Cast: Naga Chaitanya, Shruti Haasan, Anupama Parameswaran, Madonna Sebastien
Director: Chandoo Mondeti
Remaking a classic like Premam (Malayalam) is risky business, but there is no fun without risk. The original script is written by Alphonso Puthren and Chandoo Mondeti has adapted it in a way to appeal to the typical Telugu film lovers. Well, Chandoo and Chaitanya were surely on the same pages of optimism while taking up the project. Movie buffs, who are still in the hangover of the original one, would find it difficult to come out of the cocoon and watch it, but like any other remake, this too requires an open mind.
Vikram (Naga Chaitanya), like any other teenager from Tadepalligudam gets into infatuation mode with Suma (Anupama Paremeswaran). The entire Suma episode is about how to woo her with letters and flowers, being frightened of her strict father, flames game, cheesy poems, cycling with friends, taking help of crush’s schoolmates and classmates. Though Chai went overboard with his actions at a few places, he managed to do justice to the adolescent boy role. The scene where Suma introduces her boyfriend and the way he gets emotional can easily remind us of our teenage breakups.
The second stage is his college life which portrays his life - a rugged look, back-bencher behaviour and his notoriety in campus. Sitara Venkateshan (Shruthi Hassan) as a half Tamil and half Marathi, young and relaxed lecturer character is established during the ragging scene. The movie gets predictable with Shruthi’s entry. Sorry to nitpick but her new lip job is distracting. Her emotions lacked the depth her character demanded. She came across as the Katrina Kaif of south films! Considering Premam is adapted from the Malayalam version, it is only natural to compare. Shruthi couldn’t charm like Sai Pallavi did. The scene where she teaches dance to Chaitu - a landmark scene in the original - was a complete letdown. She lacked rhythm. Beware, memes and trolls may flood social media soon.
Entry of Venkatesh as DCP Ramachandra (Gharshana character) managed to bring in some hoots and cheers in the hall. Until the intermission, the film was deficient of pace and profundity. The movie gets racy after the scene where he gets emotional about Shruthi’s accident. He emotes beautifully when she fails to recognise him.
The movie quickly moves from the zoned-out-heart-break phase of life to ten years later where Chaitu is a hotelier-cum-chef, more mature and sorted in life. He looked stylish in this phase. Then it was time for Sindu (Madonna Sebastian)’s entry. The way, they cutely slip into the emotional web and their friendship can bring smiles on our face. Srinivas Reddy’s humour and the way he builds the story on how finding a good girl is more important than dowry rings in laughter while sending the message clear and loud. Chaitu handled the engagement news of Madonna with composure and yet could make the audience sense the pain in his heart. Nagarjuna’s entry as his dad in the last scene too came as a surprise, though we could hear Nagarjuna’s voiceover at the beginning and the end.
Chaitanya managed to charm us along with Anupama and Madonna. Brahmaji too did justice to his role.
The music by Gopi Sunder and Rajesh Murugasen looked inspired by the original but was pretty soothing to the ears. The movie is produced by S Naga Vamshi and S Radha Krishna. Bottom line: Go with an open mind, you never know which phase might excite you.