We begin in Hyderabad, with Vinay (Kranthi), a proper sociopath who synthesises others' pain and turns it into joy for easy consumption. When this anus extraordinaire lands his unhappy gaze upon Aaradhana (Sri Divya), some of excrement burying his personality shakes loose, and said personality begins to feel. However, his sociopath side dictates that the only way to "win" the girl is to let it lead, and so it goes on, until an annoyed and still depressed Aaradhana slaps Vinay. He then gets into a car crash, wakes up and starts seeing ghosts everywhere.
One of the spirits he meets belongs to Gautham (Hemanth), who tells us his own tale as Aaradhana's classmate in some non-descript college. His story begins with the puppy love of Gautham and Aaradhana. For three years, Gautham and Aaradhana be all adorable and make sheep eyes at each other, but never give voice to their feelings. Until the last day of college, when they do. A "happy ending" this soon into a movie is a clear harbinger of tragedy, dear readers, and so it proved to be in Varadhi. Gautham dies of a car crash, and a woebegone Aaradhana moves to Hyderabad.
Is anyone seeing a pattern here? If we were characters in this film, we'd be yelling for a witch hunt.
The rest of the film is basically the makers ignoring this rather interesting direction the plot takes and focusing instead on Vinay's journey towards his humanity, unless, of course, they need wacky spirits to do some comedy.
Varadhi could've been so much fun. It is, too, for a while. Kranthi is a very energetic presence who seems to actually feel genuine joy when pulling shenanigans like splashing mud onto a fresh white T-shirt that says "Keep Smiling". Sri Divya is quite pretty, and would've been more engaging if she weren't such a stick in the mud (no relation to the aforementioned mud). Hemanth is around for a short time, but makes his mark.
The screenplay is what lets the whole show down. You really can't call something innovative if your "innovation" is merely a setup for something people have been doing for all of history. Sure, the spirits come into play at climax time, but by then you feel like you've left your ability to care at home. Some of the lines are fun, sure, and a lot of what makes the movie bearable comes from the actors. But when you spend so much time on character development for no discernable reason, the viewer cannot help but wonder how much time the story is going to take to unfold.
The music is nice enough in the theatre, but you won't find yourself humming anything on your way out. The cinematography is lovely, and the camera treats Sri Divya particularly well. The editing is where it all goes down south. We get that people expect romance flicks to be a certain length, but if keeping it that length means you won't be getting more viewers the next day, you're probably doing it wrong.
Varadhi is about a man who wakes up from an accident to find himself in an alternate ecosystem of ghosts. If Tollywood cannot get us interested in this, there is no hope.