Perumani Review | An Impressive Satire That Strikes a Pleasing Balance

Maju KB’s latest film Perumani, is an eccentric satire that mocks a range of things in the format of a comedy set against the backdrop of an imaginary village. The caricature-ish tone of characters is always putting the movie at risk of being an overdone comedy. But by keeping the verbal part minimal and emphasizing more on the actions and gestures, Maju strikes a pleasing balance. And with its political subtext never really showing up in an evident way, Perumani succeeds in being true to its genre.

As I already mentioned, the movie is set in this fictional village named Perumani, and it has a story of its own. It is believed that long back, a religious priest named Perumani Thangal had saved the village from the curse of a thief who took revenge on the villagers for catching him. In the present day, a poster appears in Perumani, saying the wedding of Fathima, the sister of Mujeeb, with Nassar, won’t happen. This triggers Nassar, who starts to do an investigation on his own. How that investigation evolves and what happens during that process is what we see in Perumani.

The simplest way to describe the movie would be, what if Sathyan Anthikkadu opted for a Wes Anderson-style treatment for Ponmuttayidunna Tharavu? The lensing and presentation of characters is done in a way that the more eccentric they are the more whacky the visualization featuring them. There are a zillion characters in the story, and interestingly, we don’t lose track of them. In fact, in many cases it was very impressive how Maju managed to convey a huge backstory most minimally; the equation between the two mothers of Abhi is one example. 

Vinay Forrt, who appears with that mustache that he flaunted during the promotions of Ramachandra Boss & Co., was easily the best performer. The screen time isn’t huge, as there are so many other characters in the film. The character of Nassar is a typical male with a humongous ego and narrow worldview. Hence Maju has made that character extremely comical. Vinay has cracked the character perfectly, and the scene where he justifies his madness as normalcy was outright hilarious. Lukman plays a sane character in the film, and I liked his casual romantic chemistry with Deepa Thomas. Someone should plan a very organic and conversational romantic film with Lukman. Fathima, played by Deepa Thomas, pretty much acts like a bridge between the hyper and normal characters. And her performance also shuttles between those two frequencies, and it was done neatly. 

Sunny Wayne’s character isn’t much of a challenge, and it was good to see him opt for a role that isn’t giving him any star vanity. Navas Vallikkunnu was hilarious as the religious leader, and so was Vijilesh with the comedy timing. Appan fame Radhika Radhakrishnan is there as that empowered and enlightened woman. The actors who played the part of Abhi’s mothers were memorable. Almost all the supporting actors who represented the native people managed to create a space for themselves.

Perumani is not a film that relies entirely on the writing part. The colors and extremely wide-angle lenses are actually essential tools for the movie to communicate the pitch of the comedy they want to deliver. It is a mix of characters and genres. Nassar played by Vinay Forrt, is always shown through pretty odd lenses. Maju and DOP Manesh Madhavan opt for zooms and Dutch angles frequently, to make sure the audience gets the amplification of the comedy. Since the movie’s first half is largely used to setting up the premise and characters, the comical highs are minimal. But just like Ponmuttayidunna Tharavu, there is a hilarious culmination happening in the last quarter of the runtime. From gender politics to religious satire, the writing covers a lot of themes in that phase with the support of terrific acting.

Perumani from Maju is an enjoyable satire that really peaks towards the end. More than a moral of the story approach, I felt the effort was to normalize several rebellious decisions without giving them too much of a spotlight. Perumani was one movie where I could see the effort in terms of craft to enhance an idea that had a very minimal margin of error.

Final Thoughts

Perumani was one movie where I could see the effort in terms of craft to enhance an idea that had a very minimal margin of error.


Green: Recommended Content

Orange: The In-Between Ones

Red: Not Recommended


By Aswin Bharadwaj

Founder and editor of Lensmen Reviews.