The world’s love for Vaaranam Aayiram as a movie has been dissected so much on the internet, it became acidic after a point. We get that it is the best Gautam Vasudev Menon movie of all time. We get that it was one of Suriya’s most inspiring performances. We understand that it gave you unrealistic train romance expectations. All this apart, for the people who truly love Vaaranam Aayiram a little more than the rest of the world, it isn’t like any other film. We are possessive about the movie like no one else and it feels like a sin to dissect it because of the emotion it holds. But credit where it is due, the beauty of the movie also lies in the fact that it has given us always something new to talk about even after all these years of showing love and Kalaignar TV telecasts. A little part of me doesn’t want to do this writing but I don’t think I’ll get a better stage in this world to celebrate something little that the world doesn’t give enough attention to.
The brilliance of the Vaaranam Aayiram starts with the setting it created in such a short span of time into the movie. A setting where the story can be of so many different perspectives and everything would still hold the film together separately in its own uniqueness. On paper, it is straightforward that it is a stirring journey of a man and how his father changed his life. From the view of Krishnan, it is about how an idealistic dad helps his son handle the curve balls life throws at him. Even Simran’s perspective is about how she saw her son close himself into a cocoon and open into a butterfly by the end. When we talk about all this, we forget that, there is another integral part of the butterfly’s life by the end of the story – Priya and second chances in life.
The album of the film is raved to be Harris Jayaraj’s greatest work till date and honestly, even though some part of me would argue about it, another part of me doesn’t want to. Good albums stay with us through the years but only the best of the best albums form a cult just for its music. “Hi Malini, I’m Krishnan” part of Mundhinam Parthene is still a proposal scene for the ages. Nenjukkul Peidhidum went on to be a synonym for songs to sing with a guitar in hand. Anjala has so much sad boy energy, it makes you emerge out of wallowing in self pity and break cupboards and computer desktops (based on a true story). With all these bangers forming its own fan following with spoofs and tiktok videos over the years, silently at the back, there was a marriage between the chromatic voice of Sudha Raghunathan and the lyrical genius of Thamarai with a heart melting violin interlude to give Annul Maelae Panithuli as a minimalist representation of the story of Vaaranam Aayiram from the eyes of Priya.
Seeing this story from Suriya’s narration, she was brought into his life at a much later stage, a stage where he was disturbed, aimless and was taking up wrong turns in life thinking he lost his only shot in love. He wasn’t expecting a second chance in life because he was still in denial of Meghna’s untimely exit. Priya on the other hand, even though she looked at him the same way since her adolescence (very evidently, for that matter) was a mature woman who finally gave Suriya what he was missing for the entirety of his rehabilitation – the trust that someone can still travel with him for the rest of his life. Suriya’s conflicted self always had the worst case scenario at the back of his mind like any human would do but Priya waited until he could accept the reality. And I feel that’s what made it special. “Annul Maelae Panithuli, Alaipaayum Oru Kili” literally follows the journey of Priya from a peripheral part of Suriya’s life into his aide to hold hands with. And the feeling is portrayed beautifully in the visuals where the second shot of the entire video features Suriya and Priya shaking hands to break the awkwardness between them because they weren’t the star crossed lovers which Tamil Cinema usually glorifies but rather, they were mere children of destiny. The later cuts showed them actually getting to know each other with walks, lunches and even a flight date (one of the rare occasions where GVM did it before Mani Ratnam in Kaatru Veliyidai) and then Suriya finally gets up the courage to take her hand and literally and figuratively, never leaves her hand for the rest of the song!
With time, Priya’s questions were answered one by one. Her dreams were coming alive with Suriya and he is seemingly becoming the hardcore romantic he was in his own good time. Until the scenes leading up to the start of the song, we almost forget that this guy is the same man who travelled to another continent and sang En Iniya Pon Nilave in front of a random house. With this woman coming her way to a military camp just like he did all those years back, it feels like Suriya's life had come a full circle. This was his second chance. Not a lot of people get second chances and Suriya is no fool to miss them. The last one minute of the video is a time jump from their first holiday into the birth of their first child with the classic GVM montages that fade in with the chorus. It was so naturally stitched with the song, the last one minute had visuals for the next 2 years of Suriya’s and Priya’s lives and we never cared enough to analyse it. It was bound to be a Natchathira Jannalil moment but this is how good things happen when you believe in your second chances, just like the chorus, with lots of laughter and lots of love, unworried about the hurdles in the future because of your trust in yourself that you’ll be able to get past it.