Actress Keerthy Suresh in Penguin

Director Karthik Subbaraj’s Stone Bench Films

& Passion Studios Production

Presented by Amazon

Keerthy Suresh in Penguin

Written & Directed by Eshavar Karthic

Music: Santosh Narayanan

Kaarthekeyen Santhanam
Sudhan Sundaram

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 he 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 watched asking who that masked man in the teaser is. Keerthy Suresh is acting in a direct Tamil film after Sarkar.

Eashavar Karthic shares his experiences shooting in Kodaikanal for Penguin, Vijay Sethupathi’s help & more.

Penguin story in 18 days

Six months went without me knowing when my maiden diretorial 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 us about an ordinary woman encountering extra ordinary 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 did 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. Of someone asks me ths story, it cannot be told easily. It is about a mother’s live for son and she will go to any extreme to save her son.

Stung by bees

When we were shooting in Kodaikanal, a bee hive 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 hospital. 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.

Even our crew doesn’t know about maskman…
Peope asked who the maskman is after watching the teaser.
Many in my team also don’t know who
the maskman 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 literally means ‘Pen Queen’. How women struggle, worn hard to in this male-dominated society we see. I feel the title carries a power.

Technical crew’s help

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

Karthik Palani handles 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. 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 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.

OTT release

I grew up watching movies in theatres. Webb series became popular in last three years. We wanted to release in theatres only. But corona outbreak and lockdown made us go for release in Amazon. It will be seen in 200 countries. Watching movies in theatres is a magic. In OTT many pause abd 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.