Premalu Movie Review: Girish AD's Premalu is a familiar story with a fresh, quirky touch

Girish A.D
A familiar story can look fresh when you add the right ingredients and enrich it with details that a lesser filmmaker wouldn't have even imagined
Premalu Movie Review

Premalu Movie Cast & Crew

Cast : Mamitha Baiju,
Production : Bhavana Studios
Director : Girish A.D
Music Director : Vishnu Vijay

Girish AD's Premalu is a 'literally me' movie. It will be hard to find a guy, especially from India, who hasn't experienced the same emotions as the film's protagonist Sachin (Naslen). There will be many hands pointing towards the screen, like Leonardo DiCaprio in that scene from Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and say, "Dude, I know exactly how you feel!"

In pursuing love, would he end up as the good or bad guy in another character's life? Premalu is a quest to find that answer. Is he or someone else the hero of the woman Reenu (Mamitha Baiju) he desperately yearns for? Does she believe in love or marriage at all? In the film's early segments, she tells her friends she wants someone older and well-settled. There is one who fits that description, Aadhi (Shyam Mohan), but he turns out to be... super annoying, and Shyam rises to the challenge. He is that pseudo-toxic, self-proclaimed "feminist". But it's firmly established that it would be a tough competition between Sachin and Aadhi to get Reenu. Will she choose one of them or nobody at all?

With Thanneer Mathan Dinangal and Super Sharanya, writer-director Girish AD proved that when it comes to understanding the pulse of today's youngsters, he has no equal. Girish moves away from schools and colleges to focus on working youngsters, some insecure and seeking love this time. As in his previous work, Premalu doesn't have anything novel to offer by way of a 'story' -- and I mean this in a good way because in the hands of someone like Girish, a familiar story can look fresh when you add the right ingredients and enrich it with details that a lesser filmmaker wouldn't have even imagined.

Girish and his co-writer Kiran Josey (check out his sweet short films Anurag Engineering Works and Bineeshettan Roommate) populate the world of Sachin, his best friend Amal (Sangeeth Prathap), Reenu and her friends (played by Akhila Bhargavan and Meenakshi Raveendran) with some of the most mundane conversations and little quirks that we sometimes associate with ourselves or our friends and make it immensely enjoyable. Can we imagine a movie about our own lives this way? Not like Girish, I believe.

Despite running a little over 140 minutes, I couldn't find a single boring minute in it (credits to editor Akash Joseph Varghese). Premalu is to Girish AD what Hridayam is to Vineeth Srinivasan. Or if we were to pull examples from the 80s and 90s, Premalu recalls some of the warmth generated by films like Mazha Peyyunnu Madhalam Kottunnu or Godfather. Take the Naslen-Sangeeth bond, for example. One can't help but think of the Mukesh-Maniyanpillai Raju partnership in the early Priyadarshan movies. And what about the Sachin-Aadhi rivalry? Does it recall Mohanlal-Sreenivasan in Mazha Peyunnu Madhalam Kottunnu?

Premalu also boasts Vishnu Vijay's best work; none of the songs felt unnecessary; the beats remain in perfect sync with the vibes of whatever we see on screen. Ajmal Sabu's vibrant camera work doesn't lose its focus on the characters whilst also treating us with some pleasant imagery. It's necessary to spend enough time with the characters for us to feel anything about them or root for them, and Premalu is a film that understands the assignment.

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