When a movie fails we should blame the producers for their lack of judgement of a story. Time and again producers fall for the directors’ out-of-the-world love stories and invest a ridiculous amount without any foresight. Varna is a recent and fine example of a criminal waste of money. Each frame, supposed to speak the language of love, frustrates viewers and drives them to boredom. Dialogues, dubbing, graphics name it... everything about the film fails to bring credibility. Varna has a triple role for Anushka — in one she is overtly shy, in the other she is too outgoing and in the third, thankfully the smallest role, she looks too confused. As for the computer graphics, they dilute the content from the word go.

Whether it is a famished Varna gorging on the tubes and picking imaginary mushrooms or the Avatar-like animals falling prey to Mahendra’s (Arya) valour, everything looks meaningless. The saga kicks off in two worlds, one — a demure salwar kurta clad medico Ramya (Anushka) sporting a vibhoothi and jasmines wanting to express her love for a kind hearted bespectacled stranger Madhu (Arya) when she sees him admitting his restroom cleaner for delivery in the corporate hospital that Ramya works in. Madhu initially declines her proposal due to his commitment to paraplegic father, but eventually realises that he loves her and follows her to a medical camp. The wooing begins to an already betrothed Ramya, sparks fly but she suddenly dies. Unable to come to terms with the sudden death, Madhu travels.

Director Selvan Raghavan, while showing this story, flits from one story to another showing the character sketch and simultaneous yet similar development of lives of a couple in another world. This is an ancient kingdom where Varna (Anushka) who loves freedom and is extremely bold, outgoing and restrained in emotions falls for an underrated warrior Mahendra (Arya).

The director, through commentary and illustrations, shows how women in the second world knew nothing about love. Now Madhu from the modern world arrives and infuses love amongst this couple who share a blow-hot blow-cold relationship. There is also a character termed Amma. She is divinity personified and her role is to silently stare, be transported and use signals in important occasions. Whether it is the first world or second world, Selvaraghavan simply doesn’t show how it is to feel or express love.

Everything about the movie is slow, exaggerated and the characters are just puppets in his hands. Dialogues are pathetic and actors have a whale of time in the fancy period costumes. Background score doesn’t gel. Avoid this film and look for love elsewhere.

VARNA

Cast: Arya, Anushka

Director: Selvaraghavan

Music: Harris Jeyraj

Genre: Love cum fantasy

Bottomline: Complex, unpalatable, slow and boring