“I wake up every day dreaming about Iravin Nizhal, my upcoming film,” says actor-director Radhakrishnan Parthiban. Iravin Nizhal is another first-of-its-kind ; it will be a single-shot feature. “The idea has been in my head for five years and it is finally taking shape,” he says.
Parthiban is well known for his unique attempts — as an actor and director. His last film was a thriller, Oththa Seruppu Size 7 , a solo act with only one character played by him. Considered a rare attempt in Indian cinema, Parthiban thought that it would be nominated for the Academy Awards 2019. “I spent several lakhs on screenings to jury members to take my film directly to the Oscar list,” he says. That, however, did not happen. But the actor is undeterred. “I have been trying to make Oththa Seruppu Size 7 for 15 years. The audience has welcomed it and the response was uplifting. My audiences are my friends, and I keep my fans close to me.”
Parthiban says he tries pushing himself with every project. “One of my earlier films Kathai Thiraikathai Vasanam Iyakkam came with a tagline ‘A film without a story’ and it clicked with the audience. I was amazed by their comments on social media.It’s not about celebrating me, but my ideas. I still get claps (ISI marked claps!) from my audience because I reinvent myself.” Remembering the legends of Tamil Cinema, Parthiban says, “Kalaignar [Karunanidhi], Kavignar Vaali and K Balachander are always amidst us. The spontaneity and wit of Kalaignar is something I cherish every single day. My satire is nothing in front of his dialogues in Parasakthi . Also, K Balachander... there have been many days when I have stayed back in theatres to watch back-to-back shows of his films. They still live on through their work.”
- Parthiban will be acting with Vijay Sethupathy in Tughlaq Darbar, and feels that this pairing will be something to look out for. “Our pairing will be something to look out for,” promises Parthiban. He is also acting in a web series called Suzhal directed by Pushkar and Gayatri, the husband and wife filmmaker duo who made films like Oram Po , Va-Quarter Cutting and Vikram Vedha .
He describes the women in his family as his ‘strength’. “Be it my amma or my daughters Keerthana and Abhi, they are my pillars (when I ask my daughters if I should buy an apartment or make another Oththa ...they pick the film). Even in my first film, it is the husband who falls at his wife’s feet. In Kathai, Thiraikathai ... it’s the husband who gives his wife a foot massage. You don’t have to necessarily always hold a woman’s hand to say that you are there for her... you can also touch her feet,” he says.
When he started out as an assistant director with actor-director K Bhagyaraj, he says he was amazed by the talent he saw around him. “I didn’t have a choice but to sharpen my skills to survive. I grew up watching classics that consumed me and sucked me into a different world. When I started looking for work in cinema, there have been times when I went hungry for several days. I owe everything to cinema. I want to keep dreaming big and stay new. I want to hold on to the warmth of my dreams.”
Parthiban was at Odyssey book store in Brookefields Mall, Coimbatore, to launch the reprint editions of his books Kirukkalgal and Kathai, Thiraikathai, Vasanam, Iyakkam and for a meet-and-greet session with readers.