The odd couple

Narai Ezudhum Suyasaritham, director manikandan and Delhi Ganesh

Narai Ezudhum Suyasaritham with director manikandan and Delhi Ganesh

We have full-length feature films and then we have short films. Director K. Manikandan, however, has made Narai Ezhuthum Suyasaritham as a film that falls somewhere in between. “I wanted to make an independent film exclusively for film festivals,” says Manikandan, explaining the one-hour 23-minute duration of his film. “Since I wasn’t interested in a theatrical release, I was able to make the film exactly the way I had imagined, without pandering to commercial requisites.”

The film that is currently making the rounds in festivals is also expected to be screened at Busan, Vienna and Singapore film festivals in the coming months.

Narai… is about the unlikely friendship of two very different people. “One is a just-retired Vaidyanathan who is coping with loneliness. The other is an unemployed youth who has no means for his next meal. When they meet, they form a symbiotic relationship, and this relationship cheers them up.” While the director himself plays the role of the youngster, he cast Delhi Ganesh to play Vaidyanathan, who after decades of working, is forced into an early retirement. “People tend to follow a routine for decades, in which time they train themselves to function like a machine. Once they retire, this routine is disturbed, pushing them into a state of loneliness where they no longer know how to deal with a new lifestyle.”

Manikandan says Delhi Ganesh was his first choice for Narai… “He agreed to work in the film for just one-fifth of his usual remuneration. By the end of the film, I couldn’t even afford to pay him that and he asked me to use the difference to make the film better. Even during shoots, he convinced several people to give us locations. Once, our crew got into an altercation with the police and it was he who stepped up and sorted it out for us,” says Manikandan.

After the film’s first screening in Chennai, the director says that many actors approached him with offers of converting the film into a full feature with some even volunteering to play the role of the youngster. “But I don’t know if I can make the same film again, even if it means more money,” he signs off.

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2022 3:24:44 pm |