In Kerala, Balarama comics did what Marvel and DC comics did around the world. Some of the never-get-old comics that appeared in it will be celebrated forever. Mayavi, probably one of the best comic series that appeared in Malayalam language, will be the touchstone of whatever comics that appear in the future, thanks to the emotional attachment going on between the characters in it and the millennials. Going back to the age-old comic and its characters again would be a great experience, as good as watching your favourite movie from the 90s. Thiruvananthapuram resident Murali Krishnan had the same thoughts and his witty and quirky photo series about those yesteryear movies and comics are the talk of the town at the moment. His latest series titled Vikramanum Muthuvum talks about the comics in a different angle that no one has ever imagined.
“For us, they were a lifeline during our school days. I don’t think there are any millennials who could wait for Friday morning copies without any shadow of eagerness. So, like my earlier photo series projects, I wanted to do something that people can relate well. I believe the language of any form of art will be easily communicated if the audience can easily relate. Vikramanum Muthuvum is like an experimental project. I wanted to do that in a certain way that is new to the readers of the popular comic,” says Murali.
Since the stories are very familiar and each character has a special place in everyone’s mind, treating the characters from Mayavi in a different way would be hard. But Murali was sure about it and decided to script the work in an angle where the antagonists of the comics, Vikraman and Muthu, come in lead roles. “We are used to see them as vile characters whose motto is to help Kuttoosan and Dakini catch Mayavi. But here, these two title characters are pictured as simpletons. Basically, I was trying to tell the story from their angle. It was a challenge to break the cliché as readers are not used to that. Mayavi is the real deal of the comic and Vikraman and Muthu are just lowlife thugs who always end up in some kind of trap. They are not superheroes here in my project, too. But starting the story from their angle and unfolding it in their perspective is the key.”
Murali was not ready to dismantle the character sketch in any way from the original, but handled it in a quirky way. This attempt is an example of how well a fan-fiction should be. The photo series has also attempted to portray how the characters would be in modern times and even land in the future where we can see them both dazed and confused. The story ends with the visual assurance that there will be a sequel (or prequel) to it.
According to Murali, the backbone of the series is the actors who enacted the age-old characters to life. “Everybody who is associated with the project is my friends and it really eased the work pressure. The actors, who are all familiar to Malayalis, made things easier for me. S Durga and Lilli fame Kannan Nayar acted as Vikraman and Anand Manmadhan played Muthu. Unlike short films or full-length movies, what I find difficult while doing this is actors have to keep their body language and expressions intact throughout all the photos very well. Since these are photographs, if you don’t keep up to that same tempo as you started people will easily catch it. Kannan and Anand did a great job,” he added.
Apart from them, in the photo series, Rahul Nair did the role of Puttalu, Giblin G. Nayar played Lambodaran, Jikkuji Elanjickan portrayed Lottulodukk and Ravi Sankar, Gulgulumal.
Murali was an engineer by profession, but had to quit the job to pursue his dreams in film and photography and this is not his first work.
Earlier, Murali did a photo series that was inspired by Manichitrathazhu movie. Sankaran Thambi, for all of us, is a character with a grey shade, but Murali wanted to know what would happen if one can imagine and retell some instances in his view that would eventually lead to the killing of Nagavalli. “That series was also going well and got a lot of nice feedbacks. Rahul and Anand were also with me during that project playing Sankaran Thambi and Ramanadhan, respectively.”
Murali is now working on other projects including the second part of the series and likes to pen scripts for movies....