This stop-motion experiment with iconic Malayalam movie scenes is going viral

A stop-motion still from the hospital scene in Kilukkam

A stop-motion still from the hospital scene in Kilukkam   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Production house Tales and Takes’ stop-motion animation clips feature comics superheroes donning the roles of Mollywood stars

Batman gingerly pays a visit to a bruised, agitated Captain America recuperating on a hospital bed. Antman sits nearby, poring over a newspaper, all the while overhearing the conversation like a fly on the wall. However, instead of punchy one-liners straight out of a comic book, these superheroes take on the voices of Mohanlal and Jagathy Sreekumar, mouthing the hilarious dialogues from the hospital scene in the evergreen Mollywood comedy Kilukkam, with the visuals in stop-motion animation.

When the lockdown confined a bunch of movie enthusiasts indoors, they decided to go back to the bygone filmmaking technique of stop-motion, coming up with short video clips, recreating some popular scenes in Malayalam film. Released by the Kochi-based production house Tales and Takes, the stop-motion versions, which have gone viral, feature action figures of comics superheroes donning the roles of big-screen stars. Apart from the scene in Kilukkam, other clips are memorable sequences from Mookilla Rajyathu, Maheshinte Prathikaram and a comic take on the iconic dialogue ‘Karnan Napoleon Bhagat Singh’ from the Prithviraj-starrer 7th Day.


Jobby James, who came up with the concept and shot the frames, says he struck upon the idea a few months ago after seeing his four-year-old son, Jordan, playing with his action figure toys. “Some of us studied a course in multimedia and stop-motion was something we tried in college but only as part of curriculum. With the modern cutting-edge animation techniques, it’s deemed passé. But I felt we could try something new with this,” says Jobby, who worked as cinematographer for the Mollywood film Naval Enna Jewel.

A stop-motion still from a scene in ‘Mookilla Rajyathu’

A stop-motion still from a scene in ‘Mookilla Rajyathu’   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Achu Arun Kumar, who directed the videos, explains the painstaking effort that went into the making. “The trick was to keep the lighting constant and camera steady. A slight variation in these would mean shooting everything all over again. Also, positioning of the toys and its poses had to be inch-perfect,” he says, adding that the videos were shot at the studio of music director Prakash Alex who is part of the team.


For the scene from Kilukkam, the longest one yet, the team used over 1,700 stills for the final cut, selected from more than 2,000, originally shot using mainly telephoto and wide-angle lenses. “It took us about four days to finish the Kilukkam video as there were a lot more movements to be canned, especially of Captain America’s in order to try and capture the brilliance of Jagathy chettan's performance in it. Where as the shorter one depicting Dileesh Pothan (caricatured as Hulk) in that funny scene where he poses for a photo at Fahadh Faasil’s studio in Maheshinte Prathikaram was easier and done in a few hours,” says Achu, who bagged the Kerala State Film Award for best dubbing artist for the movie Theeram in 2017.

Jobby James

Jobby James   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Another challenge was to recreate the backdrop elements from the original versions. Syamjith Vellora, who did the scenic design, says the team fashioned props for the shots out of rudimentary articles. “For instance, a discarded plywoood was plastered over with chart paper to be used as the hospital bed. In the Maheshinte Prathikaram clip, a light-blue chart paper was employed as backdrop,” he says.

Jobby says selection of the scenes for the stop-motion experiments was unanimous. “We chose them for their popularity as they easily strike a chord with any movie lover in Kerala,” he adds.

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Printable version | Jul 14, 2020 4:55:38 AM |

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