I still remember the day I watched Classmates in 2006. You did not have the aid of social media like Facebook back then to learn about the views of people soon. Only opinion I heard was from a friend that it was a good movie. 20 minutes into the movie and I knew what I was watching is not just a good movie but one that is going to be a huge hit in the box office and going to be a hot topic of discussion for a very long time.
Classmates narrated a beautiful tale of a group of college friends who met after a gap of many years in a re-union arranged by their teachers who were also the parents of their deceased friend. James Albert’s intelligent script was the clear show stealer in the movie. For a scriptwriter who was making his debut, he took us all by surprise by providing turns and twists at all significant places.
Narain tells ‘Oru Sahapaadiyude kavitha ayaalude anuvadhamillathe njan tune cheythu paadukayaanu’ before the start of ‘Ente Kalbhile’ song but how many of us thought that line had any significance. When a number of scenes shown before in the movie were all beautifully connected in a surprising revelation towards the end involving a romantic track between Narain and Radhika, it becomes one of the finest movie segments you have seen in recent years.
A lot other scenes too remain etched in your minds like the ones where Prithviraj and Kavya play pranks on each other in the first half ,Jayasurya drops Kavya’s love letter in the ballot box , when Prithviraj confronts Jayasurya later after he gets to know about it , when Prithviraj and Indrajith enters the principal’s room and finally when it is revealed that Prithviraj’s hands were unknowingly behind Narain’s character’s death. Barring perhaps one scene in the Chemistry Lab when Kavya Madhavan easily reveals that she too had feelings for Prithviraj, this was a movie that’s almost entirety flawless.
Classmates did wonders for almost everyone associated with the movie. Lal Jose’s amazing ability to produce a very fine product when given a great script was yet again evident. Lal Jose mentioned in an interview that he did not have any one else in his mind to play the angry young man, ‘Sukumaran’ other than Prithviraj and the actor did complete justice to the role.
Jayasurya’s career was entirely revived through Satheeshan , a character with gray shades. Classmates was one among the first movies which showed how well can Indrajith excel at comedy. Alex Paul’s songs were all not great but he just needed one number to be a huge hit which ‘Ente Kalbile’ did go on to be. Its impact is especially enormous when played again during the Narein-Radhika romance.
The makers of classmates wanted to first picturize the college days in the modern times. It was the distributor Lal’s (of Siddique-Lal) idea to take it few more years backwards to a time when students did not have mobiles and wore dhotis. An idea that not only did great to his bank balance but also changed the fate of the movie entirely. An idea that added the movie more soul compared to other college movies like Niram which were more about style.
Today Classmates ranks a lot high among the Malayalam movies ever made on College days .It might also be one of those rare movies in the last 10 years which you can almost assuredly call a ‘Classic’.