It feels good to be seeing an authentic portrayal of people in Tamil cinema, a few weeks back it was Merku Thodarchi Malai (2018) and this week it is Pariyerum Perumal (2018). This film is about how in the villages across Tamil Nadu even today, the Dalit (lower caste) people suffer in the hands of the upper caste who hold the power and land. Otherwise, the film is a regular love story between a lower caste hero and the upper caste heroine, standing tall due to the intensity of the suffering shown. If you like a good cinema don’t miss this film, but be warned that the atrocities shown can be a bit too much to digest for many.
As the film opens we see the hero (Kathir) along with his friends playing in a local drinking hole with their hunting dogs, then a few people with sticks walk toward them, grudgingly the former gang leaves the place – in this one scene the Director Mari Selvaraj communicates the caste system hierarchy and its hold on the life of ordinary people in the villages. In the next few minutes, we see a “Black” dog, the pet of the hero being brutally killed by the upper caste rowdies and we hear the brilliant “Karuppi” song. After this, the film continues with the same force with only a brief interruption with comedy during the law college opening scenes.
Kathir has given a dazzling performance, given the right opportunities he is sure to go places in Tamil cinema. ‘Kayal’ Anandhi supports him well with her innocent looks and caring role. Initially, I felt this film will turn out to be a documentary preaching Pa.Ranjith‘s (who is the producer) now familiar caste ideologies, the emphasise on Dr Ambedkar and a few other cliches reinforcing that, but those were quickly forgotten due to the excellent screenplay and apt casting by the Director – the applause that was received for the film during the credit roll was deafening.
As Divya-Ilavarasan, and Kausalya-Sankar incidents have shown honour killings and attacks continue even today in the most brutal way. Reading these in news is one thing, but seeing them on screen makes you disheartened and angry at the same time.