Premam narrates the love affairs of George David from his pre-degree days, portraying the varying grip of a man over love and life.
Boys and invariably men just relish the labour of love - the pain it takes to woo a girl, her first glance which would send his pulse shooting like a meteor, her illusory smile that would freeze him as though in a photo frame. Perhaps the most wonderful trait of love is its inexhaustibility. One never gets tired of it, no matter how devastating the side effects. Alphonse Putharen weaves his new film 'Premam' mostly around the spontaneity of love, its freshness, the split second that shatters the vows hardened over years and sometimes its triviality, the aspect that enables someone to let go and move on.
Nivin Pauly plays George David who courses along love as he grows up from a teenager to a man. He is assigned a special task these days - to elevate the perception of what is usually considered harmless but a lowly manner of drooling over girls. People look down upon such shameless Romeos who do nothing but follow the trail of the girl they love. Nivin has managed to dilute the ignominy with sugary innocence in such a way that Romeos do not evoke mean contempt but good hearted laughter.
Premam never attempts anything profound, but gradually shows the varying grip of a man over love and life. As a teenager, George is nervous, scared, unsure of his love, dabbling in vague ideas to present himself before the girl he loves. The absent-minded teen even messes up his first love letter likening her lover to sardine fry just because he lost his attention while composing the letter as his mother had asked which fish he wanted for lunch.
When he later finds love as a youth, he is assured - not afraid to tell his teacher that she is beautiful and adding that he was not drunk as he said it. The professed wisdom that comes with age makes him keener, eager for love, but also more sensible and he delivers it with a mature heart.
Nivin progresses along these transitions beautifully, switching from goofy impulses to heartfelt musings, from an ever-smiling, bright-faced teenager to a bearded youth with glaring eyes and eventually a baker with a burning temper. Alphonse adorns his narrative with a spread of cute, lovely humour. The lover confuses letters in Malayalam script to write the word 'orange' in his love letter and finally gives up. A rich, college boy pleads to return the logo of his Mercedes car which he finds missing and a waiter cleaning the floor unabashedly guides a girl to his shop warning her of water at every step.
Sai Pallavi, who plays the guest lecturer Malar, threatens to steal the show. She portrays a young lecturer tentatively seizing upon love for her student, conveying missives through her eyes that move like a ballerina. The supporting cast is flawless, be it Vinay who comes as a fumbling, finicky, love-stricken lecturer or Krishna and Shabareesh who play George's friends. Anand's frames soothe the eyes, mixing tonalities well and giving a slight jerkiness to initial scenes that go well with the shaky nature of a teenager.
Alphonse can be forgiven for the flimsy conclusions he makes on certain episodes of love because he does it with the knack of a magician, giving hardly any time to think it over. This is a movie with a high likeability quotient because it unearths the beauty in trifles.