Cast: Chemban Vinod Jose, Balu Varghese, Vishnu Govindan, Anumol
Direction: Jiju Asokan
Rating: 3/5 stars
A man lying in a hospital bed exchanges a glance with a married woman who is tending to her sick father on the opposite bed. The woman enquires about this man. Apparently he tried to kill himself, but he doesn't seem like the type.
A few days later, the woman returns his glances. The man seems to have some kind of mysterious superpower. We later learn her husband is working abroad. Obviously she is suffering from a lack of romance, and she has found the antidote in the form of this man.
Somewhere else, a teenager laments about his love failure to an older man. The latter suggests something: meet a man, supposedly a love guru, called simply VKP. He can solve his problem. While they wait for VKP to arrive, the film flashes back many years to give us a glimpse into VKP's (Chemban Vinod Jose) interesting past.
VKP (its full form is revealed in the third act) is seen as something of a legend. Not much is known of him other than the fact that he possesses the unparalleled ability to make women go weak in their knees. They say that he has been in town only a month and at least two women are already in love with him. Oh, and these women are married, just like the woman we met in the opening scene.
Also, there is another teenager, Prakashan (Balu Varghese), who is unable to profess his love for a girl, Ammukutty (Lijomol Jose) whom he has been obsessed with since the fifth grade. He is introduced to VKP, who gives him one love lesson after another which, by the way, shouldn't be tried at home.
Yes, they're that ridiculous. They even attempt black magic. But these are naive boys who are not armed with smartphones or Google. We're talking about the time of Prem Nazir and Jayan. They are going to fall, a lot of times, until they've learnt some tough life lessons. They try everything VKP tells them to do, and fails repeatedly. Years pass, the kids are now in high school, and Prakashan still hasn't managed to make Ammukutty fall in love with him.
Oh, and before I forget, there is a psycho classmate Suku (a superb Vishnu Govind) who likes harming animals and can't stand the fact that he has to compete with Prakashan for Ammu's affections. Suku becomes a perilous threat not just to Prakashan, but VKP as well. Expect an intense but lazily choreographed and edited struggle in the finale.
I'm in awe of filmmakers who take a 90-min story and stretch it close to three hours. The premise of Premasoothram is wafer-thin but it's not exactly what I call a "bad" film; just needlessly stretched. There are times when the film tested my patience.
I asked whether a story like this needed to be this long. I imagine there is a better film lying in there somewhere if you chop off around 45 minutes. And I'm not sure some of the film's messages are healthy. Does a girl have an obligation to fall in love with a guy just because he has been "worshipping" her for so many years?
What saves the film from becoming a complete disaster, however, is its mostly solid cast, intriguing screenplay and mellifluous music (occasionally you hear the radio playing the golden oldies).
The film survives on the strength of a bunch of talented performers led by the versatile Chemban Vinod Jose, who can make even a dull film look interesting by his mere presence. Fortunately, he is present for 90% of the runtime. All the three main leads - Balu Varghese, Chemban Vinod Jose and Vishnu Govind -- play their parts with conviction.
And all three have very expressive eyes which they use to their advantage. I don't think Premasoothram would've been half as interesting with a much different cast.