When Dileesh Pothen and Syam Pushkaran ventured into movie production, film fanatics got naturally enthralled as they expecting another classic from the makers of the much-acclaimed Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum and Maheshinte Prathikaram. As expected, they struck gold with Madhu C. Narayanan’s directorial debut Kumbalangi Nights, which, movie buffs hail as the best movie of the year so far. Like the title, the cast and crew were promising, among the newbies stands out Mathew Thomas, yet another gem gifted to Mollywood by the magical film.
Having portrayed Franky, the youngest of the four brothers of the fishing hamlet Kumbalangi, Mathew is quite ecstatic about the appreciation he has been earning since the film hit the screens.
“I watched the movie with my family. Everyone liked the movie and my character Franky. I’m getting really good responses from everywhere. People have started recognising me; it’s a great feeling,” says Mathew.
Recalling his journey to reach the lovable Franky, Mathew says he had attended several rounds of auditions. “The associate directors came to our school for audition. They took a self-introduction video and went. After some time, I was informed that I’ve been shortlisted and then came the second round of auditions where I was asked to enact a few situations relatable to boys of my age. After another round of audition, where I was again asked to enact a few situations, they chose me,” he adds.
Before the film went on the floors, Mathew got enough training and tips from the team, boosting his preparation and confidence. “It was my school vacation; so I spent six months with them for the pre-production during which I learnt cooking, boat rowing and casting the net. I was given a brief on the character... that Franky is the youngest brother who is a schoolboy. The rest was explained just before the scene by Madhu chettan or Syam chettan.”
The six-month training helped Mathew a lot because at the end of it, he could very well relate to Frankie, “Playing Frankie was effortless as everyone helped me. I was also made to watch many movies during the training time.”
Recalling the good times he shared with Soubin Shahir, Shane Nigam and Sreenath Bhasi, Mathew says, “I met them just before the shooting. They came and talked to me, shared jokes; the bond naturally developed between us. It was so fun shooting with them. We used to sit together and talk while there was no shooting. The off-screen chemistry was great and it indeed helped on screen too.”
Mathew, Grace Antony and Anna Ben, the three debutantes on board, also had a one-on-one session with Dileesh, who made him act on situations and offered tips to improve. All those helped him get into the skin of the character. Mathew , like Franky, loves to play football. “But I am the goalkeeper. For the movie, I got trained and played in a forward position.”
A class XI student at Gregorian Public School, Kochi, Mathew is grateful to his family and teachers for their support. “I love to continue acting along with my studies,” he says, breaking into the charming smile of the cheerful Kumbalangi lad....