Switching from the software industry to banking and now into cinema, Eashvar Karthic’s confidence is to be lauded.
This avid film watcher quit a lucrative career in banking in 2013 to follow his dreams in the world of cinema. He worked in theatre initially and honed the writer in him through the plays he wrote. After a struggle of seven years and with an acting role in ‘V1 Murder Case’, the upcoming ‘Penguin’ is the crystallisation of Karthic’s directorial dreams.
The bilingual film, made in Telugu and Tamil (with director Karthik Subbaraj spearheading the Tamil outing), premieres on June 19 on Amazon Prime Video.
According to Karthic, the idea for ‘Penguin’ was sparked off after he listened to a friend narrate an incident from his train journey, about a mother who lost her child en route and her frantic search to find her loved one.
“It inspired me to write a story about how far a mother would go,” said Karthic.
The director, who has not never worked on any short films nor has he assisted any director, came with a fresh approach to his debut film, drawing inspiration from those around him for ‘Penguin’.
“My wife was pregnant then and that helped me write about Rhythm’s body language,” Karthic said, talking about the character played by his leading lady Keerthy Suresh who plays a pregnant mother searching for her missing child.
For Karthic, writing a thriller was the easy part; the challenge was to ensure he keeps the audience engaged. How will an ordinary homemaker survive when facing a monster? That was the burning question that kept him going while scripting ‘Penguin.’
Happy with the producers’ idea to cast Suresh in the pivotal role, a look test confirmed his vision for Rhythm.
“Keerthy portrayed her exactly as I had visualised,” he said.
Karthic is grateful to his producers Kaarthekeyen Santhanam of Stone Bench, Sudhan Sundaram and Jayaram of Passion Studios and Subbaraj for trusting a new comer.
“Karthik Subbaraj’s creative inputs opened a new thought process for me. He gave me full freedom,” Karthic stated.
Armed with good pre-production work and story board in hand, the actors underwent rehearsals before filming with
the hill town of Kodaikanal in Tamil Nadu a familiar domain for Karthic as the chosen location.
The weather playing a dampner during the monsoons meant being ready for sudden downpours and misty weather.
“Most of the shots were outdoors and out of planned nine hours we could film for 5-6 hours only on some days,” added Karthic.
Throwing the team out of gear was an onslaught by honey bees.
“The bees came in droves. Some of my crew members fainted and had to be hospitalised,” he added.
While many have drawn comparisons with Jyothika’s recently released Tamil film ‘Ponmagal Vandhal,’ Karthic is quick to defend ‘Penguin’, saying his film is “completely different” and the only common thread is a mother’s story.
Karthic’s seven-year struggle to make it could break a stronger man in a fickle industry like showbiz, but the director says he had support. “I was determined to follow my heart, it was my driving force. My wife was my biggest support. Whenever I felt like quitting, she would say ‘go ahead, we will take a call after six months.”
Tamil director Karthik Subbaraj says: “I was impressed with Eashvar’s narration. Even while listening to it I could feel the thrills in the plot. I told him that if he could bring this feel onto screen, it will make a good thriller. He has succeeded with ‘Penguin.’”
Don’t miss it!
‘Penguin’ premieres on June 19 on Amazon Prime Video.