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Anniyan, starring Vikram, is one of the landmark films made in Tamil and it has influenced a generation of filmmakers (even in Malayalam) and the film had taken its director Shankar to another level. Kochi-based Michael Kalayil George, for instance, was stunned by Shankar’s filmmaking skills, pushing him to explore his celluloid dreams. After making a few ad films and assisting directors in Malayalam, Michael has recently turned actor in music album (Vallatha Oru Ithu) which has become a social media sensation. In a chat with Team Fayz, Michael shares his experiences about film-making and the album, in which he was the lead actor, that has gone viral.


When was the first time you fell in love with films or camera?

As a kid, I used to watch a lot of Hollywood movies. I was mostly interested in sci-fiction movies and super hero characters. I am a huge fan of harry potter series and DC /Marvel stories. One day when I came back from school, my father took me to watch a Malayalam film My Dear Kuttichathan, the first 3D VFX film made in India. In fact, that’s how I started watching Malayalam flicks instead of English all the time. Gradually, I started watching movies from other languages as well. Watching Anniyan (starring Vikram, directed by Shankar) was a breathtaking experience. I was amazed with story thread and the making styles. That’s how I started exploring more about the film-making processes. From there, I started learning filmmaking, and I am still into it.

So first you began as an ad film-maker. How was the experience?

I was just 21 when I directed my first ad film as an independent filmmaker. It was an amazing and challenging experience for a 21-year-old youth to make a commercial ad in a big budget canvas. My brother and my friends stood with me to complete my first dream. It doesn't matter how old are you, it’s all about how capable you are, so believe in yourself”. That’s what I learned from my first project. back.

Then the natural progression has to be films. What was your first film experience as assistant?

When I landed at my first movie set, there were only two assistants, including me. That’s when the other person got sick, and he returned home and I had to do all the work all alone. Though I was familiar with cinematography, editing and VFX stuffs as part of my multimedia graduation, it was quite different when we started shooting. It took some time for me to get sink in with the working style and its was new to me. But after few days I got used to how to handle the entire thing alone. I think being an assistant director is the best school of filmmaking.

What makes your music album click? Why do you think it’s different?

Working with the crew of ‘vallatha oru ithu’ was an amazing experience. Its director Akhilraj Chirayil and I were close friends from the time we were assisting. The whole team of Vallatha Oru Ithu was just like a family get-together for me. The song was sung by renowned singer K S Harishankar (who sung Jeevaamshamay and Pavizhamazhaye). The music track was directed by Jacob Sam. The cinematography was done by Sreeraj Rajan. It’s a melody with a simple way of story-telling. We are so glad that our album has gone viral now.


If there is one (good) habit of yours which you think helped you reach where you are now, what would that be?

  • In my view, gratitude is the simple key to success. Be grateful to what you have been given and never give up your dreams because great things take time.
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