Screenplay and Direction
Technical Effects and BGM
A Devastatingly Beautiful Masterpiece!
Peranbu is a devastatingly beautiful, deeply affecting masterpiece from director Ram, who carefully espouses the spirit of avant-garde filmmaking through his aesthetic, delicately layered narrative.
Cast: Mammootty, Anjali, Sadhana, Paval Navageethan
Music: Yuvan Shankar Raja
Cinematography: Theni Eshwar
Editing: Suriya Pradhaman
Written & Directed by Ram
Produced by: PL Thenappan
Release Date: 01-02-2019
Run Time: 02:27:00
Peranbu is a devastatingly beautiful, deeply affecting masterpiece from director Ram. It’s the most expressive, powerful, emotional and thought-provoking film ever made about any physical impairment (spasticity in this case) in Tamil cinema. When someone can convey the most complicated emotions through highly accessible storytelling, which is certainly ahead of its time in our post-modern world, it’s Ram.
The story of Peranbu revolves around how Amudhavan (Mammootty), an affectionate single father, gives his best shot to take good care of her spastic daughter, Paapa (Sadhana) who is on the brink of turning an adolescent.
Ram carefully espouses the spirit of avant-garde filmmaking through his aesthetic, delicately layered narrative. His films have sometimes been at the receiving end of criticism from a section of audiences for representing despair situations, but Peranbu offers hope in a quietly revolting nature. The first half of the film is an exquisite study of the film’s two main central characters – Amudhavan and Paapa – and their fledgling father-daughter bond. Ram channels his film into various chapters through the eyes of nature, describing how dangerous, brutal, endless, disoriented, and compassionate it is. Ram also makes a point to transform those chapters into evocative vignettes with his life-affirming dialogues, that stimulate unsettling questions to viewers.
Loathed by neighbors and treated with disdain by family members for being a special child, Amudhavan takes Paapa to a remote house in the hills and by the lake to avoid human interaction. While Ram sensibly creates circumstances that evolve the strained relationship between Amudhavan and Paapa, he doesn’t bat an eyelid to showcase the lack of widespread apathy among people for his physically-challenged girl. Once Anjali enters the story, the film moves into different terrain, exploring other facets of the struggles undergone by a spastic child.
In the second half of the film, Ram dissects, in hitherto unexplored fashion, how the short-sighted nature of our society acts as a significant impediment to disabled adolescents. There is an overwhelming passion in Ram’s profoundly heartfelt and earnest lines, which come to the fore in several conversations – between Amudhavan and sex worker, between Amudhavan and the father of another spastic boy, between Amudhavan and Anjali.
What’s impressive about Peranbu is that it also serves as an encouraging affirmation of well-intentioned thoughts although one with a weak stomach will find it hard to swallow this bittersweet pill. While most of us might have ruminated about how difficult it is to be a special child, Ram makes a hard-hitting statement that how disabled kids feel they’re truly special irrespective of our sympathy.
The ethereal close-quarters cinematography of lensman Theni Eshwar beautifully captures the tone of the film’s universe and the emotions of the characters with great precision. He lets the camera linger whenever necessary, which makes you invest in the story of Amudhavan and Paapa with all your soul. From capturing the eerie calmness and anxiety of Amudhavan to the hazy mood swings of Paapa, Theni Eshwar’s frames remarkably complement Ram’s writing finesse.
With an uplifting background score effort, Yuvan Shankar Raja provides a resonant sound quality to the film. Peranbu will definitely remain as one of Yuvan’s all-time best re-recording works on the lines of Aaranya Kaandam, 7G Rainbow Colony, Pudhupetta, and Kadhal Kondein to name a few.
It would not be a hyperbole to state that Sadhana has outperformed (in certain scenes) Mammootty in what appears to be an extremely challenging role. While Mammukka aces the role of Amudhavan with consummate ease and supreme calmness, Sadhana brings out the essence of a spastic child with utmost authenticity. Mammukka deserves to be applauded for giving his nod to a radical film like Peranbu despite him being a superstar at the age of 67 in the southern filmdom.