You have to give it to them — whatever Peraanmai (U/A) is or isn’t, the sincerity of its hero and director comes through in every frame. Generally ‘Jayam’ Ravi doesn’t shine much in productions that don’t involve brother, director Raja. Dhaam Dhoom can be considered an exception. Now Peraanmai clearly proves that Ravi can make it on his own. The plot that challenges the formulaic pattern of Tamil cinema is a major plus. Writer-director S.P. Jhananathan’s mettle, which was evident in his national award winning debut film, Iyarkai, and also in E, comes to the fore yet again in Peraanmai.
Five cadets at an NCC training camp are selected to enter a virgin jungle with forest guard and coach Dhruva (Ravi). What begins as an interesting dawn to dusk outing for the girls, whose only resentment is the company of Dhruva, turns nightmarish when they stumble upon a conspiracy to thwart the country’s satellite mission …
It is obvious that Ravi has literally sweated it out for that well-toned physique and is very different from the lover boy of Santhosh Subramaniam. The nagging factor however is his dialogue delivery. It may be the director’s idea of naturalness but the lack of modulation gets exasperating. Otherwise his agility in action and his serious demeanour are commendable. A milestone in the young hero’s career!
The immaturity of the five girls slows down the pace considerably in the first half. Their unwarranted hatred for Dhruva and the humiliation they heap on him go beyond the limit of prankish behaviour. That’s why when you see him enjoy their singing and dancing, his thick-skinned reaction is perplexing!
The cadets are no muscle-women so it is strange to see them operate huge guns and machinery with ease! After all they are only a part of the NCC, right? Also, Dhruva’s profound knowledge of everything from missiles and rocket launchers to guns and bombs has to be taken with a few pinches of salt!
Yet if the film moves at a terrific pace post-interval, making the viewer forget such discrepancies, the screenplay, stunts (Michael) and Ravi’s execution of them are reasons. Ponvannan as the biased senior officer who constantly harps on the fact that Dhruva doesn’t deserve the position he’s got is an apt foil. Putting his life in jeopardy Dhruva goes for the enemies’ jugular, but finally it is Ponvannan, who is honoured for his gallantry! The intelligence in the irony evokes a smile.
The forest, where most of the action takes place, is both exciting and ominous. The beauty of the locations and Sathish Kumar’s cinematography are other enhancing aspects. You feel sorry for Roland Kickinger. After flexing all those huge biceps, the sinewy Hollywood actor and body builder, is trounced by our hero in a matter of minutes! The other guys too just allow themselves to be sitting ducks! Thankfully Jhananathan doesn’t have foreigners speaking accented Tamil — the use of subtitles is appealing.
Peraanmai is one of those rare films where the hero doesn’t have a romantic track. Plaudits to Jhananathan’s boldness!
Vidyasagar’s opening ‘Kaattu Puli Adichu’ song stands out for the shots, editing, music and the lyric (Vairamuthu).
Despite the scepticism you feel, and the initial slowness, Peraanmai promises thrilling action in the second half.
Director: S.P. Jhananathan
Cast: ‘Jayam’ Ravi, Ponvannan, Vadivelu, Dhanushika, Liya, Saranya, Varsha, Vasundhara
Storyline: With just five girl cadets for company the hero foils an international bid to destroy the country’s space efforts!
Bottomline: Stands out for its racy second half and the hero’s hard work