Premam (Malayalam movie) has been one of the wholesome entertainers of the year. Though the usual commercial masala elements with some cliched sequences still Premam had an irresistible run at the box office. Post the success of the 70’s blockbuster Sholay someone asked Sippy the secret behind the success of Sholay. He answered movies like Sholay are not made to succeed they just happen. The same analogy could be applied to Premam as well. In this week’s Friday Fundas I wanted to explore some of the facets that made Premam entertaining.
The most appealing element of the movie was about memories. Atleast more than one sequence in Premam would have appealed to you and brought back the memories of your past hidden deep inside your heart. It had some similarities to the movie Autograph by director Cheran. However, Premam was more on a lighter note. The movie is arranged in three phases school life, college life and life beyond college. During the first phase of the movie, more of Macro shots had been used. The movie starts with the shot of a small wall beside the garden which is seen in a typical middle-class household in Kerala. Such type of shots has been used throughout this phase like the jars of the tea shop, close up of the juice in a glass and so on. These shots help in touching one of the five senses in you as I had talked about in Recipe for movies to connect with Audience. The entire gang hanging around in the tea shop, stalking girls, using landline phone to call friends bring back some of the good old memories.
Nivin Pauly’s character George is the pivotal character in the movie. The character arc of Nivin Pauly is done very well across the three phases. A clean shaven look without mustache during the school days, a fully grown beard with a black shirt and white dhoti during the college days and clean shaven with a neatly trimmed mustache look post the college phase brings in a good amount of variation. The innocence in the character during the first scene transitions to a rough and tough look and then transitions to a calm composed look. Nivin Pauly’s body language to depict these transitions is one of the strengths of the movie.
The casting for the heroines has been a big plus. Featuring new actresses who are not from mainstream cinema has worked wonders in connecting with the audience very well. If anyone is planning on a Premam remake, use new faces rather than resorting to actresses who are already well established. This plays a very effective role in connecting with the audience well. A girl next door image helps the audience in associating with the lead character.
The songs were not added just for the sake of adding songs. Although one could argue it had commercial intentions, I felt the songs were cleverly woven into the story giving a musical tone for the film. The songs were also very pleasing and merged with the tone of the movie.
The movie had well-written humour which worked well. The absence of emotional melodrama is a big plus for the movie.
The above are some of the points that worked well with movies. Overall if the script connects with the audience irrespective of it being a commercial entertainer or an off beat film it will succeed.
A gruesome villain who has been torturing people all throughout changes his mind and seeks apology just before the curtain falls. Well this might be a scene that you might have seen in many movies. Few of them would have been convincing and few other leave you wondering what changed his mind. Well the various phases a character traverses through in a movie is called a Character Arc. In this week’s Friday Fundas we will understand Character Arc.
In the movie “As good as it gets” the character played by Jack Nicholson is that of a man with obsessive compulsion disorder. As the movie traverses his character undergoes modification and reaches a point where he would have to overcome his fear to get the love of his life. In the early scenes of the movie you see him walking on the platform without placing foot on the joining lines of the tile and in the climax scene you see him walking normally with his girlfriend. The Character Arc of the character traverses from a man deeply troubled with OCD symptoms to a changed man who overcomes his inhibitions. There are various points in the narrative which consists of incidents or turning points that impacts the nature of the character. How well these incidents are placed and convincing would also convince the audience about the transformation to the character and also makes them glued to the character.
Usually in a three act structure the character is established in the first act. The second act is divided into two parts. In the first part the villain or the situation that the hero is averse of chases to such an extent that the hero reaches a breaking point and starts changing. Now in the second part the hero chases the villain or the adverse situation. The plot deepens, gets complicated and reaches a point which seems to be a point of no return. At this juncture at the beginning of the last act the hero makes decision which transforms the character into a new self.
Let us look at this with the help of an example. In the Tamil movie Shivaji the lead character played by Rajinikanth is a computer architect who returns to India for good. He wants to bring in positive change to the society by offering low cost education. However he is pushed down to the streets by the villain. In the mid-point which is the breaking point he tosses a coin to decide if he would have to fight against the situation or not. This is the first transformation of the character. In the second half he fights against the villain and reaches a point where his life is threatened. In the last act he comes in a new avatar and takes over the villain to establish truce.
A Character Arc can be either positive or negative. In the case of Shivaji the arc was positive as it resulted in the character emerging victorious at the end. In the case of Tamil movie Nanda the character dies at the end there by going through a negative arc.
Whichever way the character arc goes the transformation of the character should be in line with the events for it to be convincing. If not audience would be disconnected from the character.
Now if you can think of some of the characters you remember well in the movies you have watched you would notice that their character arc has been very well done.