Poomaram (2018) Malayalam Movie Review – Veeyen


In an age when exaggeration and embroidery reign supreme, Abrid Shine silently strides onto a Youth Festival venue, unleashes his cast and crew on the fest grounds, and crafts a tiny gem of a film that exhorts what a distinct film maker he is. ‘Poomaram’  has none of the baloney that gets carted under the pretext of campus films these days, and instead hauls you back right onto those college grounds, where a massive expanse of a verdant tree stands tall, copiously shedding a splatter of blue flowers and fragrant memories, every time a breeze decides to blow by.


poomaram-review-veeyen

In an age when exaggeration and embroidery reign supreme, Abrid Shine silently strides onto a Youth Festival venue, unleashes his cast and crew on the fest grounds, and crafts a tiny gem of a film that exhorts what a distinct film maker he is. ‘Poomaram’  has none of the baloney that gets carted under the pretext of campus films these days, and instead hauls you back right onto those college grounds, where a massive expanse of a verdant tree stands tall, copiously shedding a splatter of blue flowers and fragrant memories, every time a breeze decides to blow by.

At ‘Pooram 2016’, the annual Youth Festival of the Mahatma University, the reigning champs of St. Treesa College, led by the College Union Chairperson Irene (Neetha Pillai), are determined to hold on to their much cherished overall championship trophies. However, it’s hardly going to be a cake walk for them, since arch rivals Maharajas College and its resolute Chairman Goutham (Kalidas Jayaram) are in no mood to let the girls have all the fun, and aspire to regain a lost glory, this time around.

poomaram-review-veeyen

Abrid Shine through his film ‘Poomaram’ affirms that when a film maker is in no mood to barter a stirring vision for crowd applause and commercial triumph, the results could be astounding. ‘Poomaram’ is in no hurry to establish a point or fling one twist after the other; it takes it real slow, and hypnotically so, inviting you to draw out a chair for yourself and settle down, as an art extravaganza gets off to a flying start.

There is a startling question that Shine casually tosses down the aisle, as to how much action-infused a plot should necessarily be. Look back at it, and ‘Poomaram’ has zilch of those stunner moments and neither does the bustle in it spurt ahead by leaps and bounds. What it does have however is an engaging narrative that unfurls in a time span of five days, as hundreds of creative young men and women battle it out on the stage to bag the year’s top art honours.

poomaram-review-veeyen

Shine lines up an impressive bunch of characters, many of whom stay back with you, long after the curtains have come down. These are all real people whom we recognize like the back of our palms and whom we have run into time again, the ones whom you have been in classrooms with, the ones whom you have bunked classes with, the ones that have fallen and risen in love with, and in short, the ones who now head your alumni reunions. They are remarkably fleshed out in the running time of one hundred and fifty minutes, with almost every conceivable emotion that we ourselves have gone through – bliss, grief, rage and love – liberally sprinkled all over them.

There are bound to be diverse opinions regarding the finale, and for me, it comes around as a marvellous healer moment, that has none of the inflated verbosity that is usually associated with a climax as this. The visual sparkle that it leaves behind is nothing short of entrancing, and Shine so gently and elegantly wraps it up, leaving us exhilarated on a springboard of optimism.

poomaram-review-veeyen

A couple of harmless, yet surplus asides momentarily rob the film of this fabulous ambience, that is otherwise maintained throughout. The first one involves an elongated session at the police station, that is reminiscent of Shine’s own brilliant former film, but which oddly sticks out like a raw thumb in the current account. The latter one has a professor rendering a Malayalam version of Neruda’s celebrated lines ‘Tonight I can Write the Saddest Lines’ in the dead of the night, which albeit for a brief while, makes the film sidestep from its setting. It also has to be noted that Gautham’s conversations with his dad on art and literature often tend to border on the ostentatious.

poomaram-review-veeyen

Perhaps there could be no better a launching pad than ‘Poomaram’ for Kalidas Jayaram, and this young man with the dewy smile, through a positive performance with hardly an erratic note  to be found, proclaims that he is here to stay.  The surprise packet that ‘Poomaram’ holds in store is a pretty bundle of vigour called Neetha Pillai, who leaves you smitten with a bravura feat. This girl is wow, and how! Besides Kalidas and Neetha, there are a number of young actors in ‘Poomaram’ who deserve a pat on their backs, all of whom are fresh faces who strike you as anything but timid or diffident.

The musical score is delightfully elaborate, and the art installations outstanding. With Gnaanam’s fabulous cinematography, the camera assumes a participatory role as it unobtrusively gapes on the stage, sneaks into makeup rooms, dissolves into crowds and merrily hangs out with the viewer.

‘Poomaram’ is a film that marvels at the nature of effortless conversations, the joy of being and the simplicity of life. It strikes you as a minimalist accomplishment, that focuses as much on the spoken as the unspoken, all the while agreeably retaining a hopefulness and sobriety on the inherent integrity and virtue of humankind.


Verdict: Good


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