The Malayalam movie industry is now brimming with the emerging new faces, both behind and in front of the camera. Arun Kumar Aravind is a name that shines bright among them after giving back to back hits with 'Cocktail' and the recently released 'Ee Adutha Kaalathu'. In a chat-interview, the young director speaks about how he 'accidentally' ended up pursuing a career in editing, which eventually landed him in the director's chair.
“I did my schooling at St. Thomas School and my graduation at MG College, Trivandrum” says the young director. “Regarding movies, I would say that I was a very ordinary kind of viewer, just interested in 'superstar' films. My real love was cricket back then.”
And one day he met with an accident, serious enough to make him bed ridden for the next 6-7 months.
“It was at around this same time that cable TV got introduced into our homes. I had nothing much to do at that time, so ended up watching Star Movies and other movie channels all that time. One thing that the continuous movie watching did to me was to generate an interest to know how the movie has been arranged to be presented to the viewer. I realised that I wanted to know more about the technology behind the output.”
After recovering, Arun Kumar headed straight to 'Pentafour' in Chennai and studied the technological aspects at a 'very high cost'. After completing the course, he continued there as a visual effects graphics artist. From there he moved on to KSFDC (Kerala State Film Development Corporation) as an editor specialising in non-linear editing.
“I was introduced to T K Rajeev Kumar who was on the search for someone to edit the trailer for his film 'Vakkalathu Narayanankutty'. It is when chances like this befall, that you actually believe there is a God. Rajeev Kumar was impressed with my work and advised me to work as an independent editor; an advice which I took whole heartedly.”
The experiences that followed weren't all sweet for Arun Kumar, but he is thankful for each one of them for the valuable lessons they gave.
'Luck happens when preparation meets opportunity'... and then Arun Kumar got lucky.
“I chanced to meet Priyadarshan on the location of the movie 'Vettam'. One thing about him is that he knows to read people rightly and quickly. He immediately sensed the professionalism in me and took me in to edit his movies.”
Over a period of six years, Arun Kumar has edited nineteen films in Hindi, one in Tamil, and the many ads made by Priyadarshan. Through his work, he slowly accumulated in-depth knowledge about everything that forms a movie. And while doing so, Arun Kumar became one of the few names who could rightfully boast of having worked with every major production house in Bollywood.
“All expect Yash Raj Films,” says Arun.
And he is genuinely irked when it’s written 'Cut and Paste' in place of 'Editing', as they do in some films.
“Editing is not 'cut and paste', editing is not a simple mechanical job.
Editing is an art, it takes a lot of effort and imagination to put
together the scenes while maintaining the pace of the film,” he points
It was at this time that he - once again - chanced to meet actor/writer
Anoop Menon, who was looking for a director willing to do a remake of
the Canadian thriller 'Butterfly On A Wheel'. Obviously Arun Kumar,
being trained under a veteran director in Priyadarshan, felt like it was
certainly his cup of tea.
“More than anything else, we wanted to see how the audience would react
to a new, unorthodox theme in Malayalam.”
'Cocktail' raked in the moolah and was certified as a hit. Arun Kumar
explains what it takes to do a successful remake.
“When you are remaking the film, you are not replicating the film as
such. You have to make the appropriate changes to the story, add/cut
certain characters, scenes and even the story itself. The film has to be
remade in such a way that it sheds the 'foreign touch' and mixes in
perfectly with the contemporary pulse and culture of the audience.”
When he met Murali Gopy, Arun Kumar says he felt the vibe that happens
when two persons of similar perspectives meet.
“He read out the story of 'Ee Adutha Kaalathu' as one among five stories
he had worked on over a period of many years. I told him that if we
were making a movie it would be Ee Adutha Kaalathu. Its realism and
contemporary aspects reflecting the modern society in a blunt manner
stunned me. I also liked the title of the movie very much.”
Arun Kumar had made only minimum compromise to sketch the actual reality
with almost a 100% precision. A raw local slang used did shock some.
“As a film director I fully respect the Censor Board, and the decisions
and norms they make. But another thing is that the language used in the
movie isn't aimed to be a revelation to the viewers, it is simply
depicting what's already there. The children who see the movie will only
think that the language used is more or less similar to what they hear
everyday in the streets. I agree it is bad, but that’s what you find in
Arun Kumar is busy with movies. Another movie scripted by Murali Gopy is
currently under discussion, and a couple of other projects are in the
pipeline as well. The director also aims for a break in Bollywood.
“Talks are going on; if everything goes well, 'Ee Adutha Kaalathu would
be remade in Hindi as well,” he smiles, bringing the conversation to an