It wouldn’t be a superhero movie without a costume and a logo. And, Minnal Murali does not disappoint. The striking ‘മ’ logo across the blue, red, and golden fusion of Minnal Murali’s costume stuck a chord with the audience. It will be remembered for generations to come, said many fanatics including Pavi Sankar, one of the creative minds who made it happen.
The internet knows Trivandrum-based Pavi Sankar as Sarcasanam with his portfolio ranging from digital art to NFTs. Having conceptualised the Minnal Murali iconic look, Pavi has made it big and proud in the Malayalam film industry too.
When he saw the Minnal Murali costume for the first time, he was in awe of his creation. He had just one word to say – Adipwoli! Luckily, we were able to have a chat with the guy to decode his Minnal Murali ideation process and his career expansion into Mollywood.
Pavi Sankar doesn’t remember a time he wasn’t interested in drawing. By the time he graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting, his interest in digital art made him a passionate artist. He would end up working on small projects that enhanced his artistic capabilities. He shared, “I had worked for a company called Digital Carving VFX Studio in Kochi. It was there that I managed to enter the movie industry and my name and work started appearing publically. After investing two years there, I started taking up independent work in low-budget movies. My official entry into the Malayalam film industry began there.”
The Minnal Murali Logo
It was through Arun Anirudhan, the writer of Minnal Murali, that Pavi was introduced to the film. Having collaborated with Arun in many projects since his college days, including in Padayottam, he didn’t think twice before saying yes to Minnal Murali. Over the course of a few days, a technical team of like-minded, die-hard superhero fans was formed. Speaking to PinkLungi, Pavi commented, “When we were conceptualising the Minnal Murali logo and costume, we just had one thing in mind. Every single person, including a 6-year-old kid, should be able to draw it. It was something that was going to be remembered for ages so we had to crack the perfect one.”
He further added, “The effects were done by Andrew Dcrus’ Mindstein Studios in Kakkanad in Kochi. So Andrew, his team, my team and I were brainstorming together to come up with a kickass logo. By the time the teaser was going to be launched, Andrew had drawn up a logo with the perfect typography. The ‘മ’ in the logo, along with the lightning symbol, was the perfect touch to Minnal Murali. Believe it or not, we took around 6-7 months to come up with this idea but the ideation process was amazing.”
The Iconic Costume
Ever since Pavi and his team had to draft the storyboard of the film, he had to sketch a couple of costumes that suited Tovino’s figure. They had tried different superhero ideologies to match the Minnal Murali essence. For instance, they tried an upgraded version of Martin’s costume in the film and a costume with a mundu. “We basically had to make sure that no one would compare the Minnal Murali costume with the OG superheroes, be it the colour, texture, and gadget. Our Minnal Murali costume colours – blue, red, and gold – and detailing were inspired by Kerala school uniform colours that are very rooted and Malayali-oriented. The interesting part was to conceptualise the colour theory for each sequence. We had to highlight a specific colour from the final costume in each sequence and late culminate it in the final Carnival sequence.”
Pavi Sankar specifically watched documentaries and clips on the making of Black Panther to seek inspiration. According to him, the movie has Southern roots which were almost similar to what Basil was looking for in Minnal Murali. In fact, during the making of the film’s storyboard, the team had purchased action figures and used their smartphone camera to visualise each shot and sequence. It was a fun and interesting process, Pavi commented.
“Why does the Malayalam film industry need a superhero film?”- This was one of the main questions Pavi’s friends and acquaintances would often ask him. “Every time we created a storyboard for Minnal Murali, this question would always bombard my mind. I would question if Malayalis would like it or not. We’ve all had sleepless nights working on this and every single day I would just hope that it would work out with the viewers. But the one thing that would reassure me is thinking about India’s first superhero, Shaktimaan. The impact that superhero had created was huge. If he could do it, so can Minnal Murali,” shared Pavi.
The accolades Minnal Murali has received worldwide is insane. It was welcomed and appreciated. Pavi still feels overwhelmed with the number of great responses the movie receives, including the fan art, Reels, merchandise created by fans. Pavi commented, “It feels amazing when I see people celebrating the character my team and I had made after months of hard work. It’s like we pulled off something great.”
Apart from pulling off the concept art masterpiece in Minnal Murali, Pavi Sankar was also part of the creative team in Senna Hegde’s Thinkalazhcha Nishchayam. He is currently working with Tharun Moorthy an unnamed project and a homegrown project of his own.