It is four years to the day of the release of one of my favorite films, Premam. And I’d like to warn you that this post will be more of a celebration than anything else. Not that the film is beyond criticism, its just that I don’t feel that there is any nitpicking required here. It is a celebration of life, love, friendship and everything in between. So, instead of trying to analyze the film, I’d like to put forward a few reasons why Premam is an enduring classic.
The characters – when a film focuses more on the people rather than the story, you need to have characters that are interesting and ones that we can relate to. This is where Premam is stacked with from top to bottom. Even characters that appear for a scene alone add so much vibrancy to the proceedings. A good example of this would be Jude Anthany Joseph who plays a dance master.
Sai Pallavi – making her debut, she makes an impression that is simply unforgettable. Whether it is her dialogue delivery, the cute reactions, the dancing and the emotional impact later on in her arc, everything works wonderfully. You do not feel that she is a newbie as she has that magic element of Malayalam cinema, naturalism.
The camera – although Premam didn’t invent a new visual language, the way it was shot was quite different. In many ways, it felt like the camera was a character on its own. It kept shifting from one spot to another like a butterfly, an important motif of the film. The camera would be tracking one person, but we would be hearing dialogue from two people far away. Sounds simple but the effect is unique and makes the frame more lively. Credit has to be given to the decisions made by director Alphonse Puthren who infuses Premam with some visual and aural mastery.
Nivin Pauly – we travel with George David (Nivin Pauly) in three stages of his life and the difference in his personality is palpable. We buy his actions because he makes them believable be it the shy schoolboy, the rugged college boy and the world-weary entrepreneur. Each stage feels different and the aforementioned camera work amplifies that effect brilliantly. Premam simply would not have worked without Nivin’s performance and the response from the audience shows this. I would like to finish by requesting Alphonse Puthren to make more movies, the world needs to see your craft on display again.
Until next time, bye.