Iravin Nizhal – The unbelievable efforts overshadow the movie itself

Note of thanks: A huge thanks to Mr.Parthiban for the very conception of this idea to make one of the World’s first and a very proud film for Tamil and Indian Cinema.

I would like to split the review into two halves just like the movie, the pre and post interval.

Pre-Interval: The Making – You read it right. The first 30 minutes on the screen is a detailed documentary of the making of the film. This according to me was the best part of my entire experience in the theatre, besides some restless sighs around. This man is a real genius in terms of making the most complex things in Cinema. Huge respect for his never diminishing hunger to make good Cinema.

The real heroes here are the tireless people behind the scenes. The entire team keeps running around for the entire duration setting up multiple blocks, setting up sets and lights for the next sequences, artists running around to make over in seconds. 23 takes, more than 10 times failing on the 40th minute or over, twice on the 90th minute or over – we could literally see the tiring, frustrated faces all over. The most physically tiring job must have been of the Cinematographer, we get tired looking at Arthur A. Wilson carrying that huge gimbal through out the 100 minutes (excluding failed attempts).

And finally, when the shoot wraps up with the ‘Okay’ take and everyone screams out of joy, I was literally in tears.

Post Interval: Iravin Nizhal – What is so uncomfortable for me to review ‘Iravin Nizhal’ is that ultimately, I would also need to look at it just like any other movie from a Layman’s perspective who is not aware or not necessarily be aware of all the technical complications and the very fact of this being a ‘Single Shot’ movie. Because the film has its great moments but also its own flaws.

The story is something that we have seen but the writing makes it look fresh with some unexpected events that are more realistic and at the same time dramatic that is needed for such a raw and dark genre. The ‘Non heroic’ moments work so well throughout and applies to all the characters who played Nandhu (one of them really did not make any contribution at all). The 3 actors who play the female pair opposite Nandhu have done justice and it was Brigida who stands out. Parthiepan is as usual brilliant with his witty dialogues and quirky sequences in most of the places.

The most challenging and mind-blowing thing to watch is the non-linear story telling on screen. With a single shot, the transition between locations (thanks to the amazing set design), the timelines, from day to night, from indoor to outdoor were so seamless. And there are transitions which are brilliantly planned on writing phase itself. Nandhu makes thousands of sins, guilty about one and busted for something that he has not done – the irony is so interesting to watch and works really well.

What really disturbs me? Firstly, it is the never-ending monologue by Nandhu (Parthiepan) throughout the movie. It was a smart idea what he does to narrate the story to the audience through monologue, but I felt it went beyond the need and interfered in scenes which would have worked on its own. Instead, Nandhu continues to explain things which are understood just visually. Maybe, the writing was extra conscious in making the audience understand better mainly because this is made in one shot. I sense this is because, filming at one go must be perfectly planned and is more like a stage drama execution and you cannot make any flaws. In the process, everything was so precise with timing in a movie where there are scenes which need a bit more time to hold and convey the emotion. These emotions help the audience to be engaged even in a story with not much twists and turns which I felt was missing here.

Secondly, setting up the mindset of the audience. I was super thrilled to see the first 30 minutes of making and I felt it was a brilliant idea. But on the other hand, what it does is it implants the complexity and the key factor that this is a single shot movie in the minds of the audience which made me conscious about the shots and transitions before getting aligned to the actual story. I would have loved to watch the film without even being aware of the technical complications.

Besides cinematography and art design, the other pillar of the movie is the genius in A.R.Rahman with his background score who also helps in taking this movie to a much larger audience. ‘Kaayam’ track was intriguing which sets the tone right at the beginning and makes me glued to the seat.

As an audience, I think we play a major role on taking such unique attempts forward to make sure to see more wonders in Tamil/Indian Cinema. On that note, ‘Iravin Nizhal’ is a must watch for its first of a kind film making in the world and deserves to be applauded and celebrated big time.