Premam Times 2: A Second Review!

That’s allowed, right?  A second review of a movie I have already written about, just because I watched it a second time?  Although, how would you really stop me?  It is my blog, I am all powerful in this small little universe.

(if you want to read my first reaction, that review is here)

My very first reaction the first time I saw Premam was “eh”.  It was okay, I guessed, enjoyable enough, fine.  But then I couldn’t stop thinking about it over the next few days, and I ended up buying it on DVD, and writing  whole review about it.

And then a couple of days ago I watched it again, straight through, with my sister.  And it was like a whole new movie!  Partly because I was watching it with someone else, partly because I was watching it after having seen soooooooooooooo many other Malayalam films, and partly because I was just paying a little more attention this time!

That sounds bad.  Okay, I was paying attention the first time, I just didn’t know which bits would end up being important, so I wasn’t paying AS MUCH attention.  But this time I was!  And here’s what I picked up.

First, our hero is supposed to be kind of an idiot, right?  Not just young and foolish, but straight up foolish.  He goes after Mary really hard in the first half, and yet never quite manages to talk to her.  All the other boys either don’t care as much, or are better able to handle it by, like, actually talking to her.  Our hero is the only one with the perfect combination of really really caring, and being really really dumb about it.

And then in college, sure, he is cool and the leader of a gang and all that.  But he is also steadily failing his way through school, and he has to stop talking and check with his friends before he can answer a question as simple as “what did you have for dinner?”  It’s kind of a miracle she is even interested in him.

In my last review, I talked about how maybe it was a happy ending that she ended up with someone else, because he wasn’t really ready for marriage.  Watching it this time, oh man was he ever not ready for marriage!!!  Ready for a serious relationship, sure.  Ready to date and fall in love and be romantic, absolutely!  Ready to actually plan more than 2 days ahead and think through the consequences of his actions?  Nooooooooooooo!  The boy is an idiot!

When I watched Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa, I talked about the particular agony of being ready and mature and in love and wanting to be married, and being forced to wait because of circumstances.  The hero and heroine were in love, they were committed, they were at the right time in their life and the right age.  But he was working crazy hours and living with his parents or on the road, and her family would never approve, and despite their maturity and independence, they would be literally homeless if they ran off together.  The same agony was a minor plot point in Kireedam and even in Kammatipaadam.

That is not the agony here.  Nivin is a loooooooooooong way from being ready to be married.  It’s not just that he is still in school, it’s that he can’t come up with a viable plan for their future life together, or even come up with a viable plan for the school talent show.  Malar, though, she is ready.  Maybe she is enjoying their little love story at school, but she is also confident and in control, with a job, living away from home, and, I strongly suspect, NOT having her first serious relationship.  She is doing most of the directing of the relationship, and maybe she would have directed it towards marriage eventually, but it didn’t feel like anything she was in a rush for.

And then we have the third story, where Nivin is still kind of an idiot.  Sweet, but dumb.  Yes, he has his own cafe now.  Yes, it seems fairly successful and he manages it well.  But, when he sees a pretty girl, he falls in love just as fast as before.  And he bellyflops just like before.

In my last review, I talked about how the first romance was a total fantasy, he couldn’t even imagine talking to her in reality, he just wanted to gaze on her.  And then the second romance was reciprocated, it was about the two of them together in their little bubble.  But the third romance was an adult romance, no more time for fantasy and dreaming, straight to the engagement.

But he still doesn’t think it through.  Yes, it was a good instinct to ask her first before approaching her parents.  But he could have taken just a little bit longer, asked around town, and found out she was engaged already before he talked to her.  He could also have stayed and talked with her a bit after finding out instead of just impulsively storming off.

On the first watch, it felt like the reason he was still unmarried years later, even after all his friends had already made matches, was because he had that heartbreak in his past and hadn’t quite gotten over it.  On a later watch, now it just kind of feels like he was too dumb to pull it off in the intervening time.

I should clarify, when I say “dumb”, I don’t mean, like, unintelligent.  I just mean he tends to get caught up in the fantasy and not really think things through.  I also don’t think he was really meant for school, definitely seems to lack the focus and patience necessary.  But I find it believable that he is running a successful business and is a great baker.  And he is probably a pretty good friend as well.  We don’t see it, but I assume in the 6 years between Malar and Celine, he helped everyone else he knew get married and settled and was wonderfully warm and supportive.  But then a pretty girl smiles at him, and all his brains leak out his ears and his instincts fail, and it all goes wrong again.

At the very very end, there is a tossed off line by one of his friends that he knew Celine was the girl for Nivin, because the note she left for him was just as poorly written and confusing as the love notes he used to write.  The first time, I just heard it as a kind of funny line from a friend, but this time it hit me a different way.  What if Celine had the same kind of unlucky/dumb in love fate as Nivin?  What if this is a miracle for both of them?

I think it kind of works!  Go all the way back to tag at the very end, when you see Celine as a little girl chatting with Nivin, and talking about how if he doesn’t find anyone better, when she grows up, she will marry him.  What if that is Celine’s movie?  That she had a crush on the guy who liked her cousin when she was a little girl.  And years later she let her parents convince her to get married, and then bumped into the guy right when it was too late.  What if she had her own group of friends telling her to stop going for the guy she’s been dreaming about for years because she is engaged and it is stupid?  Or maybe her friends were the ones telling her to go after Nivin even harder, not just leave it all half-explained and open-ended?

I mean, look at what Celine does!  She falls in love with stupid teenage Nivin when she is a little girl.  She kind of flirts with him a little, maybe without even realizing what she is doing, even though she is engaged to someone else.  She calls him at the absolute last minute before the engagement, instead of talking to him sooner and more calmly.  And at the same time, she isn’t brave enough and quick enough to say why she is really calling, that she would rather be with him.  Even after her engagement is broken, why wait until Christmas to come by the bakery?  Why not run over immediately and tell him, and ask if he is still interested?  They really are 2 of a kind, both quick to fall in love and slow to figure out what to do about it.  That’s why she is the one he ends up with, even though she doesn’t enter the film until the very end.  Because she is the one who is most like him, the one whose life and romantic abilities are just as messed up as his.

26 thoughts on “Premam Times 2: A Second Review!

  1. What did your sister think in her first time with Premam? I agree with you that this movie seems simple on a first watch, but it sticks with you. There’s all sorts of clever little details that you catch on subsequent viewings.


      • i am really curious, do you get the humor in the movie! The reason I ask is because i read the subtitles and understand the language too, and I found the subtitles dont really convey the sentiment/accent of the dialogue really well, especially bad in case of comedies. An example i could give you is the scene in which George’s father is giving a mouth full to the Principal of the movie. The not so obvious joke is Renji Panicker is himself a director of action movies with the protagonist mouthing long monologue to the bad guy!


        • I only got maybe 50% of the humor, and I knew I was missing a lot of it. I could get the general sense of a funny scene through the body language and the tone of voice, but as you say, the details of the wording was lost on me. And references to any other films went right over my head.

          So I laughed, for instance, at the very end when the friends find out that Nivin has just had his heartbroken again and they call for a drink right away. Because the facial expressions and stuff was telling me the joke of how alarmed and urgent they were about getting alcohol into him, like it was a medical emergency.

          But if there was an additional layer to the joke based on the language choices or anything else, that went completely by me. In general, I’ve found that humor is really hard to get in translation! Even in Hindi movies, were I can kind of understand the language and I know tons about the culture and film references and all that, I still don’t find most comedies funny.

          On Thu, Mar 23, 2017 at 9:39 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



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  8. I know what you mean by not paying enough attention while watching this movie for the first time. There are so many little details in it, that it’s impossible understand everything. Like those guys beaten by George and his friends in the second act. There were their names on the screen, so I thought they are important, but not. The beard guy, Faizal was always staring at George, and I was sure he prepares a revenge or something, but he did nothing. Now I think he maybe was in love with George, or wanted to be like him, who knows? But still, why put his name on screen, if he is only one of many secondary characters? I was confused. And that wasn’t the only thing that was distracting me from the main story.

    What I loved were the girls. I have seen only few malayalam movies, but all of them had strong, independent women. Just like you wrote, they may fall in love, but it doesn’t change them, and doesn’t stop them for doing what they were doing. They are not like bollywood heroines who, at least for me are like: I’m crazy girl, I do what I want (basically this means they drink alcohol, and sleep with guys), but only till my dad get to know about it (and they hardly have a carrier or work).

    Other thing I like very much is the fact that the girls in Premam are not perfect. You can find other, better looking, but for George it’s not important. It’s so real, and I must admit, it makes me feel good about me (Ok, my hair is a mess, and my face is not perfect but still I can get a guy like Nivin ;-).

    I wish the third act lasted longer. There was no song for Celine, or nothing, and I wanted to see them doing something together before the weeding. Not just: I’ll beat your ex and then we’ll marry. Or at least let us see what Celine wrote in her letter. I needed more awwww moments in last chapter 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wanted more in the last chapter too! Although I can explain it away (and I think I did explain it this way in the post? I don’t even remember any more) as “when it’s right, it’s right”. All the other romances were so drawn out and painful because they weren’t the right girls, this time it was quick and easy because it was the right girl. But still, more awwww would be nice!

      The women were so amazing! Especially in this kind of a film, where it would be so easy to just make them tools to help Nivin on his journey. But instead we saw how they affected his life, but we also got a real sense that they had lives of their own, they were about more than just being there to change him. If that makes sense?


      • Angie, I still love the Malayalam original best, but the Telugu remake of Premam did address the the abrupt third romance, which I also had issue with. The third girl gets a song, too. They used the same actress for the first young romance, but the second actress in the Telugu cannot match Sai Pallavi at all. Shruti Hasan is just not her equal in any way. Some things were better in the Malayalam, but giving full weight to the final romance left me more satisfied about that part in the Telugu:

        Liked by 1 person

        • I watched telugu trailer earlier today, and when I realized that Shruti Hassan is Manar, I said: No it’s not gonna work. She is too pretty.
          I read your review Moviemavengal, and I’m happy to see that telugu version in the second chapter included a scene with cake. One thing I didn’t like in malayalam version was, that George in every chapter seemed other person. First, shy, nice boy, then al of a sudden he becomes bad boy of the campus, and in the end he is a quiet confectioner. Hasn’t he studied computers of something? I didn’t heard a word about cake , and now he is owner of a cafe.

          Liked by 1 person

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