Radhakrishnan Parthiban’s new directorial Irawin Nijal is a strange experience indeed. I mean, this is a film that starts in the second half. No! I am not saying that the first half is irrelevant or anything else. The first part of the movie is literally BTS. For a while, I was confused about whether I was in for a documentary showing how the world became the first non-linear single-shot movie. Radhakrishnan Parthiban’s Iravin Nizhal depicting the entire life of a man in a span of 100+ minutes is a mixed bag.
Nandu, a film financier, is our central hero. We are shown that he is on the run from the police. As he reaches his secret hideout, the film shows us his journey to that point. From losing his mother at a very young age to many heartbreaks, Irwin Nijl is, at its core, a character exploration drama.
If you ask any film critic, one thing that frustrates them at the promotional stage of any film is that filmmakers try to manipulate audience empathy by talking about sacrifices and challenges. We have a half-hour segment, which is cleverly placed as the first half so that they can single-shot film the theaters without a popcorn break. It has prominent names like Bharathiraja, Rajinikanth, Bhagyaraj and AR Rahman praising Parthiban’s effort and courage to do something that has never been done before. I can understand the excitement of sharing the experience of making a film, but when you sell it as 30 minutes long footage, it leaves the audience skeptical.
In terms of making, the story is largely on a basic level. The structure of Nandu’s journey isn’t that complicated, and it’s almost like watching a big-budget stage drama with revolving sets. In the first BTS bit, we hear Krishnamurthy saying that the idea of shooting such a film came to Parthiban when Ilayaraja asked him what he could achieve next after previewing Oath Seruppu Size 7. And when you look at Irwin Nizel, you can clearly see that the single-shot theme was already set before writing. The big question is whether this kind of story demands the single-shot treatment. We barely see treatment in other movies with this single-shot technique. But here, a deliberate attempt is being made to make the audience aware of the background efforts of making this film.
Radhakrishnan Parthiban did a fine job as the central protagonist. The film veers between being realistic and extremely dramatic, and the performance shifts accordingly. Robo Shankar and Varalakshmi Sarathkumar are two well-known names in the cast, and both had very little screentime. Sai Priyanka Ruth was a bit strict like Parvati, and the POV camera angle made it worse. Brigida as Chilakma and Anandakrishnan as the younger version of Nandu were fine.
The effort behind this project is massive, and it’s fascinating to learn how it was built. But ultimately, you need to connect with the story, and there has to be a solid reason for the film to have this single-shot treatment. Radhakrishnan Parthiban’s Iravin Nijal is a commendable effort which demanded better content.
Radhakrishnan Parthiban’s Iravin Nijal is a commendable effort which demanded better content.
Green: Recommended film
Orange: OK, Watchable, Experimental Movies
red: not recommended