Dear Nivin Pauly
I have an imaginary Malayalee friend. He imagines he is Malayalee, but he is also, in fact, imaginary. Apart from passing up no opportunity to make “coke-cock” jokes and lamenting the declining authenticity of Kerala cuisine adaptations (including stuff he makes himself), he has done little else. First, he failed me on Dulquer Salmaan, and then on Nivin Pauly. So, this friend is a “dharti pe bojh”, loosely translated as “a waste of gravity.”
I did not get the Nivin Pauly memo or see the t-shirts. Some of your movies are blowing it out of the water. They have unthinkably futuristic elements – a script (!), living-breathing main leads, well-defined characters other than the central acts, nuance and an effective level of unpredictability.
Premam is for the everyday
I see women depicted as tea-drinking, impromptu-dancing, track-pants wearing, sometimes grimacing, often meandering, but never-porcelain characters. I see men doing their goofy and grown-up thing, being epiphanic and egg-headed as life’s prescription is. Premam, prima facie, looks like any of the prosaic “love stories” where an extremely good looking man goes through a sliding door of love interests, only to end up with Deepika Padukone or the closest match. No siree, though. Premam is, first of all, not a labels movie. It is at once a buddy movie, resplendent with nods to the force our friends are, often taking in all the shards of a broken heart. It is a nimble movie about love’s rite of passage. That it will only come to us when it has to, when we least expect it. Every person’s story.
I almost expected to see cathartic breakdowns, melodramatic paeans to the grieving heart, a lot of literal face-palming, and shade-throwing by family and friends. I did n’t. What I saw instead were lilted men and women, being funny, hopeful, disillusioned, spontaneous and restive, through more directorial and storytelling prestidigitation than I have seen in a long time.
Good and good hair days
There is a product description for good looks, and it differs from household to household. In Bangalore Days, you were the pastoral-loving, guileless brother whose to-do list did not include “be that hot guy in this movie”. However, that was irrelevant – the turns your seemingly stereotypical character took made it winning. Again, no thundering, chest thumping and million glares were involved. Having said that. Having said that. You score in the looks department, and bonus points for the facial hair. The reigning kind of beard, Idris Alba called, and he said, “Smooth. Bro. Smooth.”
Also, Hey Jude?
You are making a movie called “Hey Jude”. Named after one of The Beatles’ more complex and experimental beauties, it is said to have been written by Paul McCartney to cheer up John Lennon’s five-year old son, when his parents were divorcing (aching heart anyone?).
When you tweet describing this movie as “a wonderful tale of love, self-discovery, healing and transformation”, you already win. It’s a tweet that is a microcosm of all the movies you have been making. The hot mess our lives are, told to us, by handsome men in beards and women who could n’t be bothered by their mascara game. Bring it on. All of it. We want to walk away with our faith confirmed in real people, their imperfections, their lessons, sparkling comic moments and their courage.
Hey Jude Jude