Iravin Nizhal will open new avenues to aspiring directors: R Parthiban

National award-winning filmmaker-actor R Parthiban in this interview with DT Next talks about his single-shot non-linear project Iravin Nizhal that will hit the screens on June 24 and how the film was edited on the paper and not in the digital format He also opens up on why he opts for producing his own movies
Iravin Nizhal will open new avenues to aspiring directors: R Parthiban
Filmmaker-actor R Parthiban

CHENNAI: Parthiban talks to us from his office as he instructs his assistants on work that is to be completed prior to the release of his Iravin Nizhal, which is another unique attempt from the filmmaker. The single-shot non-linear film comes after his Otha Seruppu Size7, in which he was the only character that won him the National award. When you ask the multi-talented Parthiban on how he manages to find such stories, he says, “You won’t believe that a story idea struck me at 4:20 this morning. I know it is an odd time to be up and for a story idea to hit you but it happened to me. I could even get an idea from a brief conversation with a stranger or even a wrong number. There is no boundary for our imagination. One such random incident and my imagination culminated into Iravin Nizhal. I have several such ideas running in my mind and have stored them in the form of scripts.”

Parthiban’s scripts and the way he presents them are neoteric and take the audience by surprise. “I am certainly not here to be typecast or make clichéd films. I make it a point to do things that are out-of-the-box. I used to think, why couldn’t we make a movie like The Children of Heaven when Majid Majidi can make one. There are enough and more sources for stories here and plenty of talent yet we haven’t channelised it properly. Tamil cinema has evolved a lot ever since the arrival of Bharathiraja. He showed future filmmakers the new avenues to make films. Until his arrival, cinema was good but was restricted. Similarly, by doing a film like Otha Seruppu, there are aspiring directors, who would have realised that a film can be made with a single character. When Iravin Nizhal releases, the world of celluloid will know that a non-linear story can be made in a single shot. Any story can be made in a single-shot format but I have found out a way for a non-linear film to be made in such a format with a new technique,” remarks the actor-director.

Parthiban also clarifies that the story is simple and could also have been made as a normal film with cuts. “There is a strong emotional connection in Iravin Nizhal that people can relate to. It has a universal theme to it. Though this could have also been made as a film with normal edits and retakes, I wanted to display my technical prowess. If you hear a song from the album, you will have a fair idea of the story. There are a few elements for exaggeration but people will leave the theatre with a heavy heart after they finish watching Iravin Nizhal,” he adds.

Asked if producers are forthcoming to Parthiban’s vision of films, he candidly says, “No. And I really don’t understand why producers think such films won’t make money? The story of my films may be offbeat but haven’t they been commercially viable? This has pushed me to a situation where I am not in a place to sit and narrate a story and explain why this would work. At the end of the day, I have earned respect through my work and Iravin Nizhal will elevate it further. Even when I narrated it to Rahman, he found the script to be dense and agreed to be a part of it. His presence gave the team a much-needed morale boost. Apart from that a few well-wishers came on board as producers,” he tells us.

The film required daunting rehearsal sessions and huge sets. “We worked across three months and erected over 50 sets in across 23 acres. It was a lot of hardwork and when I watch Iravin Nizhal, I would still find a few faults. However, I still enjoy it and that is the beauty of cinema. I make errors when I try and I avoid them in my next film. In the last couple of years, there wasn’t a single penny that was credited to my account. But I am still here making movies because I enjoy the process. In fact, things haven’t been organic for the film. I was looking for sponsors for the audio launch that was held in Nehru Indoor Stadium in Chennai recently but there were none. I wanted to put up a banner that said ‘No Sponsors’,” he smiles.

So, was there no editor involved ever in the process? “No editor has any role to play in Iravin Nizhal. That reminds me that in the end credits, I have also added the editor tag to my name as the film was edited on the scriptbook and not digitally. It has always been conceived and crafted by R Parthiban. This time, I have ended with crediting myself with the direction, story and screenplay along with editing,” he concludes.

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