Though scriptwriter-actor Anoop Menon's intention at revealing the ugly and less-revealed side of politics is laudable, the execution is middling at best
Story: As the general election looms, the opposition party, which has not held power in the past 10 years, is searching for its CM candidate to go up against the incumbent and veteran leader Achuthan Nair. While several established politicians have their eye set on the post, the party's national head decides to field a dark horse, David John Medayil - whose politician father was reportedly murdered in an accident, forcing him to change his political allegiance and propelling his rise to power. With enemies both inside and outside his party, David has a trial of fire before him. But his personal weakness could also lead to his fall. Will he fall prey to the trap or dictate the play?
Review: Director Kannam Thamarakkulam's latest political thriller, Varaal, starts off by introducing a series of characters, all speculating about who the next prospective candidate to lead the opposition party would be in the next general elections. All of them get powerful montages and character description, even while it's evident what the pay off would be. The makers might have intended the first 15 minutes to set the tone of the movie but instead it comes off as a caricature of scenes that have already been seen in similar political thrillers such as Lucifer. But that's not even what's iriking, as except for three characters that got the loud and garish introduction, none of the others play any role in how the movie unfolds.
Varaal, scripted by Anoop Menon, is the actor-writer's take on contemporary Kerala politics and involves elaborate honey traps, betrayals and even an unnecessary dose of Islamic terrorism thrown in to show a means of distraction. While the first half goes entirely into the film serving as a 'mass' commercial makeover for Anoop Menon, who plays a wealthy businessman rising in the world of politics through his own shrewd ways, in the latter half, the script does try to be smart. But it never quite achieves this aim, thanks to scenes involving Renji Panicker's character that appear too inorganic. In fact, a lot of spoon feeding happens, which could have been avoided.
The editing keeps the film short but the hyperbolic dialogues and loud music aren't attractive prospects. Anoop does play his character of David John Medayil decently; however, it required an actor with a more commanding presence to carry off the role that is also weighed down by a limited character arc. Prakash Raj is the only saving grace in this multi-starrer that doesn't make use of the other talented artistes in the cast. In fact, the final five minutes make you wonder how the movie would have turned out if it was just a battle of wits between Anoop and Prakash Raj's characters - something that is definitely right up the actor-writer's alley. Though Anoop's intention at revealing the ugly and less-revealed of this side of politics is laudable, the execution is middling at best.
Verdict: While Varaal might be among Kannan Thamarakkulam's better films, it never quite achieves what it sets out to do, due to hyperbolic dialogues and sequences that are aimed at showing the ugly side of what happens in the world of politics.