We all love a good action film, right? However, when “action films” are put in an Indian context, all we see is a musical with a few scenes of action and family drama. Most of the films in the Indian film industry center around this idea. Vamshi Paidipally’s recent action drama in Telugu, “Varisu,” is no different. Furthermore, you will find several similarities in the plot with leading films from Telugu and Bollywood. There has been an age-long debate as to what mainstream cinema should uphold. Undoubtedly, “entertainment” remains the prime factor. But what astonishes us is that mainstream action cinema’s concept is stagnant even amidst the massive tides of changing times. Many believe that cinema is predominantly for the audience, and what the audience demands, filmmakers create. Not to point fingers, but the mammoth success of “Pathan” sealed the fact that the Indian audience are still lagging behind in accepting films as they should be. What matters to the Indian audience are the “stars” that the film has. You will have the same experience with “Virasu.” If you are a fan of Thalapathy Vijay, the film will appear entertaining. But, from a neutral perspective, the film is mediocre at best in every aspect and still promotes patriarchy shamelessly like before.
Introduction To The Family
Like most “action drama” films in the Indian context, the film revolves around a wealthy family. The father, Rajendran (Sarathkumar), is an abusive parent and openly takes pride in deciding how life shall be for the rest of his family. The mother, Sudha (Jayasudha), the forever-suffering mother, who, in the name of being a peacemaker, never protests against anything wrong (she will remind you of Jaya Bachchan in K3G, till she says “Keh diya na…bas!”) The family has three sons. Two of them are the father’s favorites for walking down the path the father had set for them, and the youngest, “the rebel son,” has challenged the father and was thrown out of the house.
The elder son, Jay (Meka Srikanth), is everything a businessman should not be: a sore loser, a man without a vision, and Don Juan. Not just that, he is an absent father and a very incompetent husband. His wife (Sangeetha) is a sad, lonely woman who would not want to challenge or face her husband. Their daughter tries to be a rebellious kid by smoking cigarettes at the back of the house. Even though she leaves behind the cigarette butts, no one notices her. Strange, isn’t it?
The middle son, Ajay (Shaam), is another amateurish businessman who takes loans for business (obviously not from his father and without him knowing), fails to pay them back, and is neck-deep in loans. His wife, Samyuktha, is a loving wife who does everything that her husband wishes. Her conversation is restricted to calling her husband “baby,” and they have two kids who are immensely close to their grandmother; thus, she is an integral part of this family.
Finally, the youngest son wants to create his own identity in the world and not flourish under his father’s shadow, Vijay (Thalapathy Vijay), the hero. You see him exploring India at the beginning of the film after he walks out on his father at a family function, and soon after you see him launching his app (which of course is a success).
Well, this apparently loving family is beyond toxic. The siblings get back at each other at any given point, yet the mother upholds this sacrosanctity of the family.
Welcome, Jayprakash (Prakash Raj), the toothless villain who is full of words and appears to be manipulative but is the meekest villain you have ever encountered. You expect the amazing actor to do something amazing in the film, but you will be utterly disappointed. He is threatened by Rajendran at the beginning of the film; he then finds out about his sons’ (the eldest and the middle son) wrongdoings and uses it to take down Rajendran’s empire.
The prodigal son, Vijay, returns home on the occasion of his father’s 65th birthday, not being able to turn down the request of his mother. He receives no warm welcome but watches the family circus with the house help, played by Yogi Babu. It was on the day of his father’s birthday celebration that the truth about his two brothers was revealed. We watch the first installment of the action, where he drives away the men who were attacking his elder brother Ajay. He was at the airport, about to board his flight, but comes back as his father’s childhood friend and their family doctor, played by Prabhu, informs him about his father’s terminal illness.
The sons in whom Rajendran had immense trust earlier were shattered, thus he decides Vijay to be his heir and asks him take over his empire. Of course, the brothers oppose Vijay’s acceptance of their father’s offer. Thus, while Vijay went to visit the site, the dockyard, Jay’s men attacked him. But, like a real boss, he tackles them, and the audience enjoys round after round of pure Tamil film action from superstar Thalapathy Vijay.
Then, Jay’s rebellious child was caught in a sex racket and was about to be trafficked; our flawless hero, Vijay, rescues her by fighting with an all-powerful gangster, whose display of power was unseen.
‘Varisu’ Ending – Obviously Happy But Meaningless!
The film ends when the father, Ranjendran, comes back home from the hospital and is very weak. Jay and Vijay want their middle brother, Ajay, to come back home. Ajay being a very rigid man refuses his brothers offer and goes on to sign a deal with his father’s archenemy, Jayprakash. Vijay manipulates the villain, and Ajay finds out that Jayprakash has cheated on him. Jayprakash’s men thrash Ajay, and Vijay says he will wait until his brother asks for help. Soon, Ajay understands his mistake (abandoning his family, siding with his father’s arch-enemy, and being selfish and rude towards his brothers) and asks Vijay to help him. Well, we already know Vijay is a master in any fighting sequence as he is invincible and without sweat could take down multiple men. He repeats the same here. Also, he provides the most vital information to Jayprakash here—he says no win or loss matters as long as you have a loving and supportive family beside you. Soon, we will see a very emotional family reunion. The film ends where the three brothers and their respective partners all sit down at the dining table with the parents having a happy meal.
The film upholds several ideas and beliefs that, in real life, harm society and push us back to darker centuries. However, it appears that the Indian audience enjoys such plotlines, so the directors and makers want nothing more than to feed us the same old crap on a silver platter. Is consumer capitalism snatching away the primary purpose of film as a communication medium? We leave the answer to the audience.