Meet the animator who creates parodies from iconic scenes from Malayalam films

When his career was cut short by the pandemic, Haripad’s Visakh VM started creating 2D animated videos and inadvertently built a new career for himself.

They reach out for the same book, Love and love only, in a bookstore, and it’s love at first sight for Sudhi and Mini. As the song ‘Oru rajamalli’ plays in the background, he hands her the book and walks away. This is a scene from the cult romantic film Malayalam, Aniyathipravu, with Kunchacko Boban and Shalini as main characters.

Now let your imagination run wild. What if they fight? And can you make a connection between the book and Monson Mavunkal, the infamous fraudulent antique dealer from Kerala? Young animator Visakh VM did just that, to the delight of the social media audience, in his latest parody animated video.

Visakh VM

There are many such gems on his YouTube page “Kadalasmation” (created from the words “kadalas,” meaning paper and animation) which has 139,000 subscribers. These 2D animated videos, which are going viral, are parodies of popular scenes from movies, mostly in Malayalam.

Most viewed video is based on a scene from Meesa Madhavan (897k views). The hero, a thief, sneaks into his rival’s house to steal documents and manages to get his hands on the heroine’s gold “aranjanam” (waist chain) while she sleeps. In the parody, the heroine wakes up and shoots the thief.

Another viral video is on a scene from Nandanam, a romantic fantasy tale about Balamani (Navya Nair), an ardent devotee of Lord Krishna. There is a scene where Balamani breaks down in front of the photograph of the deity saying that she would never light the lamp for him. In a mother of all twists and turns, the deity gives her a full ear and blows the flame! “Navya had shared it on her social media page. It was a big validation for me,” says Visakh, a mechanical engineer.

Beating the pandemic blues

Kadalasmation was born a year ago, during confinement. Visakh was ready to move overseas for a job when the pandemic upended his plans. “I love to draw and I am a self-taught animator. I decided to try something new, so I started experimenting with 2D animation parodies. If I had gone abroad, the dream would not have come true so soon, ”says Visakh, 26, from Haripad in Alappuzha district.

He says no particular strategy is involved in selecting the scenes he works with. “The idea comes right, most of the time after watching certain movies or scenes several times. But there is no guarantee that this will always happen. So I don’t watch films or sequences with the aim of making a parody, ”he says.

Once he has finalized a scene, a storyboard is made. The animation work comes next and it has several stages, from the realization of the first series of drawings. “Then I do a rough animation to finalize the timing and spacing before moving on to the final cleaning step,” he says.

Animated parody of a scene from 'Meesa Madhavan'

As a freelance animation artist, he hopes to develop his art. Admitting that this is a time consuming job, he says: “It’s a long and tiring process because I don’t have a team. So after downloading a work, there is a long pause before the next video is released. Even if the video is a minute or less, it takes me at least a week to make the final product, ”he says.

So why does he do it, we wonder. “Despite the challenges, what drives me is the desire to see the final product. I want to enjoy it and I want others to enjoy it too! he says.

The page contains videos on scenes from Aaram Thampuran, Kaalapani, and Baahubali, among others. Visakh has also posted short animated videos and illustrations.

Follow his work on YouTube (Kadalasmation) or Instagram (@kadalasmation)

Andrea G. Henderson