Premam – a lovely film

My non-Indian followers: keep scrolling, keep scrolling.

Premam is one of the most entertaining movie I’ve watched in a long time. The Malayalam industry has once again proved why it’s so far ahead it terms of pure film making. Forget large-scale, forget star power, forget item numbers – Premam is a simple journey into the very basic instinct of us all. Love. Love in all its colors and shapes.

I’ll say this. Tollywood can make a Baahubali but it can never make a Premam. Period

Now where do I even start, I’ll probably try doing a bullet point list like Bharadwaj Rangan:

  • Nivin Pauly is adorable as George Davidson. He shows subtle differences in his persona as he matures through the years and is so damned believable as well. I thought his character was a bit flat and could have had more layers, but you don’t think about it when you’re watching the movie. And he ends up running a bakery! Wasn’t expecting that at all.
  • All the three leading ladies were exceptionally well cast. But it is the character Malar, and I hear she has become quite a sensation now, who steals the show and overshadows almost everyone in the film. Sai Pallavi, the actress, infuses her with such a fresh charm that no wonder everyone’s going crazy for her. And get this – she’s Tamilian, she’s got pimples that the director does not hide, she dances like a diva, and her deep voice, man it’s still ringing in my ears! Gautam Menon’s Jessie seems very boring all of a sudden.
  • My other favourite was Vimal Sir, the one who has a crush on Malar as well. The way he says “Java is robust! Java is safe!” had me in splits.
  • Jojo. This guy was cute and probably had a subplot that wasn’t expanded upon. But I liked his cheerful presence. And that one scene with the telephone, LOL!! The audience went bonkers!
  • Butterflies as a recurring motif. And the fact that they even got the movie’s title in Malayalam shaped like a butterfly.
  • The spellbinding cinematography which is part of the reason for the film’s ‘mood’. Very muted “pastel” colors, with a lot of green and white. And then there’s the perfect Depth Of Field in every shot. Also, no one captures the Sun and its rays better than Keralites.
  • I was not enamored by the songs – except Malare that is. Everything good about Malayalam cinema in a single song. and it doesn’t get any better. This one, again, is currently a rage in Kerala. Partly due to the fact that the director cleverly chose to hold off the song until the movie release.
  • Here it is. Notice everything I mentioned before – the cast, the cinematography, the sunlight, the way the camera moves in and out. Other DOPs need to really take a leaf out of this.
  • It’s good how the supporting cast is mostly not turned into caricatures in Mollywood, at least in the movies that I have seen. How delightful were the the hero’s friend group? Never relegated to being just sidekicks, they are his voice of reason and support him in every step.
  • And finally, that twist at the end. Who would have thunk?
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31 thoughts on “Premam – a lovely film

    • That disclaimer had to be there 😛 I’m getting worried if my blog is becoming too random these days.

      Anyway, take my advice and go watch this with your friends! You’ll love it. And you should also try out Malayalam cinema. They’re like a breath of fresh air. Start with Bangalore Days. 🙂

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  1. Great review. This movie is made by a bunch of old friends who grew up together and thats the reason I feel it feels so genuine. They all persued cinema / acting at one stage of their life and no wonder they pulled this magic eventually. Shabareesh (Shambhu) is a sound engineer himself, and he had penned the lyrics for all the songs. There are tons of sub plots and trivia all arund this movie, and the character of Jojo too has a tiny easer egg hidden. If you notice, in the song ‘Scene Kontra’, Shambu asks Jojo to get him a ‘Kattan kappi’ and repeats it atleast thrice. Kattan Kappi is a shortfilm made by the team a while ago with Jojo as the star 🙂 You can find the film here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URj-ayii6sI

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    • Omg thank you for that! I loved Jojo in the movie actually. When he asks for payment after the dance, I thought he was gonna hava a subplot but sadly they didn’t expand it. But he was charming and had great comic sense. 🙂

      And you are right, I can totally see the passion on screen. It was a stupendous effort crafted with so much care and love for the art. I also loved when they put lyrics randomly on screen during the songs!

      Anyway, thanks for stopping by. I really appreciate it! 🙂

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      • Great pleasure reading your reviews. Few more trivia for you. Aluva, is the town where the first two stories happen. The college shown in the picture is UC College Aluva where Alphons, Shabarish, Krishna Shankar(Koya) all studied. In the movie, when Justin calls George for inviting them for his marriage, he mentions about the Pista song which has become a hit penned by Shmbhu (Shabarish penned the Pista song from their previous movie Neram). In the end when Ronnie(Alphons himself) was geting geaten to pulp by George and gang, the random accusitions they were making included “Bob Marley T shirt” refering to a ridiculous move by Kerala police recently to arrest people wearing t shirts with Bob Marley’s pic on it(http://www.openthemagazine.com/article/real-india/kerala-police-versus-bob-marley).

        Have you seen any other recent mal movies? Shutter, Annayum Rasoolum, Iyoobinte Pustakam, Njan Steve Lopez, North 24 Katham, Ozhimuri etc are some of my personal favorites.

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      • Hi Anand! Thank you, I loved reading through all the trivia!! It’s so fascinating! I too wondered in the movie when Shambu gets praised for the Pista song but I didn’t know that he was the one who originally penned the song. And yea, I read someone saying that the best place to watch this movie is Aluva itself! I would love to visit that college and that walk by the bridge they show in the first story. 🙂

        I’m actually a big fan of Fahad (a truly versatile actor, if you ask me) so I have seen most of his films. Did you watch Amen? A truly splendid movie, that was! I haven’t seen Njan Steve Lopez, Ozhimuri and Shutter! Will check them out, thanks for the recommendation!

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      • Dolly Decruz, the dance master played by Jude Anthany Joseph is a director himself (Ohm Shanti Oshana) who is again part of the whole gang. He worked with Nivin Pauly at Infosys before joining films. Ranji Panicker, who too appear in a cameo role as George’s dad, has made a name for himself scripting pot boiler punch dialogues (like the last bit he delivers in the principal’s room) in the late nineties mostly in his chrime/police thriller movies often starring Suresh Gopi. Notice how george says ‘that english at the end was superb’ and ranji winks at him in return:) . Another cameo, Murali the silent professor who comes in a few shots is Shabarish’s brother himself. Apart from these there are tons of references to old mal movie dialogues all throughout the movie. Like when george says he wants to collect tamil film DVD’s to learn malayalam, his friends teases him with the old Jagathy Srikumar dialogue “Velakkariyanalum nee en mohavalli” quoting the dialogues from the the classic comedy “Melepparambil Aanveedu” where he struggles to learn Tamil to woo a new housemaid (played by Shobhana). Old malayalam movies of the nineties were filled with such classic situational jokes which are still part of our pop culture. Premam in that sense is a true celebration of the current generation and their sensibilities.

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      • Yea, the pop culture references are awesome in this one! I think they even talk about the age gap between Fahad and Nazriya, isn’t it 😉 The only old Malayalam movie that I saw was Manichitratazhu and I remember even it had such light and quirky humor, didn’t it?

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      • Couldn’t find a reply button next to the last message in this thread. so posting it here:) Yes, Fahad has come a long way since he made his debut in his dads film. It was horrible if you ask me:) He amazingly turned it around, all thanks to the exposure and firendships he has within the film fraternity. In my opinion, he and Jayasurya are the mainstream actors with the most promice we have now in malayalam. Nivin is surely making a mark, but im yet to see a film where he does a different role than the one he has played to perfection in Premam (Even here, i felt the last segment where he is introduced as the owner of the cafe, he was trying too hard since that was out of his comfort zone)

        Amen, to me was an over rated movie. It won hearts purely because of its lifted inspiration from french/italian comedy drama and cute moments. The second half was really tiresome for me personally. But i think i fall in the minority, so there must be something that i missed. Fahad and Indrajeet (another gem of an actor who doesnt get the recognition because of his brother) were fab. in it though.

        Steve Lopez (acted by Fahad’s brother) is now available to watch online here legally- https://reelmonk.com/

        You should also try watching Kerala Cafe (anthology), Manjadikkuru (first movie by Blore days director Anjali Menon), Diamond Necklace, Mazha (an old one, but one of my all time favorites), Adaminte makan abu (the comedian Salim Kumar won national award for best actor)

        The best of malayalam comedy was in the nitenies. The comdey was so natural and it never felt out of place in the whole script. Sadly the trend of having a parallel comedy track has creeped in recently.

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      • I think for me Amen was a sudden change from all those tiring masala movies of Tollywood. It felt so out of the box that I got totally mesmerized from the titles itself. The locations, the background music, the actors, and of course Swathi, who’s from Andhra, as you might know and I quite like her. It’s great that she’s getting offers in Kerala since woman like her are written off as not-glamorous in Tollywood. It’s a sad state of affairs really.

        Anyway, many thanks for all those recommendations, and for taking the time to share your knowledge. I really appreciate it!

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    • Ha! colours Swati. I used to live in Hyderabad for two years and shared a room with my Telugu friend. He used to be a big fan of Swati and thats how i know her:) I liked ber better in North 24 katham. She was cute and apt for the role of Shoshamma in Amen, but dont think she acted that well in it. But in North 24 she really impressed.

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  2. Hi Uday, reserved the comments now, as i thought i should write in blog posts only after seeing the movie. Cinematically he reminds me of Mysskkin visual designs but does not shout from the rooftop like Mysskkin does and on par with Karthik Subburaj and Nalan Kumaraswamy. I still think it is from a male gaze that the film is presented and does not tell us adequately why the women in the movie behaved the way they did. In that reference to 900 acres and exchanging of smiles at that suggestion hints at transphobia as 9 is a derogatory term against transsexuals. I had presented my view here:https://aquasanju.wordpress.com/2015/12/29/premam-my-take-on-the-movie/. Keep posting, i do enjoy your posts

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    • Wow, very interesting perspectives there. I’m very new to Malayalam cinema and am yet to see a Mysskkin film! One thing I found common in the movies I’ve seen though is that Malayalam films usually have better camera work and cinematography when compared with other industries. I’m impressed the creativity most. Have you seen Charlie?

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