Zac Harriss: Adrishyam will pave way for debutants to helm films that explore bilingual territories
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Zac Harriss: Adrishyam will pave way for debutants to helm films that explore bilingual territories

The bilingual, titled Yuki in Tamil, has just wrapped up its shooting

Sanjith Sidhardhan
Sep 20, 2021
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Narain and Zac Harris

It’s already tough enough when debutant directors pick a multi-starrer for their first venture. But director Zac Harriss has upped the challenge by picking a bilingual that had to be shot simultaneously and with a different set of cast members for each language. In the Malayalam film Adrishyam, the cast consists of Joju George and Sharafudheen while the Tamil one has Kathir, Anandi and Natarajan Subramaniam with Narain starring in both versions.  

 The team concluded the shoot of the film, which began earlier this year, recently. Ask Zac why he opted to do a bilingual instead of a straight film and the director says, “While I was thinking about the basic idea of the story, I was also wondering if it would work in both languages, and because it did, we decided to go ahead with the bilingual. Dubbing a movie in another language would have compromised its soul.”

 The director also tells us that he hasn’t tweaked the script to appeal to any particular sensibilities. “Each story has a unique culture and geography and the story should be made keeping that into account. I believe that the apt setting for Adrishyam/Yuki is in Chennai and that storyline, being apt and acceptable for the Malayalam audience as well just happened naturally. So, we haven’t deliberately modified it to suit the bilingual framework in any way,” he explains.

The team of Adrishyam and Yuki during its pack-up

 On using two different sets of casts for Adrishyam and Yuki, the director says that “the scenes for each language were conceived, composed and shot in a way to suit the particular meter of the particular language and the performance of the artists’ were also very dependent on the metre of the movies”. “It would be more apt to call these two different films instead of a bilingual movie. As the cut points, rendering, character rendering, dialogue delivery and the performance of the characters themselves were unique for Tamil and Malayalam, we shot distinctly different scenes for the Tamil and Malayalam versions,” he says.

 The movie, which is a drama-thriller with suspense and mystery elements, was shot in different parts of Chennai and Pondicherry. On shooting for the two languages simultaneously, the director says, “When the meter and the dynamics of the languages are distinctly different, it was not a very easy task for me to execute the idea or to get the optimal performance of the artists, right away. When I was doing one sequence in Tamil and the same in Malayalam next, I needed to have two judgments at the same time and that was a huge challenge to brave.”

 The casting, however, helped ease this. “Every artiste was apt for their respective roles, and because the casting was done right, getting good performance from each artiste was easier,” explains the director.

 Now that the team has completed filming, the director says that it was a huge learning experience and opportunity to work with a big star cast and budget. “I believe that this experience will definitely guide me through my journey as a director. I also think that this movie will pave the way for many debut directors like me to come up with scripts like these that are big enough to explore bilingual territories in future,” concludes the director. 

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