Ottakkayyan is a different film. The story happens entirely in a single
night. All outdoor scenes are shot completely at night, very rare in
Indian cinema. It is a real time film too. Once it starts, the clock
ticks in actual time.
The entire story happens at midnight on an island nestled in the backwaters
and completely engulfed with darkness as there is no electricity. The
island is connected to the main land only through a rail link, which
is filled with rioting crowds. There comes in the island two youngsters,
members of two different fundamentalist groups who get trapped after
committing a murder.
With both baying for each others blood because of their loyalty to
their respective organisations, they cannot be friends. While they cannot
escape from the island fearing communal ruffians waiting with brandishing
swords and daggers, there is no way out. And they decide to commit suicide
on the railway track. But as a small island they must meet in the night.
There is only one house in the island , that of ottakkayyan vasu, his
wife and father in law. The young men contact them and the story develops
into an unpredictable end. Then what will happen? Will they commit suicide
or kill each other? They can escape only when they can patch up their
rivalry. Will that happen on that night? There is a lot of suspense
for the viewers in this thriller.
It was challenging to limit the entire outdoor shoots to night. It
could be faked by shooting day for night. But for originality, the director
insisted night shoot. The technical challenge of lighting up the entire
location on the entire night was not small. Malayalam film shooting
was not used to it. The director had to inspire the actors and crew
to work on many a nights at a stretch. However, the Chithranjali unit
members (though a government instistution) worked with great enthusiasm.
Cameraman M.J. Radhakrishnan, regarded as the master of low light photography,
toiled hard to get all the grandeur of night rain, as the climax occurs
in the rainy backwaters. The story reveals the human tragedy of broken
lives, the story of those searching for a safe haven to save their heads
within the island of blood gets unraveled in the film. The real protagonist
in the story is night and fear...