EXCLUSIVE: ‘Partners’ is a realistic investigative thriller, says debutant director Naveen John

Dhyan Sreenivasan and Satna Titus play the lead roles in the Malayalam film, which is slated for release on 5 July.

ByArjun Ramachandran

Published Jul 04, 2024 | 12:36 PM Updated Jul 04, 2024 | 12:36 PM

Naveen John is debuting as a director with Dhyan Sreenivasan's Partners

Malayalam actor Dhyan Sreenivasan’s next outing, Partners, is an investigative drama about financial fraud in a bank. The intense teaser gave a glimpse into the storyline and promised an engaging thriller.

Dhyan Sreenivasan plays the lead investigator in the film, while Satna Titus appears as the leading lady. It is slated for release on 5 July.

Produced by Dinesh Kollappally, Partners marks the debut of Naveen John as a director. Naveen John penned the 2018 film Ira. He also wrote the script for Partners along with Prasanth KV and Hariprasad.

Naveen John hails from Kasaragod, and interestingly, Partners is set against the same backdrop. The filmmaker talks about his debut venture in a freewheeling chat with South First. Excerpts from the interview:

Q. Tell us about your debut directorial—Partners.

A. The movie is an investigative thriller but not a murder mystery. The story is inspired by a newspaper report and is based on a real incident. However, we have added a few fictional elements to convert it into a commercial film.

Q. Is the story related to a bank in a rural area? Can you give us details about the incident?

A. Yes, the story is about four people working in a rural bank. They get involved in a financial fraud. What happens next? Will they come clean? —is what the film is about.

Well, I can’t reveal much about the incident since it will be a spoiler. It’s better watched in theatres.

Q. Your previous film as writer, Ira, was a crime thriller. How different is Partners compared to Ira?

A. Ira was more of a commercial film. The script has more commercial elements.

However, in Partners, the treatment of the story will be more realistic. I hope it goes down well with the audience. Also, Partners has been written keeping in mind the current trends and tastes of audiences.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Naveen John (@navcj1)

Related: New poster of Dhyan Sreenivasan’s ‘Partners’ out, film to release on 5 July

Q. How have you incorporated the geography of Kasaragod in Partners?

A. It is just that the story (incident) happens in Kasaragod. Also, I thought Kasargod’s background would make the movie more appealing.

Since I’m a native of Kasaragod, I’ve blended the stories I heard in my childhood in Partners. But we haven’t taken the exact flavours of Kasaragod. We also haven’t used the local language. It will be an interesting watch.

Q. Tell us about the cast.

A. Dhyan Sreenivasan, Kalabhavan Shahjohn, Rony David Raj, Prasanth Alexander, Madhusudhana Rao, Satna Titus, Neeraja Das, and Devaki Rajendran play main roles in the movie.

Dhyan came on board first. The rest of the cast was picked accordingly. They all did justice to their roles.

Kalabhavan Shahjohn plays an investigator, too, but he is not from the police department. You will have to wait for the film’s release to know more.

Q. Tell us about the shooting process of Partners.

A. Since the story of Partners is set in 2005, we faced a huge challenge in finding a suitable village.

We shot the major portions of the film in Adoor Pandi village located along the Kerala-Karnataka border. There were no decent hotels/lodges in the area. So, we stayed in Kasaragod town, which is about 50-60 km away.

Every day, we used to leave for Adoor Pandi by 5 am and return by 11 pm after filming. This became our routine for about 30-40 days. All actors, including Dhyan Sreenivasan, cooperated with us and gave their best.

Also Read: Basil Joseph’s ‘Marana Mass’, backed by Tovino Thomas, goes on floors

Q. How was the writing process, given that there were three writers in the team?

A. When (my co-writer) Prasanth asked me to read the newspaper report, I knew it could be developed into a movie. So, we started discussing the prospects.

Meanwhile, Prasanth was already working on a few projects along with Hariprasad and discussed the concept with him. We realised we could make a good team and joined hands.

We came up with a storyline and narrated it to Dhyan Sreenivasn. He gave us a green signal and the rest is history.

Q. How would you describe your journey from a writer to an independent director?

A. I have been longing to do films for some time. After Ira, I got the opportunity to write the script for Mammootty’s New York.

The team was supposed to visit the US for a location hunt when COVID-19 struck. The film was eventually postponed.

It was then that I thought about the premise of Partners. It’s been made on a small budget.

Q. Are there plans to revive Mammootty’s New York?

A. The producers of New York are currently busy with Tovino Thomas’s Ajayante Randam Moshanam. They will work on the Mammootty-starrer later. This might happen next year.

Q. Do you have any message to the audience regarding Partners?

A. Partners promises a different film-watching experience. We have tried a new genre with this Malayalam movie. It has several nail-biting moments and offers an edge-of-the-seat experience, similar to the Heist series on Netflix.

We couldn’t design the project on a big scale like Netflix because of obvious reasons. But you will love it.

(Edited by Y Krishna Jyothi)

(South First is now on WhatsApp and Telegram)

EXCLUSIVE: We wrote ‘Maniyan Chittappan’ first, reveals ‘Gaganachari’ director Arun Chandu