Naraithadam (Signs Of Grey), is a slice of life short film that revolves around the life of a straight-forward old man who does not tolerate societal wrongs.
The film begins with Muthaiyaa (Vasudevan) rising early in the morning, and doing his routine chores. He is seen staring at an open wound in his upper back, the reason for which is revealed later. Despite having a son, who also provides him food, he is left alone in a small house, and cooks for himself.
As the film progresses, we get to see Muthaiyaa’s life and his causes. He fights for justice, likes his books and newspapers, and has a supporter in Karthi, a young man who is waiting for a government job. Muthaiyaa’s current big cause is a local alcohol store – the Tasmac shop is being shut, and Muthaiyaa is protesting it. He is abused for this, and is also beaten by police for protesting – resulting in the wound we saw earlier. He is yelled at for donating his house to a old-age home. His son curses him to death by stones cast by those he opposes. Despite these, he appears to be full of hope and self-confidence.
At one point, Muthaiyaa channels Senapathy from Indian, when he is seen shouting at a person from the electricity board for disrespecting him. Although a fighter, Muthaiyaa also comes across as a man who is lonely, who has trouble being understood. On the whole, Naraithadam – tells the tale of untold and unexpressed anger and loneliness, of an old lamp that burns brightest just before it goes out.
Directed by Stalin Kalidas and produced by Idiot Pictures, the short film is said to be an experimental one which was tried to test the ability of the director himself. Talking to Silverscreen, he said, “The reason for making this short film is to test my ability in conveying something to people. The film will not have a story separately as it is a slice of life of an old man who wants to contribute his part to the society. The main inspiration was from ‘Marina Puratchi’ protest, where we could see thousands of selfies in social media, where people dress up in black and say that they fight and protest. But in reality there are people like Muthaiyaa, who stand for social cause, and who may not be known to the larger public. The character was inspired from my own dad and my grandfather, where my dad was beaten up by the cops for protesting.”
“The main reason why I wanted to show the life of an old man is, they are the hub of stories and facts. They have a lot to say and convey as they have experienced life. But they are neglected. And thus I wanted to document that experience.” he added.
Kalidas has previously worked as an assistant director with Naveen of Moodar Koodam fame. He is currently an associate with director Kishore, who was one of the participants in Naalaiya Iyakkunar. Kishore is currently working on a project which stars Sibiraj in the lead.
Naraithadam has music composed by Soorya, with cinematography by Vishnu Krishna. It has been edited by Francis L Godwin.
Naraithadam won the Best Short Film award in Neyveli Short Film Festival and Best Actor award in Talent Out 2018 Trichy. It has also been officially selected in Covellite International Film Festival Montana, United States; International Ecological Film Festival Ugra, Russian Federation; Indie Best Films Festival (Ibestff) California; Fatherhood Image Film Festival (FIFF) New York; Dunedin International Film Festival Florida; African International Film Festival Lagos, Nigeria; Dadasaheb Phalke International Film Festival Mumbai among others.