Vijay Sethupathi helped me get Penguin- Eshavar Karthic

By Rinku Gupta

Director Karthik Subbaraj's Stone Bench Films and Passion Studios are co- producing Eshavar Karthic's Penguin, starring Keerthy Suresh. The film is releasing on Amazon Prime.

 Eshavar Karthic who has aroused curiosity with the title has neither worked as assistant to any filmmaker nor made any short film. But the Penguin teaser has announced his arrival as director. Everyone who   watched it, wondered  who that masked man in the teaser was.

Eashavar Karthic shares his experiences shooting while shooting in Kodaikanal for the chilling thriller, working withKeerthy Suresh,  Vijay Sethupathi's help and  more...

Penguin story in 18 days...
Six months went without me knowing when my maiden diretorial would commence. I had written the story of Penguin in 18 days. I wanted to write a heroine-centric movie and did the same. It is about an ordinary woman encountering an extraordinary situation. When I narrated the story to producers, they decided Keerthy Suresh should do the lead role. If she was not keen, we thought of talking to two other actresses. However, she readily agreed to do the role of a mother to a young child ,something which she has not done before. She has done a wonderful act in the movie.

Suspense every 20 seconds...

Since it is a thriller story, I have ensured there are suspense elements every twenty minutes. If someone asks me the story, it cannot be told easily. It is about a mother's love for her son and how she will go to any extreme to save her son.

Stung be bees...

When we were shooting in Kodaikanal, a bee hive was disturbed by our light. Bees descended on the spot and stung almost all including Keerthy Suresh . Four of our team members swooned. They were rushed to hospital.  Shooting was halted. Doctors checked us and we began work only after everything was alright.

On a hill region, we cannot shoot after 5 pm. Suddenly dark clouds will come and it may rain. We shoot amidst such situations for 36 days.

Even our crew doesn't know about the masked man...
People asked who the masked man is after watching the teaser. Many in my team also don't know who it is. Hardly 20 per cent members in my crew knew who he was when we shot. We even informed Keerthy Suresh much later.

Why the title Penguin?
We chose the title to honour womenfolk. It is  'Pen Queen'.  How women struggle, we itsee everyday in this male dominated society. I feel the title carries a power.

Technical crew's help

A thriller film has lots of scenes with the background score. Since I wanted the right composer I went to Santosh Narayanan. With his work, he has taken all the scenes to greater heights.

Karthik Palani handles the camera. Though he hasmade movies in other languages, this is his first in Tamil. You can understand his work by watching the movie. Editing is by Anil Krish. With his  work, he has given us the perfect output that a thriller movie demands. Sakthi Venkatraj is the art director. It is difficult to differentiate between the real locations and his sets.Costumes are designed aesthetically by Pallavi Singh keeping in mind the story which happens in Kodaikanal. The costume for Charlie Chaplin whom we see in the teaser was specially designed by her.  All except Santosh Narayanan are my friends for long. We have joined hands to give a quality thriller film.

An OTT release...

I grew up watching movies in theatres. Web series have  become popular in the  last three years. We wanted to release in theatres only. But thecorona outbreak and lockdown made us go for a release on Amazon Prime. It will be seen in 200 countries. Watching movies in theatres is  magic. In OTT many pause and see movies in parts. I want my movie to be watched in one go.

Vijay Sethupathi's help...

 I was working in dramas. That experience emboldened me to do a film. Vijay Is my well-wisher. He helped me get the opportunity. Kaarthekeyen  Santhanam sir listened to my story  and readily agreed to produce it. So both of them hold a special place in my life. They had faith in my talent without even  knowing what I will do, how my work would be or my direction skills. I thank them a lot.

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