Pariyerum Perumal Review

The announcement of 'Pariyerum Perumal' came with a very different song, "Karuppi En Karuppi", and the visuals were disturbing, yet intriguing. It had a severed dog's head at the backdrop while people continue to indulge in their mundane day-to-day activities. Produced by Pa.Ranjith, the movie was the usual suspect for a theme that Ranjith has carefully nurtured with his films - the voice of the underdog. This time he has roped in Mari Selvaraj, the debutante director to narrate the day-to-day harassment of the marginal class, with a rural backdrop.


Set in 2005, the theme of the movie would still hold its relevance even now. The film depicts the agonies faced by 'Pariyerum Perumal', a young and aspiring law college student who happens to belong to the lower rung of the society. Though he is bright and enthusiastic, he is targeted and sidelined by the upper-class time and again. Of course, the movie anchors on the romance between a lower caste boy and an upper caste girl. Though it might sound like a cliche on paper, it has been brought about more organically on screen.


The narrative was firm and blunt. At the start of the movie, when we get a glimpse of the psychological violence the suppressed classes are subjected to with the dissection of a canine under a train, we get a sense of what's in store. We also do get a sense of the third-degree treatment shown to these men and women. The urban crowd might shrug off their shoulders as if this issue's relevance is region-bound. Sadly, it's perennial and stays subtle among the city dwellers too.


Kathir in the titular role was his natural as the underdog. However, I felt that he is becoming typecast in these roles. His previous streaks in "Kirumi" and "Madhayaanai Koottam" were also very similar. He is that promising young actor who is under-utilised and needs a better pay off. Anandhi as Jothi Mahalakshmi is another typecast in a bubbly template and could have repressed this role for any other rural subject. However, the romance between the lead pair was very organic and felt satisfying.


Yogi Babu as the college companion for Kathir was a revelation. I nearly fell off my seat laughing when he replies the English professor. The supporting cast of Marimuthu, 'Poo' Ram, actors who portrayed Kathir's parents, Kathir's grandfather, Lijeesh and last but not the least, the hitman 'grandpa' were all beautifully cast and did full justice for their respective roles. A special mention on 'Poo' Ram's performance as the college principal who advises Kathir on how to handle the harassment with his deep scars was refreshing and infused new hope.


Songs by Santosh Narayanan bore the trademark signature from the musician with raw vocals in full flow. The BGM was also apt for the proceedings. Cinematography and editing were the other pillars which kept the movie on a delicate balance. The film however suffered from a bit of lethargy and lack of pace with a couple of songs in the latter half which could have been trimmed or done away with altogether as there were way more powerful scenes to convey the violence suffered by the lower caste.


This movie serves as a docu-drama on the ugly face of the caste system that lures its head time and again. We can only hope that such a cinema would be an eye-opener for the society and serve to bring about a change that is already underway. On that front, a warm hug to Pa.Ranjith and a hearty welcome to director Mari Selvaraj. It looks like this filmmaker is here to stay in our hearts for the foreseeable future!

Pariyerum Perumal is a strong and hard-hitting statement on the ugly face of the caste system and its effect on the society at large. (3.2) - Baranidharan Sivasankaran

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