KOCHI: Malavika A K puts a lot of thought into her designs. What looks like an ordinary square comprises a plethora of meanings to her. Meet the 23-year-old art director of music band, When Chai Met Toast (WCMT). From their song ‘Run Closer’ to the latest ‘Nee Aara’, Malavika’s deft hand and razor-sharp observation are more than evident in their videos.
The four-music video old art director delved into the making of WCMT’s first Malayalam single, ‘Nee Aara’ and its powerful symbolism. With a soft colour palette and a pop of bright red and black fused in-between, the video comprises birds flying, banana leaves and a ‘mandala’. “The art you see does not belong to just one person. There was a collective brainstorming session.
Directors Akhil Unnikrishnan, singer Ashwin Gopakumar, DOP Antony B M and I would sit together and throw ideas together. I contributed mine and we just sewed it all together,” says the Kozhikode native, a recent graduate from the College of Architecture, Thiruvananthapuram. What intrigues one most about the video is the mandala which blooms in the end. “The video is an ode to the people of Kerala for all the difficulties they have been through.
We wanted to end the song with a blooming lotus as the flower goes through a lot of hardships to thrive. Later, we considered brainstorming around it instead of directly portraying the flower. Akhil came up with the idea of the lotus. Ashwin brought up the concept of a ‘kolam’. I decided to work around the kolam. Basically, you start a kolam with dots -- from nine points to six and then four. We started with 14 dots representing the 14 districts of Kerala. And post the troubles we faced last year, a new Kerala was born. The lotus represents a womb,” Malavika explains.
The mandala also consists of a downward and upward triangle, squares and circles. “I feel Kerala is moving forward when it comes to accepting all genders. While the upward triangle represents a man, the downward triangle represents a woman. I combined the symbols and interlapped them to show our acceptance towards all genders. The square represents culture while the circles are about nature and togetherness,” she says.
The video has inculcated everything a Malayali stood for, post last year’s flood. “The flying birds are Ashwin’s concept. Them flying over the horizon which forms into a boat portrays the fishermen who were our heroes last year. As for the banana leaves, they are in our own culture. Ranging from eating on them to using them to protect ourselves from the rain, they represent Kerala as a whole,” Malavika says. That’s a lot of allusions, I think. Then again, that’s what Malavika is best at. The architecture graduate intends to join her father’s firm and is currently working on a personal project.