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Peranmai Movie review
We've seen plenty of patriotic Tamil movies in the past, starting from Mani Ratnam's Roja, Arjun's Jai Hind, Kamal Haasan's Indian, Priyadarshan's Sirai Chaalai, to name a few. Unlike these films highly inspired by the love for our country, National Award winning director S.P. Jananathan's third directorial venture Peranmai, starring Jayam Ravi, has an unique characteristic. Ayngaran International's Deepavali release Peranmai is completely free from romance, sentiments, amateurish comedy, kuthu songs and item numbers; it is a complete expression of patriotism filled with edge-of-the-seat moments. In fact, Tamil cinema history had very few instances in which the entire audiences stood in front of their seats, giving a big round of applause while the movie credits scrolled on the screen! Peranmai is one such movie!
The film begins with scenes of Indian scientists at a remote satellite research station in a forest, busily preparing for the launch of a remote sensing satellite which can help them identify the fertile land for agriculture. Within the same forest, the Forest Department conducts a NCC camp for nearly 30 women cadets, of whom five cadets will be selected for trekking in the forest and participating in the national parade on Independence Day.
On the way to the NCC camp, the girls, led by Victoria (Urvashi), happen to meet a tribal group and its member Duruvan (Jayam Ravi). Unaware that Duruvan is the only highly educated tribal in that area and is also appointed as a forest guard to train the cadets at the NCC camp, these girls try to make fun of him, giving rise to some humour.
To their surprise, they later find that Duruvan is their trainer. Just because he is from a tribal community, the girls, especially Ajitha (Vasundra), Jennifer (Saranya), Kalpana (Varsha), Thulasi (Tanusika) and Suseela (Liyasree) show their disrespect for Duruvan. Irked by his instructive nature, the naughty girls even dare to trap him in a complaint alleging sexual abuse. While Duruvan selects these same five girls for the expedition, but the girls post a complaint letter to their senior officer Ganapathi Ram (Ponnvannan) claiming they feel no safety in going with Duruvan to the forest.
With the planned agenda to create truble for Duruvan in the forest, the girls start the journey with him. When Duruvan stops the jeep at the check post to clear the procedures, the girls coolly drive the jeep and collide into the downslope of the hill. The group has no choice but to stay back in the forest and they plan to return by an alternate route the next morning. But the story takes a different turn when a girl in the troop spots two white men with advanced weapons heading to the direction of the satellite research centre. Duruvan goes in search of the foreigners and finds that they are part of a group of 16 international terrorists with the latest weapons. How Duruvan and the girls plan to defeat their nefarious operations to destroy the satellite launch forms the rest of the film.
As the story indicates, Peranmai has a commendable storyline. Though we cannot compare Peranmai with Sylvester Stallone's Rambo series (it was earlier touted the Peranmai is similar to Rambo!), it has some breathtaking action sequences we never experienced in Tamil cinema before. It is clear that the director has done deep research over forest regions. this is also evident from the protagonist's explanation of the riddles and nature of forest, elephants and birds. Jayam Ravi is the heart-throb of show and has done full justice to his role. We must appreciate his bold act of appearing semi-nude in the opening scenes. Cinematography by Sateesh Kumar is extraordinary and music by Vidhyasagar gells with the mood of the film.
Having mentioned some of the strengths, Peranmai does have major weaknesses as well. First, the film violates the basics of common sense at many places. For instance, is it beleivable when the brawniest guys with heavy weapons run for their lives when empty-handed girls chase them? At another occasion, one of the terrorists happens to meet Ravi and the girl face-to-face, but to our surprise, the guy prefers to fight with Ravi with bare hands, though he has AK 47. Would an armed terrorist take up the challenge to attack his enemy with bare hands?
Want another example? The six member troop faces several dangers in the dense forest, including an attack from a tusker, but amidst those life-threatening moments, the girls sing and dance as they are on an excursion. The lack of seriousness from such NCC cadets is annoying! Moreover, how could a person like Jajam Ravi just bump off Roland Kickinger -- in seconds? Beyond all, the makers have simply wasted the talents of two great actors Urvashi and Vadivelu who have literally no chance to perform.
Peranmai certainly takes us to the level of complete mindless entertainment, especially during the second half, and is one of the best action thrillers in recent times.