Iravin Nizhal Tamil Movie
Certain films spark a never-ending debate about their existential purpose. Films' are a matter of perspective. For audiences, they are a source of entertainment. For the producers and distributors, it is a business. For the directors, writers, and technicians, it serves as the tool to convey an emotion or a statement . "Iravin Nizhal", which is marketed as the world's first "single shot, non-linear film" belongs to the third category, where a unique creator like Parthiepan goes berserk with his penchant to stand out from the crowd.
The movie has to be seen as two different parts - the making and the actual film. This is the first for world cinema where the making and the goof-ups in the making are shown exclusively for the audiences as a featurette in the first half. We get a glimpse of the world that was constructed as a huge set for the film. We experience the filmmaking struggles along with the cast and the crew.
For the audiences who are largely ignorant or indifferent towards filmmaking, the first half would pass along as a boring documentary. We get to see AR Rahman giving his perspective on the challenges of composing music for this movie. Parthiepan and cinematographer Arthur Wilson narrate their struggles on moving the camera from one part of the set to another. Since it is a single-shot film, there is no concept of editing. The movie starts with "action" and ends with a "cut".
We empathize with Parthiepan, the producer as he takes us through the 23 "takes" that it took to make the movie. Whenever he explains what went wrong in a particular take, his commentary in the background makes us laugh and feel sorry at the same time. At the end of the 23rd take when the crew realise that the ordeal has finally come to an end, we could feel the joy overwhelming within us. One can't ask for a more peculiar interval block.
After the interval, "Iravin Nizhal", the movie, starts to play. It is the story of a self-made arrogant film financier who finds himself at the receiving end when things go messy. He is on the run, and while hiding from the cops he recollects his life so far. Right from when he was born, his childhood, teenage years, days where he had to face struggle every day, to the present.
The movie employs crass and crude scenes and dialogues to narrate the story of a neglected and abused child. The sequences that segued from one to another were well thought out and orchestrated. The transitions were handled well and served as a tool for deception. What can be achieved with the 'cut' could be done using such a ploy. However, one cannot avoid the feeling that the director could have slipped in a cut or two during such transitions.
The only thing that went inside my head constantly was the choice of subject and how better this movie could have done had it employed a regular filmmaking approach. Also, why did this movie need to be this dark? Parthiepan could have opted for a lighter, feel-good movie that could have vibed well with a larger audience. Certain scenes and dialogues sounded unnecessary.
AR Rahman's score did help the movie to an extent. He was used more as a 'promotional magnet' to pull the audience. Cinematographer Arthur Wilson's cinematography commands a huge respect from us as he did the heavy lifting. Vijay Murugan's art is the fulcrum around which the movie spins. So, the movie's technicalities have been well handled given the constraints with which the movie has been made.
However, one gets the claustrophobic feel of sitting inside a house for nearly 2 long hours and watching crass and crude stuff unwind time and again. While the movie commands great respect for its making, the story and screenplay are nowhere close to what Parthiepan set out to accomplish. It was a crass-fest that had some half-baked characters whose motives were not clear.
The movie needed a much stronger screenplay. As an average movie goer, I don't care much about how the movie got made. I would rather weigh each movie with its content and the engagement index. On that count alone, "Iravin Nizhal" has failed to impress me as a film.