Movie Review: Premam (2016)
Cast: Naga Chaitanya Akkineni, Shruti Haasan, Anupama Parameswaran, Madonna Sebastian, Harsha, Daggubati Venkatesh, Nagarjuna, Srinivasa Reddy, Prudhvi Raj and Avantika Vandanapu.
Directed by Chandoo Mondeti
Music Composed by Gopi Sunder & Rajesh Murugesan
Story by Alphonse Putharen
Produced on Sitara Entertainments
Edited by Kotagiri Venkateswara Rao
Cinematography by Karthik Ghattamaneni
Censor Certificate: UA & Runtime: 158 Minutes
A true artist would never look at Vendatam Raghavayya’s Devdas (1953) and think, you know what? I think I can improve on that. No writer would try to take another stab at Gundammakatha (1963). And yet, Tollywood seems hell bent on churning out one movie remake after another. They’re not movies. They’re refried and over fried beans.
Okay, so the Drushyam remake was fine. We liked Gopala Gopala. There have been few exceptions. Still, we can’t resist shaking our fist in protest everytime we read that Premam is getting remade, or that Shruti Haasan is playing Sai Pallavi’s role in the new remake. Let’s check out the review for more details.
Similar to 2015 Original, The film is all about the life of a person who’s been through three stages of love (like three stages of butterfly, birth-pupa stage & butterfly). The film follows three stages of love life George (as a boy, man & gentleman). The beauty of the film lies with its premam-ful soul, everyone can relate with atleast one of the three love stories (Innocent love with Mary, the Silent one with Malar & Matured one with Celine).
Naga Chaitanya Akkineni did a fine job with his controlled acting. He showcased why he is more capable of delivering a three dimensional performance, even if the demands of the script seem to force his performance to something slightly hammy towards the end. The ladies didn’t have much to do other than to look pretty and smile, best being Anupama Parmeswaran. Sai Pallavi was an iconic in her debut because she was able to bring the rawness and innocence to a true believer character like Malar. Here the same kind of Innocence or Rawness was missing even though Shruti by now should have been a seasoned campaigner, she neither has a competent acting skills nor she tries to improve. Even in the song Hey Machi the Rcokaankuthu feel went missing. Being a dancer herself, she seemed to develop two left feet for the song. Attarintiki Daredi fame Narra Srinu as Mava was a terrible choice for the character. Plus it was also much painful to watch a renowned actor Nagarjuna acting in such visionless venture seriously. Bhramaji once again delivers a polished but a routine performance of a PT Master and Prudhvi could have been used in a better way. Praveen, Harsha, Noel, Srinivas Reddy and Chaitanya Krishna have nothing much to do playing Vikram’s friends.
As a popular film critic once said, “What’s the point of a Telugu remake? Firstly a director wants to recreate the success of the original or Wants to better it so that it gets the due it never did or because he wants to remind the audience its forgotten virtues.
But after watching Chandoo Mondeti’s remake of Alphonse’s 2015 genX classic, I have to come up with a few more alternatives, which certainly apply to Premam Telugu remake – Tollywood is lazy, out of ideas and over cocky. So while film makers have no scruples about riving or remaking verified commercial hits, they cannot resist this urge to improvise or show their true caliber in the process. Recently, Anil Kumar came out with Run, another remake of Alphonse’s film Neram, where the source is unapologetically prosy and so it’s hard surprising if its reproduction is even tawdrier. Moreover, its exaggerated tone resonates with commercial sensibilities.
Chandoo has no excuse. Alphonse’s film is a master class in feel good writing, the manner in which he seamlessly combines 3 stages in one’s life with romance while noticing the minute but colourful details that add zing to love stories and feel good narrative. His artistry lies in making all those extensive inputs appear so deceptively slice of one’s life. When a director has access to this much imagination, he ought to show a lot more responsibility than Chandoo Modeti does. Loud in sight, sound and sensibilities in scenes, this Premam clobbering is an assault to the original with its line up of tawdry aesthetics, actors hamming to the hilt in casuals and grisly, GHASTLY writing.
The silliness begins from the word go. When you see a movie like Premam, the first impression you get is about the characters and the totality of the film compelled by the feel of the story and engrossing act of the cast and the crew. In the remake let me get into the points where original has been butchered ruthlessly. 1. Innocent love story of the George and Mary had a very adolescent and fresh love feel to it. Where we can connect with our crushes during the age the way it was portrayed on screen. But Vikram – Suma doesn’t bring that innocence into the fore rather than they look like a weird imagination of a careless writer. 2. Cute and half matured love story between Malar – George was more about Geroge confronting his demons with help of Malar in his life. Here love-sick-puppy forgets about being in love or enjoying his love, but looks to be in a hurry to get into the sack with her. Writer tries to build it up after a point as a pure love story but rather ends being a hoax. 3. Celiene comes into George’s life when he has given up love in life that transition of the character was captured very efficiently in the original. On the contrary here the director and writer seem to be in hurry to project it as a “happily ever after” ending.
The façade of emotions continue as the director feels need to induce actor’s famous dad’s movie songs into the background score glorifying the outside image of the actor but someone should tell him Premam works because you see George as a character and connect to him on a personal level. Here he butchers that connection for filmsy petty issues of box office. Cinematography by Karthik was competent to the original. Editing by Kotagiri Venkateshwara Rao tries to pace it up with out letting us feel for the character.
Writing abilities in our Telugu remakes have been dipping down further and further with each and every remake. Understanding the sensibilities of the story and then adapting them to our nativity seems to be an alien art for our budding young writers. From an Industry, that gave Sagara Sangamam, Swathi Muthyam and Swathi Kiranam, if a writer is unable to take inspiration from these classics in writing about friendship, matured love stories, what quality should we expect down the line with these films being referred as successful movies. A Telugu writer can take inspiration from the above mentioned classics and develop Premam even further or even better it from original. On the whole, A lazy ass effort by the writer and film maker involved.
Survi Review: 1.5/5