Filmy Talks is a series where I discuss films in a stream of thought style. These are not reviews and are intended for readers who have already seen the film but would like to think about it more.
You can read the review of this film here.
I have to give credit to the makers of this film for one thing. They really put a lot of thought into Sravanthi’s character and the scenes which included her. Until the plot reveals that she is a spirit, it is not possible to know that she is one. But at the same time, there are small, small things about her character that one can think back to and realize that she did what she did in those scenes because she is a spirit.
For example, in the scene where Ram sees Sravanthi for the first time on the bridge and calls out to her, there is a surprised and happy look on Sravanthi’s face. It’s confusing why she is like that but we understand later that she was surprised and happy that someone could actually see her despite being a spirit.
When Sravanthi shows up at the winery where Ram stays, it’s odd that she would land up there in the middle of the night and she tells some story of goons chasing her. In that same scene, Ram is about to give her a low five when Sravanthi pulls her hand away at the last second. One doesn’t realize why she did that in that moment but it’s actually because if Ram sees his hand going through hers, her secret of being a spirit will be revealed.
When Ram says that he will help her go back to India, Sravanthi gives two conditions—that Ram cannot touch her and that she will not have to work. The beauty about these promises is that it makes one think that she is just a conservative girl and she hates working. But both of the conditions again guarantee that her secret will not be revealed. When he asks her why she can’t work, she makes up something about hating sweat and not wanting to sweat. But in reality, she can’t work even if she wants to.
After Ram finds out that Sravanthi is the Indian ambassador’s daughter, argues with her and walks away, he hears someone calling for help and assumes that Sravanthi is being troubled by some guys. He beats up all the guys only to see that the girl is someone else. Of course! How can they trouble Sravanthi when they can’t even see her?
Then there is the scene in the hotel where Ram got drunk and slept for eighteen hours. She couldn’t wake him up. Why? Because she can’t touch him. Ram doesn’t pick up on any of these things though.
Sravanthi makes up a story that if she’s not at the airport at the said time, it means that she has been caught. But she can’t be there because no one can see her. She can’t get on the plane in front of Ram or he will understand that there is something wrong. She doesn’t need to get on the plane anyway. She magically appears at the airport after Ram lands in Hyderabad.
The last hint about Sravanthi’s character is that she’s wearing the same clothes all the time. This seems odd but it still doesn’t wake one up to the fact that she could be a spirit because afterall, she is a girl who ran away from home. So she might not have extra clothes.
When it is revealed that Sravanthi is a spirit, one thinks back to all these points and all of the sudden, it all makes sense.
This is not an easy thing to do. I think the script writers and filmmakers of Endukante Premante did a great job pulling this off. They gave hints that there is something off but never gave away the suspense element. The great part about pulling this off is that it creates curiosity in the audience. One wants to see the film again to catch those moments and think about them. This is a part of great filmmaking. Great filmmaking, by my definition, is making the audience intrigued enough to see the film again. If you can watch a film again and discover something new in that viewing, it’s a sign of great filmmaking. Very few films can do this. The only Indian film I have seen pull this off to perfection is Manichitrathazhu. One can watch Manichitrathazu one hundred times and still remain curious about the film. I am not comparing this film to the great Manichitrathazhu, no film can be compared to Manichitrathazhu according to me. But Endukante Premante created a similar curiosity in me that I liked
I watched Talaash recently and there is again a spirit in that story. But I don’t think the spirit character was done well in Talaash as it was done in this film. Rosy in Talaash, played by Kareena, wore different clothes every day. She too could only be seen by the hero, but she could actually touch him. She could also open car doors and carry purses. It was not very believable that Rosy was a spirit and the entire story depended on the believability of that point. I think this is why Talaash was not as successful as it could have been. I don’t think that the makers of Talaash were in touch with the audience’s conceptions of what a spirit is like. I think Endukante Premanta makers’ views about spirits match what most of us believe about spirits. That’s why they did a good job with it.
Endukante Premanta is by no means a perfect film. I outlined the shortcomings in my first review post. But it’s a huge risk to make a film about a spirit and I think that the Sravanthi character in this film was developed and portrayed perfectly.
Update: Soon after writing this, I discovered that Endukante Premanta is not an original but almost an exact copy of a Hollywood film called Just Like Heaven. There were a few changes made in the story, such as the introduction of the reincarnation element, the girl being an Ambassador’s daughter and so forth. But mostly it remains the same. I’m not sure how much the Indian filmmakers contributed to the suspense and the development of the Sravanthi character in this remake. I haven’t seen the original, but I’ve clearly overpraised the filmmakers of Endukante Premanta.