Premalu Movie Review: I believe that the supremely talented Naslen is attempting to occupy the same space Nivin Pauly had to vacate because, in Roger Murtaugh's words, he's 'getting too old for the shit'. This space being, frothy, comic youth-centric romcoms. His new release, Premalu, follows a similar plot to the film that catapulted Nivin into youth stardom, Thattatinu Marayathu. You know, a boy falling in love at first sight with a girl deemed unattainable, and after persistent efforts and many jokes, he wears her down to win her over. If religion and a controlling uncle were dividing factors in Thattatinu Marayathu, in Premalu, it's the boy's lack of ambitions. Premalu Trailer: Naslen's Sachin Gets Friendzoned by Mamitha Baiju's Reenu in Girish AD's Upcoming Rom-Com.
Premalu revolves around Sachin (Naslen) and Reenu (Mamitha Baiju). Sachin is a graduate waiting to go to the UK, but his visa gets rejected for lack of funds. His friend, Amal Davis (Sangeeth Prathap), suggests going to Hyderabad for GATE coaching. Reenu, an IT developer, joins a company in Hyderabad, where she catches the eye of a senior developer, Aadhi (Shyam Mohan). At their common friends' wedding, Sachin meets Reenu, instantly falling for her. They click well, and he is determined to pursue her despite being told she prefers someone with the opposite qualities, someone like Aadhi. However, this doesn't deter Reenu from enjoying his company.
Watch the Trailer of Premalu:
Laughter's Best Medicine...
Premalu is directed by Girish AD, who made an enjoyable debut with Thaneermathandinangal, a breezy romcom that made breakout stars out its main leads, Matthew Thomas and Anaswara Rajan. Naslen had a supporting role in the film. Naslen and Mamitha Baiju had supporting roles in the director's next, Super Sharanya, which, while entertaining and frothy, lacked the mettle of Thaneermathandinangal.
So, on a scale of Thaneermathandinangal to Super Sharanya, where does Premalu fit in? I believe, on the same level as Super Sharanya, unfortunately. The film starts off great, showing Sachin's troubles with landing both a girl (with a sly dig on Hridayam) and a UK visa. It maintains the tempo with Reenu's introduction and her induction into her company, leading to some light-hearted moments with colleagues Aadi, her bestie Karthika (Akhila Bhargavan), and even her snarky Mallu teammate Subin (Shameer Khan).
Nivin and Aju 2.0
On the other hand, the portions involving Sachin and Amal bring the house down with their incredible bromance and bonhomie, bouncing wisecracks off each other. The scenes at the wedding house, where Sachin meets and falls for Reenu while making an instant enemy out of Aadhi, are hilarious, particularly the friends' reactions to Aadhi and Reenu's 'Devaragam 2.0' performance. #Home Movie Review: Indrans, Sreenath Bhasi Impress in a Feel-Good Family Drama With Poignant Moments.
However, from this point onward, while Premalu continues to drop jokes here and there, I couldn't ignore the feeling that the movie is cruising without a proper GPS. I could feel the resultant lag of this directionless journey. Or perhaps there is a destination in sight. Still, the director is in no hurry to reach there, padding up the runtime with scenes that heavily depend on Naslen-Sangeeth's camaraderie in the first half or Naslen-Mamitha's chemistry in the second half but lacks a distinct personality, otherwise relying on tired tropes and twists.
There is no denying that the two main leads make for a handsome onscreen pair, and you would instantly root for these two to end up together. However, Premalu needs more than humour and chemistry to make their love story feel concrete. I liked the scene where Sachin casually proposes to Reenu, and she nonchalantly reacts without any need for drama, which, in fact, makes him quite the drama queen. However, from this point on, Premalu takes some very predictable and even imperfect turns.
Slight SPOILERS ahead - I understand Reenu's hesitancy in acting on her feelings towards Sachin, but was there any need to send her on a guilt trip? Wearing down a girl to accept her love for a boy has been a tired and overused (and problematic) convention, and I wish Premalu took a more progressive approach to this track.
Premalu also takes some huge liberties with certain plot developments, such as how Sachin came up with the money for a UK visa, considering he isn't exactly a saver and his family isn't well-off.
If You Make Aadhi Into an 'Aadipurush' Joke, What to Expect?
Then there's how the film treats Aadhi's track. I get that this man is annoying and unstable, but why make even the scenes involving him irksome? Considering Girish had used a similar character in Thaneermathandinangal, played by Vineeth Sreenivasan, and made him captivating to the very end.
Aadhi's character felt more like a caricature and a missed opportunity to make the love story more complex. Nothing against the actor Shyam Mohan; he was quite good in the role. There is a confrontation between him and Sachin-Amal at a party that is quite funny, but the car chase in the climax is just humdrum. Also, is it just me, or did the finale remind anyone of Mujhe Kucch Kehna Hai?
Wasted Mathew Thomas
There are a couple of other characters in the film that I felt could have been explored more or just excluded. Reenu and Karthika's third roommate, a hippie played by Tholvi FC's breakout star Meenakshi Raveendran, was quite a quirky character but doesn't get much space to be memorable.
Naslen's usual partner-in-crime, Mathew Thomas, appears only for two scenes, but the cameo was neither necessary nor impactful; the film could have worked without his inclusion. Christy Movie Review: Malavika Mohanan-Mathew Thomas’ Half-Baked Love Story Fails to Differentiate Between Harmless Infatuation and Toxic Stupidity.
Naslen, Mamitha and Sangeeth Excel
Speaking of the main performances, Naslen is too good as the youngster figuring out life and love in a new city; his antics and expressions consistently draw a smile even when the film struggles.
Mamitha Baiju is charming as hell and exudes plenty of confidence as a sprightly Reenu, but her character is mostly defined later through the attentions of the two men in her life. The one professional problem that she faces is dealt with offscreen and told off later as an offhand jibe. Sangeeth is hilarious, being the Aju Varghese to Naslen's Nivin Pauly here.
Final Thoughts on Premalu
Despite the undeniable effervescence of the leads, Premalu falls short of being the memorable romcom that Thaneermathandinangal was. The film works to some extent thanks to some delightful banter and cute moments in the one-sided romance. However, as the narrative meanders in the second half, it becomes evident that Premalu, like its male lead, grapples with a directional crisis that it never could recover from.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Feb 09, 2024 11:21 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).