பேரன்பு (2019) starring Mammootty and Sadhana (the kid from Thanga Meengal) is an unconventional film for Tamil. It sheds light on how cruel the society behaves towards a single parent (a man) who is raising a daughter with a serious birth impairment (spastic cerebral palsy).
Mammootty has done a great job in portraying the emotions of a father experiencing immense emotional pain that you could feel its heat. Sadhana has been outstanding in her acting as the disabled girl. Actor Anjali has got a limited role, which she has done well.
The film begins in the present showing a father along with his daughter moving to a house in the middle of nowhere so that they can be far away from other humans, as that progresses we see narrations of the past on what led them here being intervened. The contrast between how the past and the present were shown was unmistakable – like the past where the family members and neighbours showing their hatred towards the two was shown swiftly, while in the present the act of picking up from the ground a food tray by the girl was being shown unhurriedly for a full five minutes.
The first half with its unorthodox treatment by Director Ram gives the feeling of watching a European film, known for their unvarnished depiction of everyday life. Both good and bad people keep appearing on a regular basis – there are no black and white characterisations. For the viewers not familiar to this style, Peranbu could feel like a documentary, but the intensity of the story requires this type of handling.
For a film about a serious subject, there were moments of comedy, like when the father character shares how beautiful the lady of the house is, to her own husband, without knowing who they both really are.
Because the film runs longer by twenty minutes than it should’ve been, it was sluggish in the second half. The climax was easily predictable soon after the transgender character appears.
A must watch, but be warned it can be heart-rending!