Penguin: Powerful Tale Of A Mother


There is a craze for thriller movies. Because it creates a curiosity in us to know what will happen next. It will get our utmost attention. Penguin is one such movie. Eshavar Karthic who has aroused curiosity with the title has neither worked as an assistant to any filmmaker nor made any short film. But the Penguin teaser has announced his arrival as director. Everyone is so eager to know who the masked man in the teaser is. To give us a glimpse of the upcoming flick, here we have Eashavar Karthic director of Penguin sharing his experiences shooting in Kodaikanal, timely help by Vijay Sethupathi and lot more.

How long did it take for you to come up with the storyline of Penguin?

Six months went without me knowing when my maiden directorial would commence. Immediately I wrote the story of Penguin. It was completed 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 is 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 acting in the movie. 

How have you carried the suspense element throughout the film?

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 life for son and she will go to any extreme to save her son.

After watching the teaser people asked who the masked man is. Even our crew doesn’t know about masked man and hardly 20 percent of members in my crew knew who he was when we shot. In fact, we only informed Keerthy Suresh much later.

Tell us about your experience shooting in Kodaikanal.

When we were shooting in Kodaikanal, a beehive was disturbed by our light. Bees paraded the spot and stung almost all including Keerthy Suresh. Four of our team members swooned. They were rushed to the hospital. The shooting was halted. Doctors checked and we began work after everything was right. Since it was 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.

Why the title Penguin?

We chose the title to honour womenfolk. It literally means ‘Pen Queen’. How women struggle, worn hard to in this male-dominated society we see. I feel the title carries power. 

Tell us about the cast and crew.

A thriller film has lots of scenes with the background score. Since I wanted the right composer I went to Santhosh Narayanan. With his works, he has taken all scenes to greater heights. Karthik Palani handles the camera. Though he made movies in other languages, this is his first in Tamil. You can understand his work watching the movie. Editing us by Anil Krish. With his right work, he has given us a perfect output a thriller movie demands. Sakthi Venkatraj is the art director. It is difficult to differentiate real locations and sets was a great work by him. Costumes are designed aesthetically by Pallavi Singh keeping in mind the story 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.

What’s your take on OTT release movies?

I grew up watching movies in theatres. Web series became popular in the last three years. We wanted to release in theatres only. But the corona outbreak and lockdown made us go for release in Amazon. 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. 

So how did directing movies happen?

I was working in dramas. That experience emboldened me to do a film. Vijay Sethupathi 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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