It’s very challenging to be apolitical at this point in history: Vetri Maaran

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Written by Alaka Sahani
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December 16, 2020 8:54:01 pm





Vetri Maaran’s brief movie Oor Iravu reveals the horrific penalties of patriarchal mindset prevailing over parental love.

Since the upcoming Tamil movie anthology Paava Kadhaigal is free of the compulsions of mainstream cinema and theatrical launch, filmmaker Vetri Maaran noticed it as a possibility to provoke discussions about deeply-entrenched societal biases. Taking a jab at “regular love stories”, the writer-director says it’s “liberating to share relevant and sensible stories” with audiences worldwide. The anthology will be launched on Netflix on December 18.

His brief movie Oor Iravu (One Night) reveals the horrific penalties of patriarchal mindset prevailing over parental love. Actors Prakash Raj and Sai Pallavi, who essay the lead roles of estranged father and daughter, lend it a contact of authenticity with their riveting performances. “I knew casting Prakash Raj and Sai Pallavi as father and daughter would reduce my work by half. When an actor like Prakash Raj becomes part of a story like this, he adds value to it. That apart, he has the ability to shift (emotionally) from one end of the spectrum to the other within seconds — from being a loving father to an aggressive patriarch who would do anything to assert his belief,” says Vetri Maaran.

Oor Iravu Sai Pallavi and Prakash Raj in Oor Iravu.

For the daughter’s position, he was on the lookout for somebody who seems susceptible and harmless. Sai Pallavi had earlier turned him down for Asuran (2019) as she was ready for a meatier position. This time, she got here on board with out a lot hesitation. “Verti Maaran Sir had only given me a brief. He said he had not written a script and would decide it on the sets,” recollects Sai Pallavi. Once the Premam actor reached the units, she realised how meticulously he was creating her character and the world she inhabits. “He was working from scratch — from deciding my body language to what phone I would use, all the while trying to incorporate those elements that I would be comfortable portraying,” says Sai Pallavi, who has acted in films reminiscent of Kali (2016) and Athiran (2019).

As a filmmaker, Verti Maaran doesn’t hesitate to spotlight uncomfortable truths about our society. “We all should feel responsible for letting such incidents happen and not questioning them. A film like this should support ongoing discussions on these issues. I want it to rectify the prevalent narrative,” he says. How far does his private politics dictate what he writes? “It is very challenging to be apolitical at this point in history, not just in India but across the world. Today, the power of the right-wing is immense. But you have to have your political opinion whatever be your stand — right or left,” he replies.

The filmmaker, nevertheless, makes it clear that he doesn’t need his films to be a medium of propaganda. Other administrators of this four-part Tamil movie anthology are Sudha Kongara, Vignesh Shivan, and Gautham Vasudev Menon. While Oor Iravu is about honour killing, different shorts cope with gender, caste, and sexual violence.

Oor Iravu’s prolonged climax — when the daddy locks up the daughter in a room, ignoring her determined cry for assist — unravels how a patriarchal thoughts works and justifies violence. Sai Pallavi doesn’t have a lot reminiscence of taking pictures for that scene barring the sense of utter disbelief and betrayal that her father may harm her. The similar feeling resurfaced when she dubbed for the scene. “Even now, I carry that scar in me,” says the actor, who made heads flip final 12 months when she refused to endorse a pores and skin lightening cream.

Oor Iravu climax Oor Iravu’s prolonged climax — when the daddy locks up the daughter in a room, ignoring her determined cry for assist — unravels how a patriarchal thoughts works and justifies violence.

For Verti Maaran, the thought of the brief began with this unsettling scene. “Someone you loved the most is going through pain. Yet, you are just standing there because you believe that there is something greater than the love you have for a son or daughter. I wanted to magnify such a moment to get an up-close look at patriarchy. I knew it would be very haunting for all of us involved. This is our way of saying that this (such violence) needs to stop,” says Vetri Maaran, who has directed a lot talked about films reminiscent of Aadukalam (2011) and Visaaranai (2016).

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