Vaarthakal Ithuvare Movie Review: A pleasingly old-school robbery tale
Whatever complaint you have about it, it more than makes up for in a finale that you don't see coming
There are a lot of characters in Vaarthakal Ithuvare and two robberies. So, it would be only natural if one feels it a bit challenging to keep track of each character and their connection to the central incident (s). It starts with a simple chicken theft, which then graduates to a gold chain theft. In addition to this, there is one more robbery. Somebody is suspected initially and later somebody is caught. But an unpredictable final twist reveals another villain. How is that for a vague synopsis?
Director: Manoj Nair
Cast: Siju Wilson, Saiju Kurup, Vinay Forrt, Abhirami Bhargavan
The film feels crowded, sure, but that's no reason to dismiss this film. This is not a film trying to aim high and there seems to be a purpose for cramming these many characters. I don't know if this was intentional on the part of the makers but one gets the feeling of watching those old black-and-white Hollywood detective films where the main investigator goes through a lot of twists and turns and characters until he nabs the culprit. You're not sure if you've grasped all the tricks he used to get there but you're happy that the culprit is caught. Some of these films are now iconic classics, but their stories are not necessarily easy to comprehend. Just when you're slightly confused by one track, there comes another one that's equally (or more) confusing. Vaarthakal Ithuvare has that same quality. I'm not saying that it is in the same league of those classics but it does share with them a few qualities. You know there is a robbery or two, but you're taken through numerous characters who are sitting around giving us so much information that you're bound to ask yourself what really is going on.
Vaarthakal Ithuvare is content with telling a simple story with simple characters. The film takes place in 1990 and the idea is to evoke some of the early Sathyan Anthikad films, which it does successfully, even though it doesn't quite have the veteran's filmmaking finesse. You even get some veteran actors like Nedumudi Venu and Mammukoya who have worked with Anthikad in the past. Their presence along with that of its three main leads — Siju Wilson, Vinay Forrt, Saiju Kurup — keeps this film going even though, occasionally, it shows an inability to sustain your interest. But whatever complaint you have about it, it more than makes up for in a finale that you don't see coming.
The characters assigned to Siju Wilson, Vinay Forrt, and Saiju Kurup are not extraordinary but they have certain qualities that are fun to watch. And since they're present in almost every frame, things become fairly manageable. Siju and Vinay play two rival police constables and their interplay is hilarious. When the two become entangled in a love triangle, one is reminded of Mammootty and Mohanlal trying to woo Juhi Chawla in Harikrishnans. Saiju's character is kept mostly in the background and you might even wonder why an actor of his stature was given an underwritten part but his casting makes perfect sense only much later when he becomes a more prominent presence in the finale.
Though most of the humour is not laugh-out-loud funny, the film gets brownie points for not resorting to C-grade humour to evoke laughs. It keeps things classy. And a tip-of-the-hat to cinematographer Eldo Isaac and art director Shamjith Ravi, both collaborated recently for another mystery film, Varikkuzhiyile Kolapathakam, for crafting a wonderfully picturesque village that makes you want to spend your vacation there.