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Varnam, a film to look out for

June 11, 2009 13:55 IST

Varnam, a film to look out for

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Shobha Warrier

Varnam is the latest film to join the likes of Tamil films like Veyil, Subramaniapuram, Paruthiveeran, Pasanga etc that are taking an offbeat path.

S M Raju, one of the producers of Santhosh Sivan's Malayalam film Anathabhadram is turning director in Tamil with this film.

Raju was a successful computer scientist in the USA before his passion for films and theatre led him to write, direct and produce a dozen dance theatre work for Aparna Sindhoor Dance Theater (www.navarasa.org), a dance company that he co-founded. He soon won the James Baldwin playwright award.


Image: A scene from Varnam

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Varnam, a film to look out for

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Cinematography is by Prem Kumar whose recent film is Pasanga. He had done his Diploma in Cinematography at the Chennai Film Institute and has worked with renowned cinematographers like Santosh Sivan, Alphonse Roy, Ravi K Chandran and Rathnavelu.

As a student at the Institute, he had directed and shot a short film Paramapadam, which went on to win the National Award in direction and several other awards including the Kodak Endowment award for Cinematography. Varnam is his first feature film as a cinematographer.


Image: A scene from Varnam

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Varnam, a film to look out for

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Editing is by Mathan, who started his career with the award winning Tamil feature film Veyil.

Music is by the national award winning music composer Isaac Thomas Kottukapally, who has composed music for more than 30 national, international and state award winning feature films in Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, Telugu, Assamese, Hindi and English for directors like the late G Aravindan, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Shaji N Karun, T V Chandran, Girish Kasarvalli, Kavitha Lankesh, Janaki Viswanathan, and Madhu Ambat.


Image: A scene from Varnam

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Varnam, a film to look out for

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The basic theme of Varnam, according to the director, is "privilege and prejudice have a price".

It is the story of a 17 year old Mani (Durai) learning it the hard way. Mani, who had lost his father in tragic caste related violence in the village 10 years ago, wishes to seek revenge for his father's death.

He is sent to his uncle Durai's (Sampath) place to continue his studies.


Image: A scene from Varnam

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Varnam, a film to look out for

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Mani repeatedly sketches his father's image to keep his memory alive and also the thought of revenge.

Mani's teacher at school, Kavitha (Monica) learns about his talent in sketching and she supports him and encourages his talent.

He also grows fond of a classmate Thangam (Aswatha). The new relationships create confusion in his mind as he has begun life with certain prejudices about people and castes, and the new people in his life come from different castes.


Image: A scene from Varnam

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Varnam, a film to look out for

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Thus starts Mani's journey into adulthood, and the two persons who deeply influence him are his uncle Durai and his teacher Kavitha.

His inner turmoil to reconcile with his prejudices about people belonging to the lower caste, his desire to seek revenge, his liking for Thangam and certain irrevocable and violent consequences because of his seemingly casual acts form the rest of the story of the action drama that is Varnam.

Varnam was filmed in the western ghats which includes Theni, the Kodaikanal hills, Munnar and the adjoining areas. The rock fort at Dindugul is also an important location in the film.


Image: A scene from Varnam

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