Tamil film Agadam has been shot from start to finish in a single take — from ‘action’ to ‘cut’, a Guinness World Record!

How long does it take to shoot and edit a feature length film? About two hours, if you ask debut director Mohamad Issack, who holds the Guinness World Record for the longest uncut film. A film that has been shot from start to finish in a single take — from Action to Cut.

Horror film Agadam begins with a bunch of dangerous looking men burying the body of a woman. Set in real time, the Tamil film spans two hours of what happens to them when the ghost of the woman returns to haunt them. Agadam also packs in a social message in its run time.

A game-changer?

Executive producer Kartik Gangadharan says: “This could be a game-changer for independent filmmakers and people with unique scripts. Get your actors, say ‘action’, stage the film and say ‘cut’ only as the film ends. We have reshot in the film in Telugu with professional actors and are also looking to also do it in Kannada,” reveals Kartik.

The challenge for Agadam was to be effective with no visual effects and provide thrills through continuous action.

The actors, all first-timers, went through the proceedings of an extremely physical film (the first few minutes involve them digging and filling up the hole) by literally sweating it out and improvising through the scenes. And if anything had to be destroyed and broken in the climax (and there’s an elaborate sequence), it all had to be done right the very first time because a retake would mean shooting everything again from the first scene. Like a stage play set in one location and captured with a hand-held camera, completely at night.

Given the genre and the inherent exploitative sensibility, Agadam may not find endorsement from critics but there’s no denying that it takes passion and commitment to pull off an experiment that requires the actors to perform non-stop for over two hours.

The film produced by Last Bench Boys Productions (a company run by writer-director Mohamad Issack and his friend Rasiyabi Mohamad) was shot last December in front of eye witnesses as required by the Guinness World Records, and the film was canned in two hours, three minutes and 30 seconds by E.J. Nauzad, the director of photography. The record was previously held by the Russian movie Russian Ark shot in 96 minutes.

Agadam features Baskar, Seenu Iyer, Thamizh, Kalaisekaran, Saravana Balaji, Sri Priyanka, Anisha and master Ajay. The songless film was awarded a U/A certificate and is awaiting release.