Peranbu Review

Director Ram's 'Peranbu' has finally made its way to the theatres after sweeping acclaimed reviews across international film festivals. Whenever I watch such critically acclaimed films, a question pops up in my mind - whether audiences choose their films or is it the film that chooses its audience who are best suited to appreciate its nuances? I am the one who firmly believes in the former statement. However, the latter seems to be true with films like 'Peranbu'.

The movie is the journey of a doting father, Amudhavan (Mammootty) and his teenage daughter, Paapa (Sadhana), who is affected by spastic cerebral palsy. Of course, like Ram's previous films, this too explores the eccentricities of life. How merciless and hard-hitting life can be and how a strong-willed and tender-hearted person is subject to mockery and misdemeanour time and again by the society.

It's by far Ram's slowest narrative and can't be termed as his best. The movie is divided into chapters, and each chapter is narrated from the perspective of nature. While it helped in setting an expectation from a particular episode, by no means, it helped in establishing a solid pace to the narrative. It dragged and dragged with an unending continuum of suffering and mental agony.

Also, while watching this movie, I was always thinking about why filmmakers should choose such subjects. Of course, I am not interfering in any form of freedom of expression, as art is abstract. However, the cinema is not. "Why not such subjects?" could be a debatable topic, but does a filmmaker has what it takes to pin the audiences to their seats while narrating such subjects is the underlying question that warrants a straightforward answer.

Director Ram has always come across as that filmmaker who has been hailed for his narrative prowess that appears to be halo and pretty naive at times. I strangely found that his speeches on a public forum had a compelling narrative structure than what his films have. His take on politics, the social dogma, cynical view of bureaucracy and capitalism are all well worth pondering. Somehow, his movies do not have that same zing.

Maybe he is very conscious that he might commit the "sin" of crossing the commercial threshold. The problem is that he is doing it. The very moment he introduces songs into the narrative he has crossed that threshold. Maybe he should pick a cue from his counterpart, director Mysskin on the narrative structure. Again, please don't make me bear the cross for comparing two different filmmakers as in the very same film there's a line that says comparing one human's potential with another is also a form of violence.

The movie does have overwhelming performances from Mammootty and Sadhana. The young girl has to be lauded for her physical strain that she has been subjected throughout the film. Other notable characters were that of Anjali and Anjali Ameer (the transgender). Yuvan's music was decent but was not great when compared with Ram's previous outings.

The movie is slow paced and draws a boundary when it comes to the choice of the audience who could sit through and appreciate the nuances with utmost patience. The film might not appeal to everyone. At least for me, it didn't, as the choice of the subject was too raw and wasn't interesting.

Peranbu, with its raw narrative and slow pace, may not be everyone's cup of tea. It is seemed to be targeted at a certain class of audience who might appreciate the nuances of pure cinema with abundant patience. Rating: 2.5 - Baranidharan Sivasankaran