Otha Seruppu Size 7 review: R Parthiban keeps you engaged in this pathbreaking one-man act film
OS7 is engaging mainly due to Parthiban's script and the concept of 10 different characters (voice overs) coming into the narrative without appearing on screen
Actor, writer and director Radhakrishnan Parthiban’s experimental one-man show Otha Seruppu Size 7 (Single Slipper Size 7) is a pathbreaking Tamil film, which dares to be different. What makes it unique is that throughout the film there is only one face shown on screen – that of the protagonist’s and the milieu is a police station. Still, the narration grips you. And what is fascinating is that the hero interacts with multiple characters who are never seen on the screen but given life through voice-overs that are pitch perfect.
Parthiban has once again come up with something different with a murder mystery thriller and is able to hold your interest till the last shot. Despite having only a single character on-screen and a fixed location throughout, the script and excellent performance of Parthiban is what hooks the viewers. And the last 15 minutes is racy as multiple mystery links are put together like a jigsaw puzzle. As an audience, you get that adrenaline rush in the climax of this solo act film.
The film begins in the interrogation room of a local Chennai police station, where Masilamani (Parthiban), a murder suspect is being interrogated by a few cops. It is obvious that they want an immediate confession from Mani and close the case as circumstantial evidence is against him. The cops use all the methods they usually employ to get a confessional statement, but he turns the table on them. Mani, in a rambling fashion, talks in riddles and brings forward new details that leave the policemen totally confused and clueless. A lady psychologist is brought in but Mani even outsmarts her and soon the cops find that they are cornered and have dug their own grave.
OS7 is engaging mainly due to Parthiban's script and the concept of 10 different characters (voice overs) coming into the narrative without appearing on screen. The late actor and director, Sunil Dutt, had done it way back in his 1964 black-and-white classic Yaadein, the first film in the world to feature one single actor. It was more of a monologue act by Sunil Dutt and his imaginary personalities, but in OS7 (with new age sound system and improvement of technology), Parthiban is able to talk to multiple characters and make it look real.
Hats off to Oscar-winner Resul Pookutty for his sound design that has given life to other characters through perfect voice-overs. The emotions in the voice of Usha, Masilamani’s wife, the sympathetic police officer and the ruthless commissioner register in the minds of the audiences to strengthen our belief in the narrative. And the body language of Parthiban and his baritone voice along with the camera angles of Ramji do not give the viewers the feeling that the film is a one-man act and confined to a single room. Plus the background score of C Sathya makes it believable and you can relate to it.
For those fed on a staple diet of commercial entertainers, the pacing could make it a difficult watch, though the run time is only 105 minutes. In fact, a bit more trimming especially in the first half where you feel certain scene looks repetitive would have made it a little more slicker. These are just minor quibbles and one should admire Parthiban for taking the road nobody has travelled before and still emerging a winner.
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