June 16 2019
‘Pyaar Prema Kadhal’ review: love in the times we live in
11 August 2018

A refreshing take on the complications of modern romance

“We don't want a modern girl,” says the hero’s mother in the first scene of Pyaar Prema Kadhal. She’s siting, along with her husband, in the reception of a matrimonial website office, and is set to register her son’s profile. She’s keen to know if the receptionist is married. “Yes, love marriage,” the girl says with a smile. The mother smirks.

It's no wonder that our protagonist (Shree, played by Harish Kalyan) is afraid to tell them that he has his own secret love story. He’s “infatuated” with his colleague Sindhuja (Raiza Wilson of Bigg Boss fame) and after a series of goof-ups, manages to grab her attention. The falling in love scene (or so we think) happens in the unlikeliest of places - inside a ladies toilet, which leads to the popular ‘Hey Penne’ number. All is well.

Till issues begin to crop up – Sindhuja doesn’t want marriage and Shree, raised in a traditional background, doesn’t know what to do, other than to confide in his friend (Munishkanth, who plays a tailor).

The difference in status and mindset between Shree and Sindhuja is evident from the word go – she has eggs for breakfast, and he prefers dosas. She drives a car to work, and he rides a dirty bike. Things would have been fine if the differences were this trivial, but the minute this relationship hits a roadblock thanks to difference of opinion, PPK becomes engaging.

The characters are interestingly complicated. Harish Kalyan scores as a goofy, nervous Shree (in a very Simbu-ish way, we must say) while Raiza Wilson is competent in a character who just cannot seem to make up her mind (in a very Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya Jessie-way). Even their relationship with their fathers is worth a peek at – Shree is very formal with his parents, while Raiza plays tennis with her father (Anand Babu, in a surprisingly mature role) and shares even the most deepest of her secrets with him.

PPK exploits the cute lead pair to the hilt, with scenes that remind us of how modern love plays out (the tension we face before deciding to delete a contact, how we reply ‘K’ to even important texts). But beyond the cuteness, it also throws light on the choices that today’s couples face: should one marry, should one have children and most importantly, should one sacrifice career for love.

After building up the characters in the first half, director Elan dives right into the issues between them. He subverts traditional Tamil cinema stereotypes by getting the gender balance right – something crucial in an urban romance like this film. At one point, it's the boy who's missing his parents while the girl confidently states, “I’m there for you.” Shree returns the gesture in a well-staged birthday surprise scene, though one wishes the director had given us more cues on this before. At 144 minutes and only a romance to dig into, PPK does feel tedious at times and resembles how a Tamil web series would be shot, but that is, thankfully, among its minor issues.

Elan is also in full control in the climax, neatly juxtaposing a dance on stage to the conflict between the lead characters. He has a lot of help throughout the film - from his producer-composer Yuvan Shankar Raja. When Shree is on the lookout for Sindhuja, Yuvan is on the piano and giving us a simple tune. Yet, when Sindhuja is in search for Shree later in the film, Yuvan throws us a bouncer, giving us a textured melody. It's the sound that fittingly rounds off this complicated romance.



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