That missed call, the pounding heartbeat, leaning over the bicycle waiting for her outside tuition classes, with pals (who are ready to lay life for you) discussing in detail when is the best day to make the first phone call, following the lady, impressing her dad, rewriting that love letter multiple times, trying to push boundaries of middle-class values, waiting outside her house staring at the window, pretending to fix your bicycle – you have done it all. Except that Alphonse Puthren’s Premam (Malayalam) enacts it all out in front of you. And makes you part of it.
That teacher’s perfume, her ravishing smile, the weakened heart when she smiles at you, going numb when she confronts you, asking your pals where to get the freshest flowers, feeling jealous of every guy whom she gives a smile, feeling inferior seeing the other guy’s qualities, feeling worse when you discover an unknown quality/trait in her, the mind unwilling to attend classes, the staring at the watch frequently, staring at her eat cake, spoon by spoon, when the eyes meet … and meet again – we have felt it all. Except that Nivin Pauly and Sai Pallavi’s charms keep lighting up the screen and pulling our hand to be part of their journey. The second time they encounter (just outside a classroom), the pause is so well timed, that, as an audience you bend forward and urge the boy to say something quick.
Premam didn’t get the high rating it deserves, from leading media houses, but in Malayalam cinema, it has attained cult status. Just like Bangalore Days or Dil Chahta Hai (Hindi). I will only recommend you movies which are worth multiple viewings. This one is. Sai Pallavi suddenly breaking out to breathtaking dance steps will stand one of the highest moments in Indian cinema. Our protagonists’ even sheepishly go up to her and request to teach ‘simpler steps’. That’s the height the movie reaches. The Pallavi lady is the outstanding actor who lifts the flick from an above average experience to a mindblowing one. Then there’s the exquisite soundtrack (by Rajesh Murugesan) which papers over the odd flaw or the hurried third story. Yes, Premam should have been 20 mins longer – that’s something you don’t hear people say about most movies. I will leave you to judge the rest, as the three love stories, at different stages of a man, is too much relatable, to fall in love again.
Sit with your Valentine to watch this gem, discuss every scene, Madonna Sebastian’s smile, Anupama Parameswaran’s flowing hair, remember when you gave names to a silly teacher (and shouted those names randomly), laugh at the ‘Mava’ teacher’s antics (brilliant Vinay Forrt), let the tears roll, relate to the rainfall when the drenched boys cry like babies, let the horse come in for ‘valet parking’, the smiles peek out, the blushes express and the butterflies flutter. And when its over, pick up your veshti/mundu, give a swirl to your moustache, search for that charming smile…. and fall in love all over again.
My Rating: 4/5 (Must watch)
IMDB viewers rating: 8.3/10