Poomaram Review: One-of-a-kind campus film with a poetic soul
Of late, Malayalam film industry has been witnessing an upsurge in the number of campus films that are being made. Most of them have followed the same template of either campus politics or the done-to-death engineering life or rom-com stories. Abrid Shine’s latest outing Poomaram, which launches Kalidas Jayaram as a lead hero, has also come with the label of a campus film. Let’s see if this one has something fresh or is it the same old run-of-the-mill stuff.
The core plot of Poomaram is set around a five-day university youth festival. Maharaja’s and St.Treesa’s college are the top two contenders for the title. The movie showcases how a youth fest works and how it is seen as a matter of pride for the colleges in Kerala. Forget the recent films, Poomaram is nothing like what Malayalam cinema has seen before. The movie brims with songs and poetic verses that are finely laced around the narrative. Such a treatment for a campus film is unheard of and applause to director Abrid Shine for that.
When two colleges are fighting it out for the title, we expect to see some animosity and back stage cheating because that’s what our filmmakers have been showing us all these years. But Poomaram does not have any of that and that’s what makes it a very unique film. It is devoid of cliches and repetitive stuff.
Poomaram’s plot does not have a basic conflict as such. The makers have tried to exhibit the youth festival as authentic as possible and they’ve come out with flying colours. Youngsters, especially those who have been to youth festivals will be able to connect the movie very easily and cherish the nostalgia. Abrid Shine has also made a strong statement about how art and such festivals can bring together the youth to fight against the existing social evils.
Kalidas Jayaram was impressive as Gautham, a passionate campus leader. His charm and cool persona suits well for the character. A particular sequence in the first half where Gautham delivers a powerful speech to inspire his collegemates showed glimpses of the talented actor that he is. The girls from the rival college were equally good, especially the one who played the character, Irene. Coming from a newcomer, that was indeed a splendid performance. After ‘Action Hero Biju’, Abrid Shine has once again introduced a bunch of talented actors to the industry.
Technically, Poomaram is rich in music. Around ten composers have tuned the songs and each one of them leaves a lasting impact. It was a masterstroke by Abrid Shine to get tracks from different composers. Gnanam’s cinematography is the other standout element. He has captured the vibes and colours of a campus festival in all its beauty.
So is Poomaram a flawless film? Not really. The movie at times gives the feel of a docu-drama of events that unfold in a youth festival. Its slow pace and high dose of intellect may not work with people who seek ‘entertainment’. Also, couldn’t agree on how people with feminine traits were used as mere props for the sake of inducing a few laughs, which is nothing but politically incorrect. Action Hero Biju also had the same issue, hope Abrid Shine corrects it next time; he is too good a director to repeat errors.
Overall, I would say Poomaram was definitely worth the long wait. Watch it if you wish to experience something unique unfold on screen.