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Perumani movie review: Maju’s quirky satire takes its time to hit the sweet spot

Perumani review: Being a quirky satire, Perumani also needed some zany performances and Vinay Forrt takes the cake here for his portrayal of the chauvinist Nazar

Perumani movie review: Maju’s quirky satire takes its time to hit the sweet spot
A poster of Perumani

Last Updated: 02.13 PM, May 10, 2024


Perumani story: While the village of Perumani is gearing up for a wedding, a guest worker arrives and keeps popping up at various houses and places of its residents. Soon, a section of villagers believe he is a divine presence. But what does his arrival mean for the village, its people and the wedding?


Perumani review: Director Maju’s Perumani begins with a fable - about a divine presence, Thangal, who arrives floating on a tortoise at the Perumani village, which was troubled by a mischievous being. He saves the village and promises to protect it till eternity. Cut to the present day, and the villagers, who still believe in the tale, are gearing up for a wedding - of Nazar (Vinay Forrt) and Fathima (Deepa Thomas). But the arrival of a guest labourer sets off a chain of unrelated events that the people attribute to him. How is this connected to Thangal and what does it mean for the villagers form the plot.

In the past few years, Malayalam has had several satires that revolve around a wedding, Thinkalazcha Nishchayam being the best of these. What makes Maju’s Perumani, which is set in a world similar to that of Perilloor Premier League and Kunjiramayanam with its set of quirky characters, is that the film doesn't deviate from its tone, even when the incidents take a serious turn.

While the first half does take its time to find its footing, once the movie gets in the groove, it's a fun ride - serving as a clever mirror to what's happening in the country without never really pointing fingers at anyone or anything. From the fight for meat to quarrels spurred on by those who want to see disputes to escape boredom or loneliness, Maju, who has also written the movie, has packed in enough instances for the discerning eyes to laugh as well as comprehend. That he does it with a set of characters and incidents that could have been predictable is what makes this attempt refreshing as well as commendable.

The chain of events that lead to a few people making a guest worker, a divine figure and how this shows seeds of division divides people is beautifully told and portrayed. The characters in Perumani and their situations too are relatable and yet Maju has shown a progressive way of how they tackle their problems - be it how Ramlath gets out of an unhappy marriage with the support of her parents or how Abi (Lukman) decides to settle the score with Nazar.

A poster of Perumani
A poster of Perumani

Each character, despite their limited screen time, is fleshed out and that makes them even more relatable and explains why they are stuck in a predicament that lets them do only so much of what they can actually do. For instance, Abi has just gotten away from his abusive uncle and has come to live at his father's house with his mother and step-mother. He refrains from getting into trouble, and yet finds himself at the centre of it.

Being a quirky satire, it also needed some zany performances and Vinay Forrt takes the cake here for his portrayal of the chauvinist Nazar, who has doubts whether his fiancee is in a relationship with someone else. Vinay slowly brings to the fore the toxic traits but never strays from the film’s feel-good tone. Both Lukman and Deepa too are great in their roles. The rest of the supporting cast that includes Sunny Wayne, Navas Vallikunnu and Sanjana Chandran also aid the storytelling that would have benefitted from a pacier beginning.

Composer Gopi Sundar’s work on his last few films have often been more intrusive than not, but in Perumani, it beautifully complements the film and gives it the energy it needs at the exact phases. Cinematographer Manesh Madhavan’s close-ups also flesh out the characters’ quirks.

Perumani verdict: Director Maju’s quirky satire has its heart in the right place. But at a time when people prefer going to theatres to watch spectacles or comedies, the quirkiness of this satire might not be enough to warrant a theatrical visit.

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