Peranbu: a letter to life

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Tapatrisha Das

Peranbu is a letter, a letter to life, not to say complain how miserable lives can be, but to reinstall how beautiful lives can be upon comparison.

A whole film of 2.5 hours, in chapters. Chapters for nature, to the nature, about nature. And somewhere between all the acting, camera, dreamy locations, dingy city lanes, and euphemism of a society that has been always unwelcoming to people and things that doesn’t match their standards of stereotype, the film mingles with commonality, it rubs shoulder with troubles of bare necessities, take hits right in the gut of life and stares at it, broken, shaken and standing.

Chapter 1: Storyline

It takes guts, a lot of it to portray things that are frowned at, whispered at, giggled at by the society. From spastic celebral palsy, to sexual urges in teenagers to transgenders and their ways of life, this film was a benchmark of breaking barriers and how!

The first part of the story has all the elements of a dream; a daughter that loves nature, a father who has been selflessly trying to bond with her, and a bungalow in a deserted land ‘where men don’t mock and sparrows don’t die’.

But dreams break and sparrows do die. While nature soothed them, humanity backstabbed, and they ended up back in the city they had ran away from.

I won’t tell you how the movie ends. But the film had disturbed me for days. It is not the kind you sleep and get over with.

Chapter 2: Cinematography

While there had been shots that will make and break you from inside, there is this one particular shot I can’t seem to get out of my head.

A half broken antique wooden cabinet, a ramshackled wooden door beside it with a hole on it big enough to pass a plate of food, feet of the father walks to the door, places the plate and moves away, a hand comes down to take the food, the father’s feet moves towards the door, the hand moves away.

I don’t know why, but this scene was everything the film meant to me.
A man trying to be a father, a daughter surviving spastic celebral palsy, and rawest reflections of life.

Chapter 3: Screenplay

The film is in bits and pieces, all over. The man, the daughter, the nature, the locations, the trespassing characters of life, fleeting time, and fights for trivial and essentials of life.

With little narration here and there, and fragment of chapters, broken down with adjectives to nature, somehow the chapter name itself gives away hints on how the anecdotes will fare.

From nature being ruthless to nature being considerate to compassionate, Peranbu effortlessly brings out reality on  screen, unrepentant to its tale.

Peranbu movie review

Chapter 4: Acting

It’s not easy. It’s not even for a second easy to hold on a character and carry it throughout, wear it like skin and be a person, already announced difficult by a society.

The daughter, her hands, legs, mouth, eyes. Every bit of her was a story in itself. From the smudged nail polish on a teenager to sexual urges that she doesn’t have friends to share with, somewhere on a large screen, she becomes all the children with difficulties. She speaks for all, without even uttering a proper word throughout.

About Mammootty, who am I even to say? All I can say, this was my first Mammootty movie, and there was this one scene which defined the actor in the superstar, for me, for life.

A staircase, Mammootty sitting, and his eyes give away subtly the mountainous tiredness of a daily fight of a father. His lips vibrate minutely, as he keeps staring into something. The scene closes, and without even giving out a loud wail, or a drop of tear, or even a properly visible expression, he dominates the scene to its completeness.
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I don’t understand Tamil, I have never been to a theater for a South Indian movie even, but Peranbu made a fan.

I love films, I self announce to have a refined taste in films, but I have more pride in saying, on a Sunday, trusting subtitles, I went for a superstar’s movie, and came home with a complete cinema in the heart.

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