After two back to back serious films, Neena from Lal Jose and Ivide from Shyamaprasad, Premam comes as breadth of fresh air, light in its approach with a lot of fun rolled into its making. In its idea, it is a new film, a fresh take on the same old, boy meets girl love story from the point of view of just men. Now this little detail has to be kept in mind throughout the film otherwise it can lead to problems as to the absence of a feminine voice in the script… One area where the director Alphonse Puthren excels in is his editing skills, and that editing ensures the film stays with its pace.
For starters, if you haven’t seen the three films, then I suggest you watch it in this order.. first watch Neena… follow it up by Premam and then watch Ivide.. to get out of the hangover of Ivide you could watch old Malayalam film like, Akare Akare Akare or Boeying Boeying.. 🙂 I watched Neena and Ivide on consequetive days and was unprepared for the heaviness in the subject matter that was portrayed, epsecially in Neena. Neena looked so deceptively naive from its posters.
The story of the film is built on a concept of the bildungsroman of its central character, George David played by Nivin Pauly. The time span of the film stretches from his final year of pre-degree to when he is 30 and gets married. It is the story of how he falls in and out of love with two girls and finally ends up marrying the third. However, the second love story, if it can be called a love story, is the crux of the film, the most refreshing, and the most talked about, the most imitated, and what Premam as a film has come to be now, known and remembered for. The combination of the black shirt-white mundu, the kalippu song sung by Murali Gopi and Shabarish, the character of Sai Pallavi as Malar, the tamil-malalayalam conversations, the stage show, the humour worked out between Vinay Fort and Soubin Sahir, Vinay Fort teaching java, vinay fort owning 900 acres of pear (sabarjalli) orchards….easily, it is one of the most remembered part of the film.
Premam as a boy’s journey from his school days to his 30s with his ongoing relationship with this idea of love and his friends is a treat because visually, the transformation of the boys plays a major turning point in the film, each stage of the transformation brings with it its own mannerisms and an attitude towards life. The two women if not three, have made a mark… Malar is a heartthrob by now, Anupama lost out in the race, though she is still remembered for her bushy hair combed to one side. Madonnna needs to make her presence felt, because among the three she was the invisible one. Anupama appeared in the promos and for a long time before the release was considered to be the only lead opposite Nivin. After its release, it was Malar all through..
Now, if you ask me whether Nivin Pauly looks like a pre-degree student I have no one answer for it, I will have to draw a parallel from Raju Hirani’s 3 idiots in 2009 and tell you we all did assume that Rancho played by Aamir Khan was 17 or according to the film’s time period, even younger. Nivin’s Pauly’s character can be thought of and compared to Surya’s and Dhanush characters in growing up stories in the Tamil industry.
I don’t know to what degree this film will appease the current school and college goers, it seems to have created an influence and Nivin Pauly has been transformed into the status of a superstar after its release.. but, that said, it will definitely bring in a kind of nostalgia for Malayalees who passed out of school about 10 to 15 years ago. This batch born in the early to mid 1980s has grown up with say, Hrithi Roshan becoming an overnight sensation with his Kaho na pyaar hai, and now the upcoming patisserie business, so the context of the film is relate-able. Plus the college Puthren has chosen as the locale is UC, which is different from the other college campuses in other campus films like Niram (1998), Nammal (2003), Classmates (2005/06) and Chocolate.
I just fell in love with Nivin’s acting all over again in the film. I feel I am going on to like another actor just I like Mohanlal! …And Malar, the character played by Sai Pallavi.. from her voice to her dance.. I think by now, almost everyone who watched the film is in love with her.. the element of fun hidden in the lines spoken by the PT Coach … 17 new comers.. including the director of Om Shanti Oshana, Jude.. Alphonse himself in a cameo role… The film is a box office hit because of a variety of reasons, the lyrics of the songs are taken from every day conversation.. so easily picked up, sung and hummed. The dialogues are minimal and when they are spoken are realist. It could easily be something we would say … There is a naturalness in the acting and the way the story is told.
I would say, watch it…. a fun ride, a note to women and girls, keep aside that it is a story from a male perspective, keep aside the age difference in an ending similar to the other recent film, Vellimoonga, to the rest of the film critics, keep aside those Tamil films which presented the growth of a protagonist (bildungsroman as we technically phrase it among literary students) from boyhood to a man.. watch the film for its own sake..
The tricks of the film lies in its intertexuality. Oh man! there are certain scenes when Nivin Pauly’s gestures look very similar to Mohanlal, those I feel are the subtle lines of inter textual references being played out in the film, even though I suspect Puthren and Pauly are big time Mammotty fans. It looks like Puthren wants his audience to remember Mohanlal, the way he looks, the way he walks out after a fight, rolling his mustache, folding his mundu.. Revel in these if you are film fan..and regular movie goer.. now when Jojo’s says vellam, every Malayalee will remember Manichitratazhru, Mohanlal and Pappu. The background score to Ranji Pannikar’s one scene can be enjoyed wholly only if the audience knows that he was the one who wrote all those mincing English lines for Suresh Gopi in most of his cops films of the 1990s.
I enjoyed the film to a packed audience in the theater. But that being said, I don’t feel like watching this film from start to finish again, and I don’t know the reason why.. ! I would definitely like to see it in parts..
alphonse and friends are a film loving groups and it shows.
ps: the featured pic is a poster from google images.