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'Nayanthara was the perfect choice for O2,' says director G S Viknesh – Entertainment News , Firstpost – Firstpost

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Releasing on June 17 on Disney+Hotstar, Nayanthara's O2 is shot inside a bus where we see a mother fighting for her son’s survival
It is not everyday that one gets to make one’s debut film with leading south star Nayanthara. Director GS Viknesh has helmed ‘O2’, a thrilling film which sees a mother fight for the survival of her young son, which is releasing on Disney+Hotstar on June 17.
Nayanthara is known for choosing female-oriented subjects where there is scope for her to showcase her acting skills and O2 promises to be a film where we’ll see a strong performance from her as a mother. “It was halfway through writing the script that I felt Nayanthara should be the perfect actor to play the role of the mother. It’s not that other actresses can’t essay this role but her mannerisms are ideal for this character. When we narrated the script, she liked it and came on board,” reveals Viknesh who registered the script in 2018 itself.
The movie takes place mostly inside a bus that has fallen into a pit and in the trailer, we see Parvati (Nayanthara) telling the passengers that they have 12 hours to survive due to paucity of oxygen. We also see her young son on oxygen support and this is where the fight for survival looks thrilling. Ask Viknesh whether the lack of oxygen during the second wave of the pandemic didn’t strike a chord with him and he says, “The movie is about a struggle between a mother and Mother Nature – how the mother is fighting for her eight-year-old son’s (Ritwik) survival and how Mother Nature also fights for protection of the earth. I was shocked at how there was a parallel between my film and real-life during that time. When I wrote the script there was no pandemic but during the second wave we saw the struggle for oxygen and it really was uncanny.”
Shot in 43 days flat in the hills of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, the director states that the pandemic gave them enough time to do a lot of pre-planning so that they were well prepared. “But the shoot was not without its challenges – I’d say every day was a challenge. We had to shoot inside a bus so even to stage fights, etc, we had to think of how to do it within this defined space,” adds the former assistant director to Venkat Prabhu who has also written this film.
Like any assistant director who aspires to turn director one day, Viknesh also had multiple scripts in hand. “The script for O2 I think was the most intriguing and connected well to people. So this is what clicked with people. It is a unique film and different from what we have seen so far,” he says. So was he happy with an OTT release versus the theatre? “The movie would be a good watch in theatres but with OTT it reaches a far larger audience than with theatres. I think that’s a big advantage. Further, the release of most of the big films right from ‘RRR’ to ‘Vikram’ got pushed because of the pandemic and there was a backlog. When Disney+Hotstar approached us and gave us a good offer, it was ideal to accept it in this situation,” explains the director.
O2 is produced by Dream Warrior Pictures and has music by Vishal Chandrashekar. The DOP is Thamizh A Azhagan and Selva RK is the editor on this project. Interestingly, the movie stars another Tamil director, Bharath Neelakandan, as the antagonist along with Leena, Manohar, Murugadoss and Jaffar Idukki. “I am happy with the way the movie has turned out and looking forward to its release. Of course, prior to the release we keep watching it and constantly think if there’s anything better we can do,” smiles Viknesh.

Latha Srinivasan is a senior journalist based in Chennai. Her passion is entertainment, travel, and dogs.
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