New director on the block Sakkath Hot Mahi!
You don?t get to work as an assistant director to an award winning director, just because, ok, you are a damn good dancer. But namma very own Mahi, a Kalari exponent, or more specifically a temple dance connoisseur, who we hear is making a splash in California for his mix ?n match desi classical and Bollywood dance exploits, is well on the way to become a hot draw in Tollywood. His latest ticket to name and fame: As assistant director to RP Patnaik, award winning director of Tulasi Dalam. The film is slated to release very soon and the word is that it is going to be a film to be watched.
?It was destiny I guess,? says Mahi, short for Mahesh Kumar Hiremath, ?that I would make the grade to be a part of a Patnaik film. It just happened just at the time when I was harboring a dream to make a film.?
Mahi is actually not a green horn exactly in film making. One fine day a few years back, he decided that it was not enough to just dream about becoming a film maker and took a flight to San Francisco. With a pocketful of dare and dash, he joined the San Francisco School of Digital Film Making, where he learnt the ropes of digital film making and went on to assist and direct many short movies. ?A lot people scoffed at my impulsive move and I was like tottering on the brink,? Mahi recalled. ?But I had a few close friends who spurred me on. Of course my family was supportive, but the ultimate decision was mine. And it was a tough choice to make. After all, if it didn?t work, I would become a laughing stock. But I chose to follow my heart. And I feel blessed that it has now clicked.?
Maybe Mahi is underplaying it considering he has really been an over-achiever at such a young age. An accomplished Kalaripayattu and Bollywood style dance professional in the US, with several award winning performances to his credit, he has already worked with several big names, such as Lourd Vijay, a Latin cultural music and dance artist and Guinness world record holder for the maximum number of swing dance flips in a minute. Rajesh Nair, a veteran dance choreographer who has given more than 1000 stage shows, Richard Tholoor, international Salsa champion, Abhilash Ningappa, his dance guru, and Shiamak Davar among others.
Mahi?s friends reveal that he has always had a Plan B in place. If film making wasn?t writ in his destiny, dance was. But this guy was different. He was driven. He was a dreamer who dared. He wanted to make his own way. And he did. And he made it. Period.
Dig a little deep and you get a perspective. To dream ? and to dream big ? you need to have taken that one small step. And Mahi had taken not a small, but a very big, very noticeable, very visible step. He stepped out to dance. That was his forte, his calling card. It worked. And it worked big. In his first dance reality show, Sai to Dance, judged by India?s own Michael Jackson, Prabhu Deva, he drew first blood, coming up as a semi-finalist. Offers poured to act in lead roles in many TV serials. He did the drill. And became famous. Now Mahi was no more a face in the crowd. He was a face the crowds recognized.
He has donned the grease paint for Alaap Productions playing the lead role in many TV serials, the prominent ones among them being Akka for Zee Kannada, Manasare and Abiba for Kasturi channel, apart from work behind the camera as assistant director, and as editor/director of photography for Sri Sai Creations.
As part of the film making course, Mahi has learnt the art and craft of visual storytelling, film aesthetics, screenwriting fundamentals, editing, direction, digital cinematography, audio design & techniques, intermediate film production, documentary proposal writing & editing, etc. ?I am work in progress,? he acknowledges with typical humility.
Even before he studied film making in the US, Mahi earned his fifteen minutes of celluloid fame as assistant director in BAG Films & Media Ltd, Bangalore. ?It was a memorable learning curve and exciting,? recalls Mahi. ?I was the eyes and ears of the director, and got my hands into the nitty-gritty of pre-production, storyboard, scheduling shoots, drawing up the cast and crew, hiring locations, props, equipment, etc.?
During his study in the US, he worked on some film making projects, viz. as producer & director of a visual montage for a short fiction film, a documentary on Mona Khan Dance Company, a short commercial web spot for Hoopfund.com, and several other short films.
So what?s the next pit stop for namma Mahi, actor, director, choreographer, and dancer? Watch out for --. Till the next Mahi special.