Varathan(Outsider) is an instructive example of how a filmmaker may achieve feminist brilliance by largely yet not entirely understanding women's concerns and then allow his narrative to spiral downwards into patriarchal clichés. This Amal Neerad's film that mostly deals with the daily violence faced by women until it explodes into a thriller, is commendable for one very important reason. Neither Priya (Aishwarya Lekshmi) nor her husband Abin (Fahadh Faasil) ever blame her comfortable, fitting dresses (which stand out in a Kerala village) for the fact that she is stalked and assaulted. The movies starts off in Dubai with Abin, who is let go from his job. He alone with wife Priya who has a miscarriage decides to shift to the latter's estate in Kerala for a few months till they figure things out. The locals at the place are not that fond of outsiders as there have been many dark stories in the past involving outsiders. As women with their antennae on high alert tend to do in real life, Priya notices their discomfiting stares long before Abin does, and senses a presence even when no one appears to be physically around. Abin is a good-hearted gentleman who refrains from jumping to conclusions. But when Abin, a varathan (outsider) decides to go bazooka on them, the movie bombards from first gear into fifth gear. Credit to Amal Neerad though for letting his signature seep in only during the latter half and keeping the narrative grounded, which such a story warrants. Aishwarya Lekshmi has competed well with Fahadh and has succeeded in conveying every single emotion with conviction. She also successfully conveys the palpable tension whenever she is alone in the house.Sharaf U Dheen who is known for his comical roles in Premam and Happy Wedding has pulled out a stunner.
Varathan is an experience that very few Malayalam films can provide. High-quality making, perfect acting, well-worked screenplay, brilliant background score are not something you see every Friday.