Youtube channel Karikku has been a pioneer in ushering in a culture of web series in the Malayalam entertainment industry. It lured millions of audiences and subscribers with its refreshing content and talented cast. The channel which debuted on Youtube around three years ago made the lockdown days of Keralites enjoyable. Actor Jeevan Stephen Mammen who has been noticed for playing ‘matured’ roles in the web series is thrilled that his efforts have finally paid off. In an exclusive interview with Manorama Online, Jeevan gets candid about his career and also shares some interesting memories of his childhood homes.
Jeevan has been passionate about acting and directing since he was a student. Though he tried to make short films during his college days, nothing took off. Like every Keralite family, Jeevan’s family too wanted him to complete his course and earn a well paying job. Jeevan met Arjun, his fellow actor in Karikku, when he got enrolled at a college in Ernakulam for an MBA course. “Ajun was my college mate. We soon realized that we share similar interests. After completing the course, I got placed in a company in Abu Dhabi and had good salary too. I worked there for almost a year. What I was doing was exactly the opposite of what I wanted. That was mentally stressful for me. I quit my job and came back home. My family was not really thrilled about my decision. So, I accepted a job offer from a company here, just to make my family happy. I really wanted to fire up my acting career. However, I had no idea where to begin. Unni Mathews of Karikku fame is our common friend. It was he who introduced me to Nikhil, the founder of Karikku,” said Jeevan.
Jeevan had taken a grave risk, quitting a well paying job for an unreliable acting career. The actor admits it was quite a task convincing his family and relatives that Youtube could be chosen as a viable career option. “My family was happy within a year when Karikku became a huge hit. Many who had advised me not to waste my life by trying to make a living from Youtube are now ardent fans of Karikku. This, in fact, is my sweet revenge,” smiles Jeevan.
Jeevan hails from Thirumala in Thiruvananthapuram district. His father’s native place is Aranmula while his mother is from Kozhencherry. His father had settled in the capital owing to his profession. Later, he enrolled as a lawyer at the High Court. Jeevan says he had changed homes several times until he completed his plus two. The family stayed at a rented house in Jagathy until he was in standard five, then they moved into another house in Poojapura. “We used to shift houses at least once in three years. So, I am quite used to shifting. It’s been twelve years since my father has constructed our house in Thirumala. It is a regular two storey house that was trendy during those days. There is a long balcony on the upper floor. Besides, roofing sheet has been paved above the ceiling. I had already left home for higher studies and then job by the time we built a house of our own. So, I had stayed only for a short period of time in my house. I really miss home, especially since my niece is staying there. I am sad that I cannot be part of their happiness. My father had purchased a flat in Vytila, in 2018. Now, I live in this flat. I haven’t decorated the interiors much as I stay alone. I couldn’t go home even during the lockdown,” notes Jeevan.
Houses in Karikku
Jeevan is a fan of the amazingly furnished office of Karikku. He is impressed by the fact that it hardly feels like a work space. “Those who work in a traditional office would be longing to go home in the evening. But, we seldom feel that way, when we are in our office. I go to my flat only to sleep at night. Meanwhile, I like spending the entire day in the office. Nikhil, the founder of the channel, deserves the credit for turning our office into such a desirable working space. His wife too has done some wall arts and paintings there. The houses that are shown in the episodes too have undergone changes as the channel grew. During the initial days, we had rented a house to be used as an office. It is at that house that we shot the episodes of Thera Para. Though we moved to a new office, we still shoot content at the old house. Karikku’s latest episode ‘Ripper’ too was filmed in that house. However, we have given it an attractive facelift, including fresh coats of paint,” says the actor.
The filming of videos and other content has been stalled due to the second wave of pandemic and the subsequent lockdown. Jeevan revealed that the artists at Karikku are busy creating fresh content and their audience could soon expect a unique episode, like their recent video titled ‘Ulkka’. “Most of my colleagues have gone home during the lockdown. I enjoy cooking. I really do some interesting experiments at my ‘cooking lab’. Besides, I watch a lot of movies too. I also find time to think about new themes and stories. I visit Karikku’s office occasionally to meet my friends. I have been in love, but nothing had been serious. I haven’t thought about getting married anytime soon. Now, I would like to concentrate only on Karikku. I believe that everything would come our way when the time is right,” Jeevan signs off.