Director: Elan; Cast: Harish Kalyan, Raiza Wilson, Rekha, Anand Babu; Rating: 3.5/5
In a sense, almost all Indian films can be considered to be musicals. But films like Duet, Neethane En Ponvasantham and Meyaadha Maan (which was even promoted as Royapurathu La La Land) come closer to the definition of a musical, given the sheer volume of songs that are also interwoven into the story. The latest to join this list is the Harish Kalyan and Raiza Wilson-starrer Pyaar Prema Kaadhal, which also marks the production debut of Yuvan Shankar Raja.
While the title gives away what this film is about, the use of words from different languages to mean the same thing is mirrored in the leads, who despite being in the same relationship, are totally different from each other. Sree (played by an exuberant Harish Kalyan) is the quintessential middle-class guy without any major dreams, for whom the epitome of romance is Jack-Rose relationship from Titanic. His is a modest family with a mother who worries about his marriage and a father, proud of his heart-shaped dosa-making skills. He has one best friend at work, who is more of a sidekick; has a godfather-like associate, the go-to-man for troubleshooting; borrows a coat from a neighbour, whom he only knows and calls as ‘ivane’; doesn’t wash his bike in ages; and doesn’t understand the difference between love and lust.
And poles apart from all this is Sindhuja (Raiza Wilson), a modern, well-bred, unapologetic woman, who puts her dream in front of everything else. Debutant director Elan plays with these contrasts in various scenes. For example, in one scene, Raiza eats a store-bought burger, while Harish sticks to his homemade sambar rice in Tupperware. Elan easily strikes a chord with the youth with such scenes. Be it the intimate scenes or the ones where other directors would have resorted to misogynistic dialogues or even a bar song, Elan deals with them all while sidestepping conventional issues.
Unsurprisingly, when the protagonists’ worlds collide, in addition to falling in love, they’re also appalled by the other’s way of perceiving life. Similar to Neethane En Ponvasantham, PPK is also about the conflicts a couple have in a relationship. But this film has sequences that make it more relatable — like one person sending a long sms only to get a ‘k’ as response.
It also comes as a pleasant surprise that the supporting characters, too, get their time in the spotlight. The casting is quite effective, with Anand Babu, Munishkanth, Pandian and the office mate, Sathish, in particular, standing out. Anand Babu’s role as the rich single father of the female lead is an extension of Sathyaraj’s character in Raja Rani. His dance moves and performance in emotional scenes are sure to remind you of his father, the legendary Nagesh. Incidentally, Pandian, who played Jai’s father in Raja Rani, plays Harish’s father in this film, and he nails it as the average father who says “love laam namba kudumbathuku othu varaadhupa.”
As for the leads, Harish fits the shoes of an average Joe perfectly. The way he carries off the boy-next-door persona is commendable. Raiza, though she looks the part, struggles when it comes to emotional scenes and close-ups. On the technical front, the cinematography and costumes department warrant mentioning. But it’s producer Yuvan who is the real hero of the film in his role as music director. He steals the show with his songs as well as the background score. Out of the dozen tracks in the album, most of which have gone viral, High On Love is easily the best. Right from cartoonish little tracks to denote the teeny, amusing mistakes made by the leads to affecting sentimental notes at key moments, Yuvan scores, and helps make PPK a gratifying musical.