‘I’ll continue to take risks’

Parthiban chats about the need to offer something unfamiliar with every film outing

The one-minute teaser of Oththa Seruppu Size 7, written and directed by Radhakrishnan Parthiban, reveals, through a series of gripping images, that it is a murder mystery. But, the reason the teaser has set social media buzzing is because only one person figures in it and that is Parthiban himself. There is a powerful voice-over in the background from Parthiban where he questions the inequality in society. “It’s a solo act film,” announces the actor as he settles down for a quick chat. “Just a handful of films, about 12 solo act films, have been made so far around the world.” His film is unique as he has not only acted in it but has also written, directed and produced it. “I have to keep experimenting to stay in the minds of audience.”

Parthiban has a repertoire of over 60 films as an actor, which also includes some of the the recent ones like Ayogya and Naanum Rowdy Dhaan. He has been a part of the industry for more than two decades, and he says his love for cinema is undiminished. “I will continue to take risks. As a director, one of my earlier films Kathai, Thiraikathai, Vasanam, Iyakkam, came with a tagline ‘A film without a story’ and it clicked with the audience. With Oththa Seruppu Size 7, I am trying out the single act. If people like it, I win. I get to take home all the praise and the money too,” he laughs.

All his earlier films as an actor and director like Koditta Idangalai Nirappuga, Kudaikkul Mazhai and Housefull (it won a National award) were unique attempts as well. “Some films click with the audience while some fail. But I will keep trying. Cinema is my jeevan and not just a money-making business.” Oththa Seruppu Size 7 has cinematography by Ramji (known for films like Aayirathil Oruvan), music by Santhosh Narayanan and sound by Resul Pookutty. “We have roped in big names to reach out to a bigger audience.”

Parthiban draws parallels with director S Balachander, who made films like Bommai in the 1960s. He says, “The director was known for his unconventional storytelling and he produced, directed, acted, sang and composed music for a dozen films. The films flopped, but, even today, youngsters go back and watch his films to learn nuances of cinema, right from the way the titles roll. That’s the kind of impact he left behind. I consider cinema as my biggest asset and I have to leave an indelible mark for many generations later. I am not here just for the time-being.”

Parthiban says the tagline to Othatha Seruppu … about the rich-poor divide won praise from no less an actor than Satyaraj, a self-confessed MGR fan. “He said that my film encapsulated the message conveyed by so many MGR films. I was very happy as my films deal with the underprivileged, right from my first directorial venture, Pudhiya Paadhai. In MGR’s films, the underprivileged person is shown as yogyan, while I portray him as an ayogyan…

The audience have to be exposed to new genres, insists Parthiban. “I have to keep offering something new for survival. What they look for is something unfamiliar… and I keep working on that with every film.”

Parthiban was in Coimbatore recently to inaugurate The Chennai Biriyani outlet in the city.

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