Parthiepan talks about his novel attempt & his hunger for experiments

Chennai: “Even after 30 years, audience expect something new and innovative in my films. I have to work hard to live up to their expectations. I consider that a boon. It emboldens me to come out with a film like Oththa Seruppu Size 7,” says actor-director Parthiepan.

Oththa Seruppu, produced, written and enacted by Parthiepan, is literally a one-man show. Running a little over two hours, it is out-and-out Parthiepan show.

Speaking to News Today, Parthiepan says, “Cinema is a treasure to me. It is like an ‘Aladdin Lamp’ in my hands. The more I rub, I come out with engaging and entertaining films.”

Excerpts from his interview:

Q: What compelled you to do a film like Oththa Seruppu?
A: After Kadhai Thiraikadhai Vasanam Iyakkam, a producer approached me with a hefty cheque to do a film. Little later I realised that the cheque bounced. Came another producer with a request to do a romantic film impressed with the love portions in Kadhai Thiraikadhai… His cheque too bounced. I lost over six months of my time, working for those scripts. I should thank the latter for I got a script to do a web series. I conceived the idea for Oththa Seruppu almost a decade ago. Also, half-a-dozen stories were in my hand. I generally narrate stories to my children (Keerthana and Rocky). The more they get impressed, I would add more intriguing and interesting elements. That’s how Oththa Seruppu began. Since it was my home production, I had the responsibility of convincing them both. Things actually took a shape when cinematographer Ramji became thoroughly convinced with the script and edged me to start the project the very next week. His faith gave me the energy and courage to get, set and go.

Q: What were the challenges faced while making the movie?
A: It is a not a regular drama. I had to do everything myself. I had to show everything from a small room. It needed huge preparation before we went for shoot. And when we went on floors, I was less convinced. And after a couple of days, several questions popped up in my mind. I was wondering whether I should proceed with it or not. Those in the sets gave me confidence and said that they feel it is something fresh and new that they like. After five days of edit, we sat and saw the rushes only to be filled with joy. It was almost what I ran through in my mind before I began the project. I felt this will happen and will be riveting.

Q: How did you prepare yourself for the role?
A: The actor Parthiepan deserves all credit. I could have easily done it with a ‘happening actor’. But one look at the mirror, I felt I was convincing as Masilamani. The actor in me complimented the writing with right expressions. He had that perplexed looks. There was humour, satire, anger and all emotions needed in the performance and those who watched it said that I could bring it out through my eyes.

Q: The hunger for ‘experiments’ on screen. Is it a pleasure or burden for you?
A: Even after thirty years, audience expect something new and innovative in my films. I have to work hard to live up to their expectations. I consider that a boon. It emboldens me to come out with a film like Oththa Seruppu Size 7.

Q: Was record in your mind when Oththa Seruppu was conceived?
A: It was a record for a single person to write, direct, act and produce a film. I wanted to start it immediately before anyone could ever think of one. And we have screened the films in various international festivals and even sent it to Oscars. A film for any festival including Deepavali and Pongal (chuckles).

Q: On laurels Oththa Seruppu received so far…
A: I am happy that whoever watched the film have heaped praises. Veterans like Abirami Ramanthan, Ananda Suresh or filmmaker Shankar have labelled it a riveting fare. And superstar Rajinikanth even wondered whether I should take such a pain and hardwork after watching the film. I remember when my first producer Babji took me to Rajinikanth some thirty years ago and in a flash looking at me, Rajini urged him to do a film featuring me as hero. He said that he could see a spark in my eyes.

When I requested Resul Pookutty to design sound for Oththa Seruppu, he wanted to see the film first. He watched and was floored completely. He said that he had not seen such a show before in world cinema. His sound design has added more strength to Oththa Seruppu.

M BHARAT KUMAR