Oththa Seruppu Size 7 (Single Slipper Size 7) Review
by D. Adonis
**** 4 Stars
Oththa Serrupu Size 7 is entertaining from start to finish; a testament to Parthiban’s ingenuity, being the film’s sole director, actor, writer, and producer.
SYNOPSIS: A mentally unstable man dramatises his confession to a murder as he is interrogated by the police.
Despite being a film which occurs in one day, set in one room, and features only one actor, Oththa Serrupu Size 7 is entertaining from start to finish; a testament to Parthiban’s ingenuity, being the film’s sole director, actor, writer, and producer.
We first see the protagonist and murder suspect, Masilamani, played by Radhakrishnan Parthiban (or simply, R. Parthiban), through the eyes of the policemen looming over him, as he sits on the floor, practising his vow of silence. He only has 10 minutes left, and yet they insist for him to talk at once and to write a statement. When he finishes the statement, one police officer ‘accidentally’ spills coffee on it and smugly asks him to write it again, but Masimalani, unprovoked, gives him a carbon copy. Now we see him standing over the police; he has outsmarted them, now all he has to do is convince them of his innocence. But he doesn’t. Instead, he confesses to his crimes, dramatising his modus operandi in great detail.
In many ways, Oththa is almost a Browning-esque dramatic monologue. Masilamani, the unreliable narrator, confesses his crimes, but also argues with his second self. “Half the time you speak to us and half the time you speak to yourself”, the officers says to him. He often goes off-tangent, stopping mid-sentence, disappearing into his own mind, as memories come back to him while he delivers his uncanny confession.
While it could be argued that Oththa is more theatrical than cinematic (after all, it is structured as a one man play), the cinematography takes on key roles in making this cinematic experiment work. His sudden shifts in mood is amplified by Ramji’s camera work and lighting. Electricity substitutes for weather as the sudden power outage and flickering lights functions as pathetic fallacy (from a conveniently timed blackout allowing Masilamani to recreate the murder scene with more accuracy, to lights flickering in tune to his distress). Masimalani’s anecdotes and flashbacks, which we only hear but not see, is brought to life by Resul Pookutty’s incredible soundscape, making up for the lack of visuals.
Plot-wise, Oththa is nothing revolutionary; it is a conventional murder mystery tale. Yet, its appeal lies not in what happens in the story, but in how Parthiban presents it to us. It is so easy to give in to the temptation of self-indulgence given his full autonomy in the film, but instead Parthiban finds just the right balance, never abusing his control.
Oththa Serrupu Size 7 is currently available on Netflix and is rated Mature (15).