Malayalam film Premalu has all the tropes and conventions of the rom-com genre: Girish AD

Girish AD says the college-going audience is non-judgemental and does not care if a film has big names

February 07, 2024 04:02 pm | Updated 04:02 pm IST

A scene from Premalu

A scene from Premalu | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Girish AD, the director and co-writer of Premalu, which releases this Friday, laughs when asked if he has a hit-making formula. While his directorial debut, Thanneermathan Dinangal (2019), was a huge hit, Super Sharanya (2022) was popular among teens and young adults — his target audience.

“No [laughs] I don’t have a formula! I don’t have a ‘brand new’ story to tell. When I think, as a writer, I want to tell a story that has a mood or a vibe,” he says over the phone. Work is on the last leg of post-production as we speak. It would appear that he is perfecting the coming-of-age meets rom-com genre. Premalu also falls in this genre. “My films would have the tropes and conventions of the genre (rom-com) but beyond that, no, no formulas.” 

Given the subjects his films touch upon and the age group of its people, he agrees his target audience comprises the college-goers. “They are non-judgemental, without hang-ups about who the actors are. If they like a film they will embrace it, return to watch it with their friends and family. But, I would like to clarify, those in their 40s also enjoy them; I think they get to recapture something from their past or a sense of nostalgia.” Girish is one of those directors who made a film, Thanneermathan Dinangal, with actors who were not big names at the time. The success of his films are testimony that a good script, a well-told film is all it takes.   

Girish AD on the sets

Girish AD on the sets | Photo Credit: JAN

Girish’s co-writer on the project is Kiran Josey, who directed the viral short film Anurag Engineering Works (AEW). “I have known Kiran for a long time now, even before AEW. After Super Sharanya, we got talking about a spin off, and then a spoof. We thought of following Sona (Mamitha Baiju in Super Sharanya) to Hyderabad and see how her life pans out. After a lot of back and forth, we decided on Premalu, with a brand new character Reenu, essayed by Mamitha Baiju.” Since Hyderabad and Telugu figured so much in the plans and since it is set in Telangana, Premalu seemed perfect as the name of the film.  

A touch of Hyderabad

It is set in Hyderabad because, as he says, very few Malayalam films are located there. Getting producers who did not scrimp helped. “They understood that the film had to be shot there, only then would we be able to communicate the flavour and feel of the place. Most other producers would have asked why we wanted to film there. That was a huge blessing!” 

Headlining the film with Mamitha Baiju, is Naslen, a constant in Girish’s films from Thanneermathan Dinangal (Melvin) to Super Sharanya (Sangeeth). Girish explains, “How many actors do we have who can convincingly essay a 20-odd year old college going kid? There is the comfort of working with an actor one is familiar with. That aside, he is a very good actor.”  Mathew Thomas will also make an appearance in the movie. Others in the film, produced by Bhavana Studios are Althaf Salim, Shyam Mohan, Akhila Bhargavan, and Meenakshi Raveendran.

Can we look forward to surprise appearances like Vineeth Sreenivasan’s in Thanneermathan Dinangal? “No…not really! Or maybe one. But for that you will have to watch the film!”

Premalu releases in theatres on February 9

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