In his “no-language” film, Mercury, director Karthik Subbaraj says he’s breaking a different kind of sound barrier. “At any filmmaking class, you learn the power of the visual medium and are always trying to minimise the words,” says Subbaraj, 35, whose silent film released worldwide in theatres this week. With films like Pizza and Jigarthanda, Subbaraj has established himself as a new voice, making audiences and the industry sit up and take notice with his unconventional treatment of unconventional themes.
And It isn’t the director’s first brush with silent cinema. He once made a short film which had only two lines of dialogue. But Mercury— a thriller centred on a chemical poisoning incident—comes as a surprise. “Though it isn’t inspired by a single incident, we have heard of cases of chemical poisoning around the world. There are stories of the people left behind and I’ve always been interested in those,” he says.
With a tight shooting schedule of 30 days, star Prabhu Deva and the rest of the actors went through intensive training programmes to master the silent form. “For a film like this, the actors need to be excellent, the visuals strong, the edit precise and technicians skilled,” he says.
Subbaraj is now set to direct Rajinikanth in his next film, the details of which are still under wraps. But he has no concerns about moving from a trusted circle of actors to the big names in the industry. “They are all good actors to begin with,” he says. “It was a struggle initially, but after the success of Pizza, they agreed to work with me. They trust my style and are willing to work my way.”
Prabhu Deva and the rest of the cast went through intensive training camps to master the silent form
Karthik Subbaraj’s silent thriller Mercury revolves around a chemical poisoning incident