Saturday, December 2, 2023

Peranbu: a letter to life

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Peranbu movie review

Tapatrisha Das

Peranbu is a letter, a letter to life, not to say complain about 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 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 don’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 and giggled at by society. From spastic cerebral 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 run 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 the inside, there is this one particular shot I can’t seem to get out of my head.

A half-broken antique wooden cabinet and a ramshackle 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 move 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 cerebral palsy, and the rawest reflections of life.

Chapter 3: Screenplay

The film is in bits and pieces, all over. The man, the daughter, 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 fragments 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.

Chapter 4: Acting

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

The daughter, her hands, legs, mouth, and 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, is 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, a drop of tear, or even a properly visible expression, he dominates the scene to its completeness.

I don’t understand Tamil, I have never been to a theatre for a South Indian movie even, but Peranbu made me a fan.

I love films, and 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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Tapatrisha Das
Tapatrisha Das
Tapatrisha Das is a freelance journalist and creative writer. She writes on movies and arts.


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