Somewhere in the middle of the movie, Razia (Meera Jasmine), a Muslim woman alongwith her father-in-law played by Mamu Koya walk to an agraharam. They are there to meet Ganga (Kavya Madhavan). Ganga’s husband Raghurama Iyer (Vineeth) was murdered by Razia’s husband Akbar (Dileep) in Saudi Arabia and Akbar is in jail waiting capital punishment. According to shariat, he can be forgiven if Ganga gives a letter and Razia has come to plead for this.
Raghurama Iyer’s brother Sethu sees them and knowing that Razia’s husband is the murderer of his brother, screams at them and unable to control his anger takes a bucket of soap water (as he was washing clothes) and throws at them. As Razia cries her heart out, rain starts falling. It is a powerful and heart breaking scene from Kamal’s movie.
The movie starts with the introduction of Razia who is waiting for the arrival of her husband from Saudi Arabia. Then news comes that he is in prison and will be put to death. Frantically they run to the local MLA who says that there is little he can do and asks them to meet the Chief Minister. As they lose hope, Akbar’s friend John (Biju Menon) comes and tells that there is a way out of the predicament. For this they need to get the letter of forgiveness from Ganga since the Shariat Court pays great value to it.
On the one side Ganga is grieving that she has become a young widow and on the other side Razia wants one signature to get her husband alive. The ending of this movie can be guessed by anyone who has the intelligence to know that you should not eat the peel of a banana. What is more interesting is how that happens. The tensions of the characters and how the ending comes about make for very interesting viewing.
The story of this movie is very touching and the it has been made with lot of realism. Even though the story is very simple, the narration is very focussed. There are no unnecessary scenes and unnecessary characters. Initially in the movie, both Ganga and Razia have to know the bad news and how that was done was very creative. In the case of Razia, her father-in-law comes to know the news first and keeps it away from her. Soon people of the village come to know and the character played by Salim Kumar blurts it out in front of her.
In the case of Ganga, her in-laws don’t tell her even though they comes to know. She walks out of the house in front of everyone on that Friday, expecting a call from her husband. There is a shot of her walking in the rain. Then the next time we see her, she is taking a dip in the river following the brahminical rituals for a widow. Here we see a good director at work.
T.A.Razak’s screenplay moves at a good pace and makes each character memorable. There is lot of crying in this movie, but each of those scenes don’t drag on and on. Each scene lasts just enough for the impact and soon we move to the next scene. Editor K Rajagopal chopped the film at the right moments.
This movie belongs to Meera Jasmine for her memorable portrayal of Razia. Kavya Madhavan did not get enough footage as Meera Jasmine, but in the scenes she appeared she made an impact with her role as Ganga. Mamu Koya gets to act for the first time, in the role as Akbar’s father, suffering all the pain and conveying that without much dialogue.
As a director we have heard that Kamal does not allow his actors to overact. Kamal’s control over actors is seen when even an actor like Mala Aravindan (the Salim Kumar of 80s) was not allowed to run loose. Salim Kumar gets to play his forte, an irritating character and even he does that well.
The sets of the movie are very natural and not the designer homes you see in other movies. There is dirt in the walls and water in the streets. The people in the movie do not wear any gaudy new clothes and look absolutely natural. Another highlight of the movie is M Jayachandran’s music and each song is beautiful.
In this movie the two families whose lives intersect belong to two different religions, but religion plays no part in the proceedings. The only point where it is explicitly mentioned is when a TV crew comes to interview Razia when she was turned down by Ganga’s family. When they ask her communal questions, Razia screams and screams at them and flings dirt at the camera. It is a great scene stating that this is a human problem and not a religious one.
P Sukumar’s camera work is good, but many of the shots are repeated and are not creative. There seems to be a shot looking at people through a window very often. The scene of a crying person sitting at the doorstep with rain in the backdrop is not new at all. During the time of Narasimhams, Tigers and Lions in Malayalam film industry and when script writers are manufacturing custom scripts to the likes of Saroj Kumar, it is encouraging to see a producer like Salim Padiyath making a movie with two female leads.
This movie has many powerful scenes, especially the encounters between Ganga and Razia. Both the actresses performed their roles very well, becoming the characters. Still Kamal found that he need to inject some high pitched Hindustani raaga at the end of the scenes of convey more pain. This was absolutely not necessary for the sound of the rain falling in the back was good enough for us. Similarly the ending was very cliched and artificially melodramatic.
Since the movie is named Perumazhakkalam, you can expect the liberal use of rain as a motif. Kamal used it so extensively that it becomes so predictable. When you see a scene without any rain, and you see Razia or Ganga, you know it is going to rain now and as if on cue, it rains. He could have used a bit more subtlety here.
This is one heartbreaking movie and we recommend it for a) fresh theme and b) the amazing performances of Meera Jasmine and Kavya Madhavan.