CHENNAI: He is a mouth painter, graphics designer, motivational speaker, director and editor...if he continues this, his visiting card might look more like a menu card.
Janarthanan Kesavan (25), who has won 157 awards (both national and state) for painting, lost both his hands and a leg in an accident that had turned his life upside down when he was eight. I was playing with an iron rod when it struck a high-tension wire near my terrace. I was severely electrocuted,” says ‘positive Jana’ as he is popularly called on social media.
With the support of Dr Seeniraj, the doctor who treated him, parents and friends, he began painting with his mouth by burning the midnight oil. His efforts paid off when he received the Best Creative Child award in 2004 and Balshree award in 2005 from the late APJ Abdul Kalam and Mastery award in 2015 from AR Rahman. “Kalam was so happy to see a Tamil boy receiving the award and asked me to be an inspiration to others,” adds the artist who worked as a senior graphic designer in a media house.
As we continue talking about Kalam, Jana recalls how he ‘lived his words’. “One night, I received a call. The voice on the other side was trembling...when I began the conversation, he told that I saved his life and thanked me,” he narrates. “He said he had wanted to kill himself but changed his mind after reading an article about me in the newspaper, which was used to wrap his dinner.”
Janarthanan, who is also the founder of a Facebook page, Four Hawks Studio, hopes to direct feature films one day. “I have edited 36 short films and directed two of them. I have been actively searching for good opportunities along with my group members...but have got nothing but rejection. But I am sure I will make it big someday,” he says.
He has also worked on the recent Tamil tele-film Kannadi Potavan Kettavan and is working on his next — a crime thriller. What makes him such a convincing motivational speaker? “Our belief is the axis around which our life revolves. When people with functional arms say that life is too difficult, I ask them to look at me,” he avers.
But Jana is not satisfied with his accomplishments and wants to put his stamp in the film industry. “To accomplish that, I am improving my resume by directing short films. It will hone my skills and help me approach producers and directors,” he adds.