Peranbu director Ram on working with Mammootty: Wouldn't have made film without him

Haricharan Pudipeddi

Feb 10, 2019 12:01:13 IST

National Award-winning filmmaker Ram is a name to be reckoned with when it comes to content-driven films in Tamil cinema. In his decade-long career, he’s just made four films but he’s left a very strong impact with his work. His latest release Peranbu, a devastatingly beautiful, coming-of-age drama dealing with a complicated father-daughter relationship, has won over audiences. In an interaction, Ram opens up about finally being able tell the story of Peranbu, roping in megastar Mammootty and why film festivals could be a blessing for Tamil cinema in the years to come.

As a story idea, Ram wanted to make Peranbu even before his 2007 debut film Kattradhu Tamizh. “I was hell-bent on making the film only with Mammootty sir. I wouldn’t have made this film if he wasn’t interested. I had completed the script in 2009 and I patiently waited because I was hell-bent on making this film with him. I couldn’t picture any other actor in the role of Amudhan, the character played by Mammootty.”

 Peranbu director Ram on working with Mammootty: Wouldnt have made film without him

Mammootty in Peranbu. Image via Twitter/@sidhuwrites

It was through actress Padmapriya, who had worked with Ram in Thangameengal, that he managed to get through Mammootty. “She had done a cameo in Thangameengal. I told her that I have a story for Mammootty sir and that I’d really appreciate if she could help me get in touch with him. She somehow passed on the message to Mammootty sir. It was while working on Taramani in 2015; I got a call from him. I went and narrated the story to him. He liked it and said he would do it. In fact, he got so excited that he couldn’t wait to start shooting. He kept asking producer Thenappan when we would start the shoot. I wanted to start Peranbu right after I completed Taramani as I wanted to take it to film festivals and spend at least a year in the process. I was glad that both Mammootty sir and Thenappan sir were in favour of the idea.”

The film had its world premiere at International Film Festival of Rotterdam last year and subsequently at Shanghai International Film Festival. Talking about the experience of taking the film to different international film festivals, Ram said: “As a filmmaker, I saw it as an opportunity to present my film to different types of audiences. The experience helped me showcase and discuss about my film with people with different sensibilities. The biggest reward of taking a film to such festivals is the joy of showcasing it to international audiences. By taking our films to these festivals, we can break the notion that Indian cinema is just Bollywood. I really see film festivals as a blessing.”

In the film, Mammootty plays the father of a physically challenged girl who rediscovers himself while trying to raise her. The project also marked Mammootty’s return to Tamil filmdom after two decades. Talking about the experience of working with the veteran actor, Ram said he was stunned by his commitment. Narrating one particular incident, he said: “The shooting spot was two and a half hours away from Kodaikanal. Mammootty sir was skeptical about travelling so far from the beginning. This one time, we had to shoot the sunrise the next day and the entire unit was on the verge of giving up and packing up, but he surprised all of us. We asked him to come to the shooting spot at around 5:45 am, but he managed to be there by 5:30 am itself.”

Peranbu also features actress Sadhana in the role of a teenaged girl suffering from cerebral palsy. Her performance impressed critics and audiences alike, earning her praise from all quarters. Ram says he can’t wait to work with Sadhana again. “She had worked with me in Thangameengal. I was quite certain from a very long time that I’d cast her as the daughter. Both of us share a great working relationship and she’s someone who understands me really well. I had discussed the idea with her even before I started working on Taramani, and I had mentally prepared her for the role. She worked really hard and spent a lot of time talking to spastic kids and observing how they behave.”

Updated Date: Feb 10, 2019 12:02:03 IST