Premam: Setting Trends and Sparking Debates
May 29, 2015 saw a major milestone being created in the history of modern Malayalam cinema – the release of the movie Premam. The film not only created a new fashion trend among youth, but also broke several box office records.
Now it is generating all sorts of controversies too, even the tragic death of the CET student is being attributed the film’s influence. T P Senkumar, Director General of Police, Kerala, after the incident, expressed strong opinions on “new generation” movies, on how they are anti-women, promote alcohol and drugs, and are responsible for most of the problems in campuses across Kerala.
Written and directed by Alphonse Puthren and produced by Anwar Rasheed, Premam collected over 60 crore in box office and has become the second highest grossing Malayalam film ever, topped only by Drishyam. It collected 20 crore within two weeks and 30 crore in 25 days, a record in Malayalam cine industry. There was also an amazing 90 to 100% occupancy in theatres even on the third week. Needless to say, Premam is so far one of the most successful and profitable Malayalam films to be made.
The plot of Premam revolves around the love life of George, played by Nivin Pauly. The film covers his first love Mary as a teenager, his college love Malar and later Celine whom he marries. The plot develops into various stages of the hero’s life showing different elements such as friendship, teenage love, fights on college campus and heroism, smoking and drinking, dancing, college love, heartbreaks, marriage and much more. All these life elements are mixed in humour and told as a romantic and fun story.
Debates on Morality
Apart from the problem of piracy, Premam led to various debates on morality between critics, filmmakers and the audience on various media platforms. The scenes with heavy smoking and drinking, fighting, the hero singing for his love inside a church, him falling in love thrice one being his teacher; all these evoked different reactions from different people.
The substance abuse and fighting scenes depicted quite glamorously came in for a lot of criticism with arguments that it will lead our youth astray. The song filmed inside the church has also been questioned by some claiming that they are disrespectful towards the religion. Another common point of contention against the film is that while it is titled Premam, the film is not really about love at all because the hero moves from one relationship to another and even falls in love with his teacher. It is argued that the film is a mixture of glorified bad things which can mislead the society, especially the youth into accepting and following them.
On the other hand, fans of the movie, and it has quite a lot of them, see it all as pure entertainment. For them, the antics of the hero in love, the camaraderie between friends, the spirit and fun of a campus life, the harsh realities of heartbreak, the growing up phase, marriage; all these are beautifully portrayed in the film using simple and novel scenes.
Furthermore, the allegations that the movie projects a corrupt concept of love, misguides youth and insults religious feelings are all nothing but moral policing by extremists. After all it is entirely up to an individual how to live his/her life though certain factors can be of influence. They unambiguously state that Premam is a well-crafted ultimate entertainer.