Pariyerum Perumal: A Thought-Provoking & Well-Balanced Drama Film
Movie Review by Trijai Nerthi (Rocheston Certified Movie Critic)
There are stories all around us. Stories roam about even in our mundane existence. Even though small, simple and wonderful stories lay scattered around the world, it has become so rare to be a witness to an original and moving story in Tamil cinema. Having grown tired of the million remakes, recycled stories and the generic mass films, the arrival of the touching Pariyerum Perumal directed by Mari Selvaraj feels like a breath of fresh air. It is a bold and emotional film sans melodrama, what a rare combination that is! To keep it simple, if you want to a fictional capsule of realism meets liberation, by all means, catch this film on the silver screens.
The film takes us through the oppression and liberation of Pariyerum Perumal, a youngster with big, big dreams. Pari is determined to become a lawyer. Just as he sets foot into the law college, life as he knows it is shattered to a million little pieces. Amidst all the humiliation he receives, he befriends Jothi Mahalakshmi, an upper caste girl with a heart of gold. However, his friendship with her is unaccepted by the society and its members as Pari belongs to a lower caste. Pari’s struggle in the face of oppression, his helplessness, and his choice to stand up forms the crux of this film.
One of the reasons why you instantly take a liking to Pariyerum Perumal is because it ticks all the boxes a great film has to. From the idea to the script and screenplay, the film is good. It is also backed by sensible direction, strong technicalities and brilliant performances making it impossible for you to dislike the film. What’s more, Mari Selvaraj has done a commendable job with the character development too.
Let’s take the villain as an example. He is 60 years old. His outward appearance doesn’t exuberate obvious machismo. He doesn’t wield weapons and most importantly he is not found constantly screaming his lungs out. Nor does he have other goons pander his pride. With just a strong character arc and his acting skills, he makes for a villain who will make you fear him. Every time he appears, you either want to strangle him to death or simply fear him. Ideally, this is how all villains should be. If their reason and actions are strong enough, they will be able to speak for themselves. From the wonderful character development, it is clear that this is the strongest suit of Mani Selvaraj.
Most of the characters in the film have a strong reasoning behind their presence, they’re quite memorable too. The character sketch of Pari’s father is something you witness so rarely in Tamil cinema. Pari’s principal and his friend Anand too are such well-crafted characters in the film. Only because of the dimensions these characters lend to Pari and Jothi do they shine so brightly in the film.
One of the other applaudable aspects of Pariyerum Perumal is the manner in which it wonderfully balances the intensity of its plot. It’s very easy for a plot centered on the boons of casteism to get carried away. The angry young man in these movies is either too intense to be real or simply too underwhelming. But director Mari Selvaraj achieves the ideal balance. The way Pari’s oppression is showcased and how his helplessness brings about a change in him is portrayed much gradually and realistically. You get to travel with Pari, up close and personal.
As Pariyerum Perumal, Kathir is brilliant. He steps into his character’s shoes with a thought-provoking blend of vulnerability and angst. As Jothi, Anandhi delivers a good performance, but she could have been a little more convincing in many crucial scenes. She doesn’t hold close-ups, as well as Kathir.
The cinematography of Pariyerum Perumal is raw and unhindered. It has the tone of the harsh afternoon sun and yet poetically conveys many crucial nuances with its fine visual story-telling. Santhosh Narayanan’s music too lends the film a lot of character that enhances the message director Mari Selvaraj strives to convey. The stunt choreography in the film is exceptionally real. The fight sequence that takes place in the banana field is particularly realistic and hard-hitting.
On the whole, Pariyerum Perumal is a flower in a field of weeds. It is an important film in the history of Tamil cinema. By all means, go for it!