Pariyerum Perumal is directed by debutant Mari Selvaraj and produced by leading director Pa.Ranjith. Much like Ranjith’s films, Pariyerum Perumal also talks about how a maligned protagonist deals with his community being oppressed. It proposes equality and a casteless collective society.
Plot: The film is set in and around Tirunelveli. Pariyerum Perumal (Kathir) is a government law college student who comes from a severely backward, downtrodden community. The film narrates his struggles and the ill-treatment meted out to him by people belonging to a higher societal class.
- Young actor Kathir delivers a career-best performance, soaring to a whole different league after Kirumi and Vikram Vedha. The intensity in his portrayal is why the film is as impactful and powerful as it is. Awards ought to knock at his door.
- Mari Selvaraj dishes out unforgettable moments, such as the pre-interval sequence in a marriage hall, the emotional episode involving Kathir’s father and the scene in the college’s ladies restroom. These scenes are high on shock value. To make a socio-political film based on caste issues is akin to walking a tightrope. The director passes the test with flying colours, without making his film too preachy and over the top.
- The hero’s dog (Karuppi) is not just his pet and hunting companion, but also has a deeper metaphorical relevance. It appears at some crucial junctures in the hero’s journey, leaving a surreal and mesmerizing impression.
- Anandhi is her usual homely, pretty and childish self, but the end result is a career-best performance. The scene in which she closes her eyes and tells Kathir of her love is memorable.
- The college episodes are hilarious thanks to Yogi Babu’s trademark dialogue delivery and body language. The comedian also travels with Kathir in the story’s key moments.
- Mari Selvaraj’s casting choices are top-notch. The evil old man who serves as an executioner, Kathir’s father, Anandhi’s father (Marimuthu) and Shanmugaraja (in a brief enjoyable cameo) all contribute to the overall product.
- Santhosh Narayanan has one of his best-ever outings with fantastic songs like Naan Yaar, Karuppi, Pottakaattil and Rail Vida Pogalama. His background score enhances the emotional impact and tension of the scenes. The way Karuppi and Naan Yaar have been filmed – with the colour blue signifying resistance from the oppressed – makes them even more memorable.
- Sridhar’s cinematography is lively. He uses aerial views and high-speed shots aptly. The shot of the dog tied to a railway track with a cloth will haunt viewers for a long time.
- Director and editor Selva RK have packaged a 2 hour 35 minute film with hardly any lulls. Though the core subject is heavy, the film has its entertaining moments, romance, comedy and hard-hitting emotions.
- As with any socio-political film, a couple of communities are vilified here as well. When the director has to show the suffering of one side, he invariably has to show the other side being dominant. A section of viewers might take offense to this.
Final Word: Pariyerum Perumal is the best Tamil film to come out this year. It not only serves as a social commentary but is also highly gripping and involving. Don’t miss it.