Recently, we chronicled the life and times of Manikkam, now known to everyone as the ‘MGR of Pettah’.
A porter by day, Manikkam’s love for dressing up as popular South Indian movie star M.G. Ramachandran has brought him many fans on the crowded streets of Pettah. So the moment we came to know of Manikkam’s existence, we realised that we wanted to tell his story. More importantly, we wanted to showcase the multiple sides of Manikkam’s story, instead of simply framing him as a novelty. After all, it is this approach to deeper storytelling that has made us unique.
Of course, this story wouldn’t have turned out as well as it did if not for the people behind it.
Since we were shooting in a busy part of Pettah, we had to be very careful with the equipment we chose. Striking a balance between visual quality and portability was extremely important. After some careful planning, we opted to use the following equipment:
Anybody who has been to Pettah, the business district of Colombo knows how crowded and noisy the place can be. Since crowds and clear, crisp audio don’t make good bedfellows, we had to find a relatively quiet location to shoot in.
Using our knowledge of the area, we located an empty market nearby which could serve as the backdrop for the series of opening shots where Manikkam re-enacts a few of MGR’s mannerisms. These little moments were never scripted, but were thought up on the spot by our video crews, who had to work with whatever was available in their surroundings.
We also found a colourful, shuttered shop, which served as the perfect backdrop for Manikkam to speak to the camera.
Manikkam’s outfits are a very important part of his life, and we had to put in a lot of thought into giving them the screen time they deserve. Creative panning shots along with the intelligent use of catchy background music were used to shine a light on each outfit, of which Manikkam had brought three.
As at the time of writing, our video has gone on to accumulate:
In addition, the video also garnered hundreds of positive comments and shares, which helped Manikkam go viral. Nearly a month to the day we released our video, Manikkam has also been featured on a music video by popular YouTuber Ravi Royster.
Perhaps, this is why they deemed the camera mightier than the sword.
This is why we believe that stories hold immense power.
And this, is why we think the era of good content has finally arrived.
Whose story do you think we should tell next? Let us know your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below.