Naane Varuvean (2022) – The Second Half Saves The Day

First off, before getting into the review, I have to give some context for those unaware. This movie was released a day before Mani Ratnam’s Ponniyin Selvan: Part I came into the world, and made history with conquering the box office like a monster does a mere mortal. I have no idea why they thought it would be good idea to release it against a film about a Tamil historical epic based on famous Tamil novels by one of Tamil Nadu’s most famous directors with little to no promotion of it outside the state except in Andhra Pradesh with its Telugu dub. My guess for all this just utter, pure Hubris. Sure, for those somehow not interested in seeing PS-1 would go see this movie, also the fans of the director and actor, but in the end it was a gamble that could have easily been avoided maybe if it had been set to release on a streaming platform or been released later in the month or the next. I just needed to get this out of the way, because seeing this “competition” that turned into one mercilessly crushing the other was both painful and frustrating to see, especially since the solution seemed an easy one. I hesitate to call this a flop movie because of that reason though, simply because it did technically make its money back, it was successful, but the timing of its release is nothing short of Hubris in my eyes that hurt more than it helped.


A pair of twins are the polar opposite’s: Prabhu is gentle and meek, while Kathir is wild and erratic. One day a stranger kidnaps Kathir and he kills him. Years later, Prabhu’s daughter Sathya begins to have a change of behaviour. It turns out she is possessed by a spirit who asks Prabhu to kill so that the spirit can be avenged.

The thing I see in this film are ideas not fully explored or dug into. It goes deep into the supernatural and the reaction towards death and trauma, but it does not challenge our expectations. The first half is all Prabhu with his supernatural problems which goes beat-to-beat of what to expect from such a film, while the second half, largely thanks to Kathir, becomes much more of a fun ride. I would easily say that had Selvaraghavan and Dhanush dared to make the Villain the main protagonist the story would have been more interesting all through out, but by Filmi Law there must be a good guy to balance our bad. I guess I am just a little disappointed, since the teasers were excellent in giving hints but nothing clear on what to expect from this film, only for it to not embrace the shades of gray or even rise above its premise of good versus evil.

One the good side the cinematography is excellent, with the first half being sweet, but with shadows hanging around the corners, waiting to bite before it turns a bathing light of blues and blood reds. The second half is all in nature, forested, rustic, unsure of what is behind the corner. Om Prakash does a great job at showcasing the beauty of the vastness of the landscape, the loneliness it brings, the feeling of not being sure if you are truly alone, and the maddening effect it has. It adds a lot of tension to the story that is painfully predictable.

The real draw is honestly Dhanush as he plays these dual roles of the twins Kathir and Prabhu. He is a great actor who makes these two characters very different, though it is clear he had more fun playing Kathir. Granted, the character is also more of a presence, much more outgoing, and scene-stealing, so no wonder. He has a crazy song, he was more prominent in the marketing…makes sense. The fun one is always the wild card, not necessarily the one that appears to be the sensible boring one.

The child actors here deserve a lot of credit, they are wonderful! Sylvenesten and Frankisten as the young Prabhu and Kathir are appropriately creepy and convincing. Hiya Davey as Sathiya is perfectly cute and innocent, but her eyes speak volumes of menace. On the adult side, Yogi Babu brings out just the right amount of humour to lighten a dark story. Elli AvrRam is also wonderful, having this delicate sweetness with eyes that speak volumes in her role. Indhuja Ravichandran is good even though she does not get much to do in the second half, which is sad.

Though I am glad at leas the songs by Yuvan Shankar Raja for this movie are excellent. My favourite is the first song that released, which got me so hyped for this movie, which is ‘Veera Soora’. It so perfectly creepy, epic, and really sells on the world of Kathir in this forest. ‘Rendu Raaja’ is good also, but as it is seen in the film heightens it more as you see Dhanush dance and sing it in the scene it appears. ‘Yaarum Illa’ is nice that gets better on repeat listenings.

The thing with this movie is that I can sense the ideas here, and the main one is greatly done. How trauma effects and how some people respond to it compared to others, for example. How superstitions can both hurt and help in this paranormal story, even if it is not really looked into. Maybe if it had had more of a run time than the near two hours it could have explored these more or just changed the POV character we could see the story of how trauma affects people, how many superstitious sayings or acts might turn into self fulfilling prophecies if done to a child at an early age…just so much more than what was there.

First thing we hear is a reference to the Ramayana with the King Raavanan and Lord Ram references in song whose destiny is to fight one another, making these symbolisms physical as well as closer by making the two twin brothers is a good idea. I just wish something more had come other than the obvious. If there had been another draft of the script to dig deeper into these symbolisms or even twisting it on who was the Villain in all this. That would have been fun! Or maybe they thought it would be obvious so they did it straight, I have no idea.

The film does leave on a hook for a possible sequel, which is interesting. Hopefully it will release on a good date if it ever does happen.

Thank you for reading!

5 thoughts on “Naane Varuvean (2022) – The Second Half Saves The Day

  1. Sad for the film, but I agree that the marketing department (or whomever else is involved in setting the release date) brought havoc upon themselves ) : Admittedly I don’t follow Tamil releases with any assiduity, but I had no clue this film even existed until your post, whereas PS1 has become a behemoth.


    1. Thank you for proving my point! Yea, it was pure, utter Hubris to release it on the day it did. At least later in the month, they would have made it a”Halloween” adventure thriller release.


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