Poomaram movie, directed by Abrid Shine, is all about the MG University Youth Festival (read just the competition between two popular colleges — St Teresa’s (STC) and Maharaja’s in Ernakulam — though there are over 300 other colleges participating in the fest to win the overall championship).
Being an ex-Teresian, I could easily connect to the storyline of Kalidas Jayaram-starrer. It took me back to my good old college days in Ernakulam where I studied for three years. The movie definitely gives a nostalgic feel for all students, alumnae or alumni of STC or Maharaja’s colleges. However, looks like Poomaram is an enjoyable flick for others as well. My husband, who has no connection with this fest or its background, too enjoyed watching the film.
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Through Poomaram, we get to see the incidents that happen during the eventful five-day festival. It includes dance, music, mimicry, literature, rehearsals, the competitive spirit of the participants, fights between their trainers with judges over “paid” results, leadership qualities, friendships, crushes, tensions and many.
While watching, we never get a feel that it’s just a movie, instead it is a faithful attempt to show what exactly happens during those youth fest days in Kerala. It is so important for the students to get hold of the ever rolling trophy that they win after months long hard work and practice.
And in the movie, you just don’t see a few glimpses of each programme on stage, but the entire performances at times.
Performances in Poomaram
Kalidas Jayaram, the son of versatile actors Jayaram and Parvathy, has made a decent debut through the much awaited Poomaram. He appears as the chairman of Maharaja’s college. However, unlike what we expect from a person in that particular post and of a star kid’s debut, Gautham is different. He is a graceful and soft spoken leader, who doesn’t get much chance to prove his heroic nature.
Was this the best way to launch him as a hero? If we look at what other celebrity kids have done in the past, this was totally an unexpected decision. Kudos to Kalidas for being different from his counterparts.
However, it is Neeta Pillai, who scores more than Kalidas by portraying the character Irene, the chairperson of St Treesa (Teresa’s) college. With her energy, screen presence as well as natural performance, she catches the attention of the audience for sure. The ways she motivate her friends to win the competition were quite convincing. Neeta is sure to get a place in the industry as she is a promising actress.
Surprisingly, Gautham and Irene, despite being the leads of the film, do not exchange a single word in the 2 hours 32 minutes movie. Abrid’s film-making approach without such clichés makes Poomaram a different experimental adventure.
For the uninitiated, Neeta was the second runner-up of the Miss Bollywood 2015 beauty pageant in the US. [Soon after watching the movie, I started searching to know who Irene is. But could find details about her only after spending a lot of time on Internet]. Kalidas has been appearing in quite a lot of interviews, but where on earth are you Neeta?
Apart from Gautham and Irene, many other actors too will be remembered for their impressive debut performances. It includes Kalathilakam Malavika (played by Architha Anish who won the title four times in real life as well), Meenakshi (Sreeshma), Kili (Vivek), dance masters, among others. The mime performance by Maharaja’s students needs a special mention, especially for the way they showed the movements of the horse. Kudos guys. Also, the girl, who played the guitar during the fest — truly amazing it was.
Kunchacko Boban and Meera Jasmine appear as themselves in guest roles.
What stands out?
Of course, the realistic storytelling and the natural performances remain as the USPs of Poomaram. Abrid Shine‘s honest filmmaking evokes nostalgia for Keralites, who have experienced the memorable moments of youth festival at least once.
Music is definitely the backbone of Poomaram as we hear so many songs and poems in the background sans the hit song Kadavathoru Thoni. Too much of poetic atmosphere did not impress me as I am personally not a fan of poems. But I have heard poems are part and parcel of Maharaja’s college life, so it’s just a realistic approach by the filmmaker.
From cinematography to editing, all other technical departments of the movie have done a good job in making Poomaram a good watch.
What went wrong?
As I mentioned before, too much of poems made Poomaram dragging at times.
The climax was different, but I felt it could have been something else more impressive. Nevertheless, the artwork with those mirrors was mind blowing.
The topic for photography competition was “Reflections”. But we never got a chance to see which picture won the prize though there is a mention about the photographer.
Poomaram is an honest attempt to show us what youth festival is meant for the college students in Kerala. It is their months long hard work and efforts that bring glory to their institution. Though it is a slow movie without a concrete story line, Abrid’s movie gives a different and realistic experience altogether.
If you have ever been part of such fests, Poomaram will remind you of those memorable days. However, the movie might not be everyone’s cup of tea, especially if you are a geek or a bookworm with no other extra curricular activities. The students of STC and Maharaja’s are sure to enjoy the flick.
With its share of ups and downs, Poomaram is a watchable flick with some pragmatic performances and without much clichés or misogyny.
Meanwhile, I heard a woman complaining why the filmmakers are just showing the efforts of just two institutions out of over 300 colleges. It is solely because the MG youth festival is always known for the rivalry between 3-4 colleges in and around Ernakulam.