'Varshangalkku Sesham' Review | A bittersweet tribute to tinsel town’s oddball residents

Varshangalkku Sesham movie poster
Pranav Mohanlal and Dhyan Sreenivasan in Varshangalkku Sesham movie poster. Photo: Facebook/Varshangalkku Sesham

A ringside view of filmmaking narrated through dreamers who hurdle through the 'Tinsel Ville' for decades, 'Varshangalkku Sesham' by Vineeth Sreenivasan has an enjoyable ‘behind-the-scenes’ quality to it. Yes, it is a star-powered vehicle too with many popular faces, and it entertainingly justifies most of them as well. Primarily a tale of friendship between musician Murali (Pranav Mohanlal) and aspirant director Venu (Dhyan Sreenivasan), the movie also gives a nostalgic glimpse of ‘those who drank the tap water of Kodambakkam’ and all kinds of battles they fought to puzzle their dreams together.

Venu and Murali leave Kannur for Tamil Nadu driven by their cinema dreams and the power of their friendship. Once they reach their destination, they face different career graphs, bringing both professional and mental challenges alongside. In an industry where a Friday changes one’s fate, it also goes on to decide who stays and who doesn’t. How do the travails decide their life’s journey? ‘Varshangalkku Sesham’ showcases the same in a story that stretches five decades.

The movie has a ‘love letter for cinema’ quality to it at many stretches. The first half, which is mostly set in the yesteryears, has a ‘theatrical’ feel to it with many melodramatic dialogues and character sketches that make one wonder whether it’s going to be extremely self-indulgent like this, through its long 2 hours 45 minutes. The director is evidently trying to make the viewer feel invested in Murali and Venu, but it’s not easy to connect with them enough till the interval. Even the humour becomes predictable and falls through. Pranav is likeable in his younger avatars but struggles in his salt-and-pepper version. Interestingly, Dhyan shines mostly on the emotional turf of his character. Shaan Rahman does a decent job for a newbie actor. Kalyani Priyadarshan isn't given much space in the storyscape.

The second half is what makes the film lively. The characters played by Basil Joseph, Aju Varghese and most of all, Nivin Pauly elevate the film to an entertainer making the viewers laugh, reflect and even think of how the stakeholders in this industry have to be on their toes constantly to stay relevant, bankable and even appreciated. Nivin Pauly deserves to be applauded for transforming many episodes he faced in his career - from 'paving his own way' to body shaming, trolling and flop shows - into fun elements that elicit laughter. Of course, it's also thanks to good writing but Nivin oozed life into the lines giving his all, unabashedly.

Amrit Ramnath’s songs, mixing yesteryear elements in the right proportions with contemporary music, also keep the audience interested in the proceedings. The song ‘Nyabagam’ would surely be on the loop for many music lovers. As for direction, Vineeth isn't dwelling in his familiar territories - be it Tamil Nadu elements or nostalgia - in an annoying fashion though they are very much present, and the film doesn't reek of 'feel-goodness' either unlike his previous outings.

If you can survive its first half relying on soothing music, you are in for a fun ride powered by Nivin Pauly in its second. The film is also worth a watch if you love movies about movies.

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