unworthy heir of '90s masala Bollywood films

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Film: Varisu

Cast: Thalapathy Vijay, Rashmika Mandanna, Prakash Raj, Sarath Kumar, Jayasudha, Srikanth, Shaam

Director: Vamshi Paidipally

Rating: 2 Moons

Back in the 2000s, when Shah Rukh Khan got off the helicopter and ran at full speed to meet his mother waiting at the door with aarti thaali in Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, we all went 'haaye'. But 20 years later when Thalapathy Vijay recreates a similar reunion sequence, it will definitely make many say 'why'. Varisu, which means heir, is a lavish celebration of Vijay's stardom and swag. But does the masala commercial entertainer from the South hit the bull's eye? Not really. 

Varisu, like any other big star film from the South, needs to be looked at from a different lens. If you're searching for logic and physics, you better avoid putting yourself through the trouble of surrendering to larger-than-life fights, houses that are bigger than villages and heroes who are common men but can beat up thousands only with the stroke of an arm. Vamshi Paidipally's film is a beautiful-looking, colourful package of all these aspects. 

As the title of the film suggests, Varisu is about a rich father with three sons. Though he looks fit and fine, he is battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer and has just 8 months to live. Simultaneously, he is turning 60 and his wife wants to renew their vows. The effort is made to bring home their youngest son Vijay (Thalapathy Vijay) who left home 7 years ago to follow his own dreams rather than taking over his father's business. Vijay's brothers are no saints. The sons gather under one roof to get their parents remarried. At this time, the father has to think about the vaaris (successor/heir) of his business. The film, almost closer to 3 hours, revolves around who's the vaaris of the father's empire and what's up with the other two brothers who get nothing in hand due to their evil deeds and lack of respect for their parents. 

If you're signing up for a Thalapathy Vijay film, you know what to expect. Grand introduction sequences, machoism, daredevilry action sequences and of course, romance. Varisu is no different. It is nothing but a buffet of various genres but the problem is you cannot choose which is better as all flavours lack punch and fail to satiate your appetite. Director Vamshi Paidipally wants to say a lot through his film. Family problems, business politics, parent-child love, human trafficking and what not. Some just don't sit well. Throwing the entire weight of a predictable story on Vijay's shoulder, Vamshi Paidipally delivers a below-average film that rides only and only on Thalapathy's stardom, effortless performance, natural charm and even his comic side. 

Another flaw is the outdated treatment given to Varisu. As mentioned in the opening paragraph, many sequences and gestures by Vijay will remind you of Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, and to an extent, Govinda too. It won't be wrong to call Varisu an heir of '90s films. 

Amid all the flaws and mediocrity, the bond between Vijay and his mother Sudha (Jayasudha) shines the brightest. The innocence of the relationship is translated beautifully on the screen and creates the desired impact. The action sequences, especially the one at the dockyard, are choreographed masterfully. If you look at the songs individually, they are stunning but don't fit perfectly into the narrative. 

It is sad to see a film where the gorgeous Rashmika Mandanna gets nothing to do. Neither does the writer bother to give her a name nor a defined character sketch. All she has to do is look gorgeous, dance brilliantly and romance Vijay in barely a few scenes. The plot also gets laughable after a point and the humour in dialogues get replaced by cringe. The duration plays yet another spoilsport. It is just like watching a khichdi being made out of Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, Baghban and two-three action films here and there. 

Obviously, Varisu relies completely on Vijay's stardom and his magic. But can that save a sinking ship? Definitely not. Thalapathy fans are a different community or religion to be precise and the film religiously caters to them without thinking otherwise. The rest of the actors are ridiculously wasted. Especially a maverick like Prakash Raj. He does nothing different in the film. 

Speaking of the technical aspects, a huge round of applause for the cinematographer for capturing beautiful locations. That's a treat for sure. The sound and music department excel too. The editing could have been crispier. 

Varisu is an out-n-out Vijay stardom party. Join it if you're planning to whistle and scream every time the star appears on the screen.

PeepingMoon gives Varisu 2 Moons

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