Architecture student Mohammed Muzammil’s digital paintings on Malayalam film stars showcase his flights of imagination
Muzammil’s painting of Prithviraj Sukumaran and family, which was shared by the star on his Instagram handle, wins hearts
Actor Prithviraj’s daughter, Alankrita, is on her grandfather Sukumaran’s lap, while Mallika Sukumaran cuddles Nakshatra, Indrajith’s youngest daughter. Behind the star couple are their sons, Indrajith and Prithviraj, with their respective spouses and Prarthana, Indrajith’s eldest daughter. A happy family portrait that Prithviraj shared on his Instagram handle with the eloquent ‘I wish…’
Actor Sukumaran passed away in 1997 and his portrait was digitally painted into a family photograph that was created by arranging different snaps of the family, which were all sourced and then digitally painted as a composite work by architecture student Mohammed Muzammil.
Speaking over phone from his house in Perinthalmanna, Malappuram, the 22-year-old says that since then, he has been flooded with requests to create such photographs. “Prithviraj has never made it a secret about how much he misses his father and he has always talked about his admiration for him. So I wondered how it would be if Sukumaran’s picture could be digitally added to a family portrait. It came out rather well and I am happy that Prithvraj shared it on Instagram,” he says.
He explains that he had taken inspiration for the picture of Sukumaran from a photograph of Mammootty and Sukumaran that was taken some time in the late eighties.
“Once I had posted that work on my social media pages, I received several requests to recreate (through digital art) family photographs by including parents and grandparents who may have passed away,” he adds.
The fifth-year student of Ranganathan Architecture College, Coimbatore, says he stumbled upon digital art while exploring different ways to upskill his flair for sketching and painting.
His recent works, which he has shared on his Instagram page @_muzu, showcase his imaginative way of recreating famous film posters and snaps of his favourite actors. For instance, the popular duo of Naadodikaattu, starring Mohanlal and Sreenivasan, has been reworked with Nivin Pauly and Aju Varghese in the iconic roles of Dasan and Vijayan. “I always feel that among actors today, dashing Nivin makes the perfect foil for jocular and bumbling characters played so well by Aju sir,” believes the artist.
The famous poster of Vadakkunokkiyantram with Sreenivasan and Parvathy has been recreated with Aju and his wife, Augustina. Inspired by the poster of upcoming film Saajan Bakery Since 1962, Muzammil designed a poster that placed the bakery in a milieu of 1962 and has actors Lena and Aju posing in front of it.
Another ‘what if’ picture is that of Mohanlal and Ranjini in a reference to their roles in the hit film Chithram. The story was a tragedy but the artist takes a leap of imagination to visualise the film’s ending on a happy note, thus uniting Kalyani and Vishnu, the lead pair played by Ranjani and Mohanlal.
A poignant piece among his artworks is on Silk Smitha whose death anniversary falls on September 23. A wistful-looking picture of the actor with a descriptor, ‘I am a faded kite’, has a long note on the ups and downs of her life.
Some of his digital paintings, such as portraits of actor Anusree Nair, Anumol, Unni Mukundan and so on, are works of art that showcase his skill and aesthetics. Anusree is framed against brilliant sunflowers while a sedate and demure black-and-white study of Anumol is a picture of grace.
Taking note of his drawing skills, Ashwini Kale, art director of Vineeth Sreenivsan’s new film Hridayam, starring Pranav Mohanal and Kalyani Priyadarsan, contacted him to visualise the set designs of the film. Muzammil was doing his internship with an architecture firm in Kozhikode and he admits that he was thrilled at the opportunity to work with the stars. However, the lockdown stopped the shooting of the film.
Muzammil asserts that his bread and butter will be architecture while painting and digital paintings will explore the artist in him.