Varshangalkku Shesham: Dear Vineeth Sreenivasan, stop churning out feel-good fluff

In an urgency to keep churning out movies designed solely to make audiences feel good, director-writer Vineeth Sreenivasan is becoming too predictable, and even sloppy.

Varshangalkku Shesham poster

Varshangalkku Shesham poster

I can't even imagine what Varshangalkku Shesham might have been without the hilarious presence of Nivin Pauly. His self-deprecating humour, combined with a commentary on the generation's obsession with revealing their most personal and deepest regrets for the world to dissect and debate, saves the movie from a melodramatic downfall. Nivin's comedic timing and natural charm offer a much-needed counterbalance to the otherwise heavy-handed narrative.

Varshangalkku Shesham lacks authenticity in terms of depicting the time, place, and how these two elements shape the characters. The unrealized romance between Pranav Mohanlal's Murali and Kalyani Priyadarshan's Annie feels shallow and, to a large extent, unnatural. This relationship becomes even more absurd when Annie spots and recognizes Murali playing a violin on top of a cliff. It's hard to believe that Annie could immediately recognize Murali, who is now five decades older with long grey hair and a weathered face, from such a distance while travelling down a hairpin bend.

The melodrama of Varshangalkku Shesham could give TV soap operas a run for their money. Director-writer Vineeth Sreenivasan attempts to sell self-destructive behaviour as a form of sacrifice. Murali continually makes one blunder after another for reasons even he can't justify, yet expects the audience to empathize with him. I slapped my head when the composer Indra asked Murali to compose new songs instead of wallowing in his own self-pity. This moment was intended to be a turning point, but it felt more like a forced attempt to steer the plot back on track.

The friendship between Murali and Venu, which was supposed to be the beating heart of this drama, fails to evoke the emotions the filmmakers hoped for. Their friendship begins with mutual admiration for each other's artistic talents, but soon one makes the right choices while the other doesn't. Jealousy, insecurities, and fear seep in, turning their relationship toxic until they eventually part ways. Years later, when they reunite, they both start making movies again. However, there is no discussion about the mistakes they made in their youth or how age has helped them understand their past actions. For all its efforts to be nostalgic, the principal characters fail to put life in the perspective of wisdom that comes with age and regrets.

In an urgency to keep churning out movies designed solely to make audiences feel good, Vineeth Sreenivasan is becoming too predictable, and even sloppy. His once fresh approach now feels formulaic, and Varshangalkku Shesham suffers because of it. The film seems more interested in tugging at heartstrings in the most obvious ways rather than exploring the genuine complexities of its characters' lives.

Despite its flaws, Varshangalkku Shesham does have its redeeming qualities. Nivin Pauly's performance is a standout, providing much-needed fun and charm. His comedic timing and natural screen presence elevate the otherwise lacklustre material. The film also touches on relevant themes such as nostalgia, regret, and the passage of time, even if it doesn't explore them as deeply as it could have.