It indeed is a rare fortune that a new actor, whose first two Tamil movies didn’t see the light of the day, winning the state award for his debut Malayalam film. Actor Manikandan Achary, who played the role of Balan Chettan in the critically acclaimed movie 'Kammattipadam' which narrated the tales of the marginalized sections in the society, is incredibly lucky. It must be his own hardships and bitter experiences in life that motivated Manikandan to play the role with such a genuine passion. Manikandan is truly elated about his brand new house at Eloor in Thripunithura. In just 3.5 cents, this beautiful house has all the facilities required for a common man.
Designed in 1500 sq ft area, the house has a car porch, sit out, living – dining hall, bedrooms, kitchen and a terrace as well. The meticulous space arrangement is the highlight of the house.
Manikandan has named his house ‘Mullakkal’ in memory of his father who was the komaram (oracle) at the Mullakkal Vanadurga temple. “I belong to a family of goldsmiths; hence I have the surname ‘Acahry’. Though we had celebrated the house warming ceremony, things are just falling in place. As the house stands on a smaller plot, the interiors are mostly designed in the open theme,” says Manikandan.
What draws the attention as soon as one enters the house is a photograph in which Manikandan is seen in his 'Kammattipadam' avatar with his co-stars Vinayakan and Dulquer Salman. The entrance door leads to a quaint living area. The TV unit has been arranged here. Meanwhile, an adjacent pooja space completes the living space. From here, one could enter the dining hall with the kitchen and the work area close by.
The handrails of the stairway are made in stainless steel. This stairway leads to an upper storey hall where a framed photograph of Manikandan standing with Rajnikant is kept. He had acted in a small role in the Rajnikant-starrer 'Petta'. The image was clicked during the filming of this movie. Manikandan’s bedroom is on the upper floor. So, he has kept an earthen pot here with fresh drinking water in it. The actor says that he could enjoy the cool and refreshing water from the earthen pot instead of running down to the kitchen.
Many were sceptical whether the house, built on 3.5 cents, would have enough space in the front yard. However, the structure has been designed leaving space enough for two people to walk around the house. Besides, small plants, vegetables or herbs too could be planted in the front or back yard.
One cannot help but notice that Manikandan stays alone in this house. He opens up about why his family isn’t living with him. “I didn’t desert my family when I built the new house. From a young age itself, I have been living alone. After my father died, my mother and we four children had been living at different places. It was a life sans any discipline. After growing up, all of us stayed together for some time in a rented house. But, it became difficult for us to stay together due to many differences. So, we separated again. However, all of us gather occasionally. I just keep a hand's distance from my family so that our love would remain forever,” explains Manikandan.
The actor admits that he began looking for a house without having a big saving. He had applied for a bank loan after he saw this house and liked it. But, his application was rejected in the last moment. Manikandan reveals that it was a lead actor in Malayalam cinema who lent him the money for paying the advance amount for the house.
“It is this balcony that attracted me the most the first time I saw the house. At that moment, I had a day-dream that I was waving to my fans from this balcony after winning the national award. That is when I decided that I wanted this house. I was able to arrange some loan as well. I would continue doing movies as long as the audience gives me their love and support. I am sure that I could repay my debts. Soon, someone special too would join me here. I and the house are eagerly waiting for her,” says Manikandan with a smile.