FILM NAME: OTHTHA SERUPPU
DIRECTOR: RADHAKRISHNAN PARTHIPEN
We have all heard about directors bringing characters to life. That’s what most films have done visually, in a specific way. But then, here comes Radhakrishnan Parthipen who reads the same sentence again and again, not to read it but instead, to interpret it in his own way. And the end result we get is “Oththa Seruppu, size 7”. Here the words are woven to form a character which in turn is brought to life by the splendid writing and phenomenal craftsmanship of this person. The pleasant consequence is somewhat of a journey which most of us would not have experienced in our film viewing experience.
The story is about Massilamani who is arrested and detained in a police station in charges for a murder. Later the modus operandi suggests similar murders in the same manner. Did he commit the murders or not? Well, Parthipen has another answer to it altogether.
The film begins with a tilted shot of a “seruppu” or shoe, with the wooden leg of a chair, somewhat resembling that of an iron leg, and after a few minutes we learn that the protagonist’s child suffers from a degenerative disorder, due to which the child’s body parts slowly lose their functionality one by one. And guess what the child’s most recently lost body part is? From the first frame Parthipen begins to play his classic metaphor game with us. Be it the brand of the fan rotating above his head, the saree-clad female doll, two happy birds in their nest or the colour of the kite, symbolization and metaphor is filled throughout the movie.
Apart from the dialogues, even the sounds act as a narrative device with Rasool Pookutty helming the engineering part of it. The sound engineering is so accurate that it literally brings the visuals of the narrated scene alive. Ramji’s cinematography accentuates the mood of the film and the colour seems to hit the bull’s eye on the tone and palette expected.
Can a film be both artistic and enjoyable for the audience at the same time? Indeed, Parthipen has achieved something very few filmmakers have been able to accomplish in Tamil cinema. Throughout the entirety of the 120-minute-long film, one cannot find a single minute to be distracted either through the aide of our cellphones or by the stranger seated next to us. The man keeps us engrossed in the storyline to that extent and most importantly, it is ‘entertaining’.