Varane Avashyamund Movie Review: Love is lost and found in this heartwarming film
Anoop successfully manages to capture that old-school charm that many Malayalam filmmakers attempted recently but failed to achieve
Varane Avashyamund (Groom Wanted) may very well have been named Sneham Avashyamund (Love Wanted) because the film is not just about one gender looking for love. The four main characters have all lost love at some point in their lives and hope to find it again. There is Ganga (Shobana), a divorced woman living with her daughter, Nikitha (Kalyani Priyadarshan); there is Major Unnikrishnan (Suresh Gopi), an unmarried ex-army man, who at one point recalls having a short-lived affair; and then there is Shibeesh aka Fraud (Dulquer Salmaan) who is not exactly sure of his current relationship status. These characters soon run into each other — they all live in the same apartment block in Chennai — and sparks fly.
Director: Anoop Sathyan
Cast: Suresh Gopi, Shobana, Dulquer Salmaan, Kalyani Priyadarshan
The film's heartwarming portrayal of familial bonding is both fresh and familiar. It is reminiscent of the vintage family dramas we grew up loving, but at the same time comes with a slight contemporary flavour. We are introduced to these characters they way a friendly neighbour would introduce us to a co-resident. Their meetings happen organically. The actors are treated with the utmost respect, especially yesteryear superstars Suresh Gopi, Shobana, and Urvashi. And Anoop expresses his love for them in various ways like a character telling them how beautiful they look and the iconic background scores or songs these actors have been associated with in the past. In one scene, the theme from Commissioner is played briefly when Unnikrishnan scares a kid. In another scene, he is watching a song from Nadodikaattu, a film directed by Anoop's father, Sathyan Anthikad, and featuring Shobana.
Speaking of Shobana, the film carries a strong meta trait. Ganga is occasionally referred, even to her face, as "a woman who resembles Shobana." There is a beautifully framed moment in the film where Unnikrishnan, earlier revealed to be a fan of Shobana, has the same realisation. It's also where we get the first hint of the fact that they both have feelings for each other. The film also explores the pain associated with mutually parting ways with somebody you once loved hanging out with, because sometimes it's simply not practical to pick only one favourite member of a different family.
The entire cast is in top form and the actors' elegance reflects on the film. Dulquer is his usual charming self and Kalyani makes an effective Malayalam debut in a role that represents youngsters today. However, one can't help but say the film ultimately belongs to Suresh Gopi and Shobana. Their chemistry is on point and reminded me of another wonderful film about finding love in middle age — Once Again, starring Neeraj Kabi and Shefali Shah. Though we don't get to see Ganga and Unnikrishnan together often enough, their chemistry is very much palpable.
Suresh Gopi couldn't have asked for better comeback role. His is a performance that not only evokes the necessary laughs but also delivers just the right amount of pathos. When we first see Unnikrishnan, he is a man struggling with anger management issues. The therapist (a hilarious Johny Antony) comes to the realisation that this is due to the absence of love. The possible explanation for Unnikrishnan's awkwardness with people is delivered in a very moving scene. And Shobana is terrific as a woman who hasn't let go of her belief in love in spite of her terrible past.
Through Varane Avashyamund, Anoop successfully manages to capture that old-school charm that many Malayalam filmmakers attempted recently but could not quite achieve. By having a set of characters belonging to two different generations, the film effectively balances the sensibilities of the old and new.
The answer to what the film is trying to achieve can perhaps be found in a speech given by Unnikrishnan in one scene, about travelling back to our roots once in a while no matter which part of the world we go to.