Peranbu movie review: Mammootty gives one of his most mature performances in a devastatingly beautiful film

Haricharan Pudipeddi

Feb 01, 2019 08:28:22 IST

4/5

Director Ram, who has carved a niche with films such as Kattradhu Tamizh, Thangameengal and Taramani, delves deep into the psyche of a hapless father and his relationship with his daughter in his latest outing, Peranbu, a devastatingly beautiful coming-of-age drama that is both poignant and equally depressing. It is a film where the father and the daughter come to terms with life and its most unexpected surprises which can really make or break a person.

A still from Peranbu. Image via Twitter

A still from Peranbu. Image via Twitter

Life can be unpredictable and most of us are aware of it. In Ram’s Peranbu, life hits you like a ton of bricks and it is one of those blows you cannot recover from easily. Walking out of Peranbu leaves you with a feeling that is too hard to digest, yet gut-wrenchingly beautiful.

The plot revolves around a father (Mammootty as Amudhavan), who has recently taken custody of his spastic daughter (Sadhana as Paapa) and events that follow in their life. There has never been a more affecting father-daughter film, and Peranbu, which is easily Ram’s most rewarding work, goes beyond the usual parent and daughter bonding, exploring different facets of the relationship in the most sensitive manner.

Unlike most parent and child stories, Peranbu, among various others things, focuses a lot on a father’s understanding and dealing with his daughter’s sexuality. The entire first half is set in the middle of nowhere, and in the midst of nature. The story is narrated in chapters and each one has a reference to nature, aiding in making us understand that sexuality is among the most natural things and there is nothing wrong in dealing with it.

There is a beautiful stretch where Amudhavan seeks the help of a worker in a brothel to find someone who can attend to his daughter. As cringe-worthy as it may seem, Ram stages the scene in such a way that we only see the predicament of a father who is unable to help his daughter deal with her sexuality, and the feeling haunts him.

Peranbu really gets disturbing after a point. Some scenes are so raw, it is extremely difficult to shake off the shock factor. It is disturbing because the reality hits us hard and gives us an opportunity to see life from the perspective of two different personalities.  It is while raising his daughter and through her eyes, Amudhavan sees the world around him differently. Initially, when he takes custody of his daughter, he behaves like a parent and as the story progresses, we see him transform into a companion. The transformation process comes with its share of life lessons.

Peranbu teaches us it is fine to not judge people. When we learn Amudhavan’s wife has left him for another man, we do not see him cribbing. We hear him say she is not a bad woman. When Amudhavan meets Meera (Anjali Ameer), a transsexual sex worker, he does not judge her profession. When he gets cheated by someone, he says they might have their reason. It is rare to find someone so non-judgmental but at the same time, it is refreshing to have such a protagonist for a change.

It takes guts for a mainstream hero, especially someone of Mammootty’s stature, to take up such a project. It is heartening to see him not only accept the role but play it gracefully in one of his most mature performances in recent times. Sadhana, as the daughter, breathes life into the character of Paapa, and it is hard to imagine anyone else in her shoes. Anjali, in a role that is neither positive nor negative, brings out the helplessness of her character beautifully.

Rating: ****

Updated Date: Feb 01, 2019 08:40:27 IST