Varṇam is a form of song in the Carnatic music repertoire consisting of short metric pieces which encapsulate the main features and requirements of a raga. The features and rules of the raga (also known as the sanchaaraas of a raga) include how each note of the raga should be stressed, the scale of the raga, and so on.
Known for their complex structure, varnams are a fundamental form in Carnatic music. All varnams consist of lyrics, as well as swara passages, including a pallavi, an anupallavi, muktayi swaras, a charanam, and chittaswaras. There are two types of varnams, known as Taana varnam and Padha varnam.
Considered as probably the most complex form in Carnatic music, varnams play a significant role in Carnatic music. A varnam is traditionally performed as an opening item by musicians in Carnatic music concerts to act as warm-up for the musicians, or as a centre main piece in Bharatanatyam dance concerts. As a foundation to Carnatic music, varnams are also practised as vocal exercises by performers of Carnatic music, to help develop voice culture, and maintain proper pitch and control of rhythm. The melodic patterns in a varnam are considered to be characteristic patterns of a particular raga, and assist a performer in ensuring the swaras of the raga are sung or played effectively. Teachers of Carnatic music maintain that varnams must be practised in double and triple speeds by performers in order to develop the skills of manodharma (improvisation), particularly neraval and kalpanaswaras.
Varnam is a 1989 Malayalam-language comedy-drama film starting Jayaram and Suresh Gopi. As the directorial debut of film director Ashokan, the film received critical acclaim and was well received.
Varnam is a Tamil drama film directed by Raju S. M., starring Giridharan, Monica, Sampath Raj, Aathish, Aswatha and Vijay Sethupathi in the lead roles. Varnam is the story of seventeen-year-old Mani learning that privilege and prejudice have a price. Mani's uncle Durai exploits the helpless lower caste farmers. Mani's teacher Kavitha questions Mani's prejudices. His inner turmoil and violent consequences of his casual acts form rest of the story.