Adithya Varma movie review: This hard-hitting Arjun Reddy remake rides on Dhruv Vikram’s performance

Adithya Varma is a gripping and largely faithful remake of Telugu blockbuster Arjun Reddy

Sreedhar Pillai November 22, 2019 18:41:40 IST

3.25/5

Adithya Varma is a gripping and largely faithful remake of the Telugu film, Arjun Reddy (which was also remade in Hindi as Kabir Singh). Though it is almost a scene-to-scene remake, some minor changes make Adithya Varma a crisper iteration. Pleasingly, it also tones down the toxic masculinity of the original.

The film belongs to Dhruv Vikram, intense and raw in his debut role, who nails the character successfully. For those who haven’t seen Arjun Reddy or Kabir Singh, here’s a quick lowdown on what the story is about: It focuses on the pain and suffering that a successful young surgeon with anger management issues undergoes, having been through heartbreak.

Adithya Varma movie review This hardhitting Arjun Reddy remake rides on Dhruv Vikrams performance

Dhruv Vikram in Adithya Varma

Dhruv is able to bring out the romance, the roiling anger and angst his character experiences, as well as essay his final breakdown so poignantly that your heart goes out to Adithya Varma. When a romcom could have been a perfect launch vehicle, Dhruv Vikram should be lauded for making a daring choice in Adithya Varma. This is perhaps a sign that for a debutant, the “hero image” is no longer sacrosanct in contemporary Tamil cinema.

Dhruv Vikram deftly evokes on screen the various aspects of the protagonist’s personality and journey — from a rich kid who is obsessive by nature, to an individual who is abusive and determined to get what he wants at any cost. Adithya is a successful surgeon, yes, but he’s also an alcoholic, and his addiction has its roots in some trauma from the past.

In a flashback, that trauma is delved into: Adithya is a brilliant medical student. His anger management issues cause him to be short-tempered even with the people closest to him. He nurses an obsessive love for his junior in medical school, Meera ( Banita Sandhu), and is very protective about her. This leads to a situation where he has a run-in with Meera’s dad, which in turn distances Meera from him. Heartbroken, Adithya becomes a total misfit in society and is rejected by all as his self-destructive streak spirals out of control.

Director Gireesaaya has tinkered a bit with the characterisation of the heroine Meera, played so aptly in this film by Banita Sandhu. If Meera in the Telugu and Hindi films (played by Shalini Pandey and Kiara Advani, respectively) was depicted as demure, coy, and even forced into ‘falling in love’, here she is very keen on getting into a relationship with the hero. This makes the climax far more real and believable. The characters of the hero’s friend and brother are also better etched in the Tamil version. The supporting cast, including Leela Samson, turns in convincing performances.

The trouble with Adithya Varma is the long drawn-out climax with a sad song thrown in, which only extends the running time of the film. To be fair, the Tamil remake, at 168 minutes, has the shortest running time compared to the Telugu (186 minutes) and Hindi (172 minutes) versions. On the plus side is Ravi K Chandran’s cinematography, which follows the plot closely and never tries to be gimmicky, therefore adding to the film’s authenticity.

On the whole, Adithya Varma is a raw and hard-hitting film which rides on Dhruv Vikram’s performance. This is a star in the making; truly, a chip off the old block.

Watch the trailer here —

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