Long before Priya Prakash Varrier became the national crush of India, before Jimikki Kammal became an international hit, there was a song Malayali's went (coco)nuts over. It was the first track of Poomaram's 'Njanum Njanumentalum', released in November 2016. The song became viral on social media giving Kalidas Jayaram the best reintroduction into Malayalam. Even though the film's release was postponed many times, its grip over the audience never loosened, thanks to trolls and memes that kept the film live.
Co-produced and directed by the '1983' and 'Action Hero Biju' director Abrid Shine, Poomaram marks the return of Kalidas Jayaram to the Malayalam film industry after almost 15 years. Touted to be a campus drama, it has been co-produced by Paul Varghese under the banner Dr. Paul's Entertainment and has Kunchacko Boban, Joju George and Meera Jasmine in cameo roles.
The plot of the movie is very much simple, delving into the story of colleges competing for the first position in the Mahatma Gandhi University Youth Festival. Wrapped in this, it also tries to send the message Gautama Buddha preached, which we will come to later.
To be frank, the movie is a very good documentation of the Youth Festival showing almost all sides of it. Anyone who has ever participated, organized or even spent some time in the festive atmosphere will connect instantly with the movie and cherish the nostalgia. But, will the large portion of the audience who have no such memories embrace the film? The answer to this question will decide the future of Poomaram.
Poems, mimes, mimicry, various dance forms, friendship, team spirit, love, crush, art... Poomaram is rich in many aspects, but there are a number of places where it could have improved
1. The relation between the lead character Gautham (Kalidas) and his father is a bit 'too formal' that their conversations seem more like between a professor and his favourite student, and not even anywhere near a father who is a professor and his son.
2. The climax. Even though towards the end, the screenplay gets inclined towards forcing the theme onto the audience, how everyone in the film suddenly conceives the theme without any explanation, remains a mystery.
Abrid Shine has succeeded in taking a very wafer-thin subject and creating it into a decent film with his neatly written screenplay. A high dose of intellect does not make it everyone's cup of tea. But the usage of real-life personas to play some characters appears very artificial as they are not natural actors. If the director had not tried to include the deep subject of 'peace' into this campus film that was more about the youth and their youth festival, it would have turned out to be a warm and different entertainer.
Moving on to the cinematography, the frames set by Gnanam have a beauty in themselves. As the film has a special space for music, the camera should also be at its best for the audience to step into the right emotions. Gnanam has succeeded in connecting with the audience and conveying the intended matter in a decent way.
Kalidas Jayaram is an actor who won the National Award for Best Child Artist for his performance in the film 'Ente Veedu Appuvinteyum' in 2003. But Poomaram doesn't have any twists or dramatic sequences that require him to perform out of his skin. It requires him to put up a neat performance and the young actor has done justice to the role. A big chunk of the cast are newcomers and they have succeeded in doing a good job.
The film has nine music directors who compete with each other in providing a special Malayali essence in all its tracks especially the 'Poomaram' number composed by Faisal Razi. The background score has been dealt by the revolutionary music director of Malayalam, Gopi Sunder. The uniqueness of the score helps the film carve out a niche for itself as a Malayalam film with a poetic soul.