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It’s not easy to satisfy the creator in me: Parthiban on Iravin Nizhal

While Parthiban himself is producing Iravin Nizhal under the banner of Bioscope Film Framers, Kalaipuli S Thanu's V Creations is presenting it 

  • S Subhakeerthana

Last Updated: 02.38 AM, Jun 12, 2022

It’s not easy to satisfy the creator in me: Parthiban on Iravin Nizhal
Parthiban in Iravin Nizhal/Twitter

Radhakrishnan Parthiban's directorial venture, Iravin Nizhal, which the makers claim to be Asia’s first single-shot film, will hit theatres on June 24.

Parthiban tells OTTplay that the story idea struck him at 4.30 in the morning. “A random incident made me come up with the concept of Iravin Nizhal, although I have been having it in my head for almost five years,” he says.

Parthiban was also promoting Iravin Nizhal at the recently-held 75th Cannes Film Festival 2022, along with his filmmaker-daughter Keerthana. “It was quite an experience and a proud moment. People were thrilled to know more about my film in France. It stood out among the rest of the Indian titles. I always try to experiment with things, and that has been my only constant, ever since Pudhiya Padhai. A single shot can be used to tell any story, but I have figured out a way to tell a non-linear story in such a format using a new technique.”

More than 300 actors and 150 technicians worked together in 90 days to achieve one single shot. Iravin Nizhal runs for around 100 minutes and features Varalaxmi Sarathkumar, Robo Shankar, Brigida Saga, Priyanka Ruth, and Parthiban himself.

The film has Arthur Wilson on cinematography, and a music score by double Oscar-winning composer, AR Rahman. The music director and Parthiban were to collaborate on a film titled Yelelo twenty years ago, but that didn't materialise. “It's a blessing that I had Rahman sir on board for Iravin Nizhal. He was extremely enthusiastic when I ran the initial idea by him. He brought a unique value to the film, which no other composer would have!”

Parthiban’s last directorial venture Oththa Seruppu Size 7 has shown aspiring directors that a film can be made with just one character. Likewise, Iravin Nizhal will show the world of celluloid how non-linear stories can be told in just one take.

Parthiban clarifies that it is a simple story, and could have been made with cuts as a conventional film. “But I didn't want to take that route. My goal was to show off my technical abilities. If you hear the songs, you'll get a fair idea of what's going on. Although Iravin Nizhal is filled with exaggeration, the audience will leave the theatre with a heavy heart after watching it. The film runs high on emotions.”

During three months, team Iravin Nizhal erected over 50 sets on 23 acres. “I lost count of the number of times I watched my film. Still, I’m not completely happy with the output. There had been instances where I thought I should incorporate changes. But, that’s the beauty of cinema. As a creator, you never get satisfied easily!”

Was there ever an editor involved in the process? “Editors play no role in Iravin Nizhal. In the end credits, I added the editor tag as the film was not edited digitally, but in the script book. In this case, I have credited myself with the direction, story, and screenplay, in addition to editing. There was a massive challenge logistic-wise. As a team, we overcame it through improvisations.”

Notably, Mani Ratnam had unveiled the first look poster of Iravin Nizhal, which featured Parthiban holding a torch light in the thick of darkness. On the acting front, he was signed to play a pivotal role in Ratnam's adaptation of Ponniyin Selvan. However, he opted out of the project, due to his filmmaking commitments.

Speaking about Iravin Nizhal, AR Rahman was all praise for Parthiban's style of filmmaking. “When I heard the film was going to be made in one shot, I could imagine the movie to be something. Parthiban showed me the whole rehearsal. He is an interesting artiste to work with, and also has a childlike enthusiasm about storytelling.”

In addition to AR Rahman, the film's crew includes two more Oscar winners-Craig Mann (Sound Designer) and Cottalango Leon (VFX Supervisor).

However, the makers of Agadam (2014), a Tamil horror-drama helmed by Mohamad Issack, claim theirs to be the first film shot in a single take. The debut director also holds the Guinness World Record for the longest uncut film. It was filmed in two hours, three minutes and 30 seconds by cinematographer Nauzad.