In Varma, the Tamil remake of Telugu film Arjun Reddy, Vikram’s son Dhruv makes his acting debut. Dhruv steps into the shoes of Vijay Deverakonda, who looked every inch the raging maniac who sought to fill the emptiness in his heart with sex, drugs and lots of liquor.
It’s a difficult task for the young actor. Dhruv is 22 years old, but looks a lot younger, even with that full beard. The first-look teaser, unveiled on the occasion of Dhruv’s birthday, includes all the important elements from the original film. Dhruv (whose resemblance to his actor-dad is startling) is shown as a youth in love, a hockey player, his descent into alcohol and drug addiction following the breakdown of his love affair, and finally, a surgeon who operates on his patients under the influence of alcohol.
Also in the film are Eswari Rao and Raiza Wilson, in supporting roles. Much of the teaser plays out with Radhan’s score in the background. Not much is said by any of the lead actors. Perhaps one has to wait for the official trailer for that.
Arjun Reddy, directed by Sandeep Reddy Vanga, is a problematic movie with its blatant celebration of toxic masculinity. But then, Bala is a filmmaker who frequently skirts around this territory with his films. The choice of its lead actor, Dhruv – a debutant who hasn’t yet acquired the image or the acting skills to fulfill the complex demands of the role – may well become the movie’s albatross.
The Telugu original made stars out of its leads – Vijay Deverakonda and Shalini Pandey. It remains to be seen if the Tamil film will do the same for its young actors – Dhruv and Megha Chowdhury.
For now, it’s trending on social media. The young actor has already acquired several dedicated Twitter accounts. Maybe, this much is enough for now.