I have ranted a lot on my love and hatred for films a lot on phones and in person. Finally, after being serious about movies for around 5 years, I am finally writing and sharing my opinion on movies, on internet, where everything can be permanent.
Following the media and general public hype that Om Shanthi Oshana (OSO) is the ultimate female-centric movie of modern times, I watched it in theatre, not wanting to wait for it to come on TV. Felt good here and there. I always love the kind of dads that Renji Panikker and Lalu Alex represents. Liked the small fights and fun between bro-sis pair (Nazriya and Aju), few idiosyncrasies that Pooja (Nazriya’s character) had, but feel that they were made too general and unnecessarily trying to be cute. Except for the last scene where Nivin shows her the old umbrella keychain, adds a seat to his bike, and takes her to her home, there was no other romance, befitting the long wait and expectation on Pooja’s part.
OSO forced the girl to hold onto her childhood crush, and fantasize that it would be a lifetime love for her. It is equating women to men, where we see images of men, just relentlessly loving a girl. Picture it this way: there is a boy who has a crush on a girl, at first sight, and feels in love with her, ignoring whether she loves him back or not, and wants to be with her forever, just because he has waited for her for long and helped her potential husband elope with somebody else, and thereby making his own path clear. Had this story line been told, we would have outright called it perverted. OSO also had added to it some inter-religion flavour, but made it totally easy, buy making Renji Panikker the dad and threw in secular notions too. Had it been told in the male narrative, we would have easily blamed it for the increasing instances on propaganda by religious institutions about ‘love jihad’ (another unnecessary topic).
Thus, the director changed the narrative to a girl protagonist, gave her voice (literally and figuratively) added in a veil of secularism, stirred in the feel-good charm of rustic beauty and communism, humour, and roped in safe commercial elements such as affluent doctor’s family, college lecturer who only cooks and looks confused, educated and well-groomed heroine, suffiecient dose of temple and church.
I have reserved my most favourite element: Vineeth Sreenivasan. According to me, he is ordinary delivering the best. Few scenes with him and Nazriya were genuine, and not forcefully feminist. There, I rest my case, OSO.
PREMAM… It came with a bang, but for the male audience. There was so much bromance and male exalting that made me think that I could easily give it a miss. Unfortunately, hubby got a CD version that I agreed to watch on a tired menstruating day. I could focus only on what irritated me and did not even complete watching it.
Many months later, on a bored afternoon, I decided to watch Premam on Hotstar. And this time, I was not expecting anything. Few minutes into the movie, I realized that it was a hit among men because the depiction was real, from a male perspective.
- The first major attraction point, Mary, has no straightened or permed hair, no unrealistic body/attitude image stuck to her.
- Just a normal girl, who feels elated to see too many people attracted to her, but also very cautious in her interactions with them.
- Mary rejecting George, just makes him sad; he tries to identify ‘why’, but does not plot to revenge her rejection and George learns to move on in life.
Cut the bromance to college time heroism
- The elder heroine do not look purposefully old or young; has her pimples and a non-conventional voice
- No use of term ‘chetta’ to give legitimacy to Malar-George relation
- Heroine has her needs, space and authority (totally wish that this could have been done with a same age or younger heroine premise too)
- Heroine exits, George is sad, but no, he doesn’t come with any proof of their love, not just to her family, but nothing is ever brought to the screen
Life needs to move on; and we see the responsible George, sans beard or spectacles
- Young girl who crushed on George as a kid, warms up to him, as she still feels the same attraction to him
- Though she’s in an abusive relation and takes time and effort to save herself from more horrors, she does it.
- Even her dad supports her, in spite of risk of social ostracisation
Lot of focus on bromance, but never have the director put in scenes to degrade femininity or depict forceful domination, and/or objectification of women.
Final Verdict: OSO had patriarchy made virtuous by some fake display of feminism, but PREMAM had feminism sold through bromance