“Peranbu”… Mammootty plays the gentlest “Ram hero” in Ram’s least angry, most moving drama

Posted on January 30, 2019


Spoilers ahead…

Read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/peranbu-mammootty-ram-movie-review-mammootty-plays-the-gentlest-ram-hero-in-rams-least-angry-most-moving-drama/

At heart, Peranbu (Big love) is a highly charged story about a father (Amudhavan, played by Mammootty) and his cerebral palsy-afflicted daughter, Paapa (Sadhana) — but it turns out to be writer-director Ram’s quietest film. And the quietness is in the filmmaking. In the opening shot, watching Amudhavan on a boat with Paapa, we wonder what’s in store. Through a voiceover, we get Amudhavan’s matter-of-fact answer: “En vazhkayila nadandha sila vishayangal…” (A few incidents from my life.) These are huge upheavals, but the way he describes them – the line – is quiet. Mammootty’s performance is powerfully quiet. Theni Easwar’s cinematography is quiet — in a series of frames within frames, shots of Amudhavan and Paapa come to resemble an album of still lifes. Yuvan Shankar Raja’s music is quiet, with the barest acoustic guitar strumming. Ram appears to have expended all his angst on his globalisation trilogy (Kattradhu Thamizh, Thanga Meengal, Taramani). Here, he’s almost meditative. In terms of tone, it’s the closest he’s gotten to his guru, Balu Mahendra (more on this connect later).

The first half of Peranbu is set in the middle of nowhere, and in the midst of nature. It’s a place filled with bird calls, rolling mists, soft shafts of sunlight. The walls of the very pretty house Amudhavan and Paapa begin to live in are made of wood. There’s no electricity, no mobile connectivity, nothing non-natural. Even the father-daughter bonding occurs not through toys made of plastic but over birds and a horse and countless stars. In the second half, the film moves away from this Eden, to the city. Paradise is truly lost. A couple is caught kissing. A television set makes its appearance, with suggestive songs and dances from the kind of films Ram doesn’t make. But this isn’t an empty exercise in “the big city is bad” school of filmmaking. The urban space is an extension of nature, too. It’s just that this version of nature — which also depicts man’s nature — is built with brick and cement.

Continued at the link above.

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Posted in: Cinema: Tamil