Not many romantic-comedy films have made exciting waves in Mollywood. But the flick Om Shanthi Oshana rewrote history with the spark it created. The beautiful frames that we saw in the film was the handiwork of Vinod Illampally, the cameraman of the film.
The home that we are visiting today belongs to him and like his film, it is indeed a work of art. The house is located at Manikunnu, near Kottayam. When the entire film fraternity is shifting base to Kochi, Vinod is more at home in his beloved Kottayam. It was a year back that Vinod decided to do some modifications to his ancestral home.
Costford takes over the scene
The house that has been done with a traditional Kerala style architecture is easy to find along the route to Arrupuzha from Manikunnu. The exterior is so beautiful, that you just can’t go by, without giving it a second look.
Vinod was impressed by the design sensibility and building style of Costford. So when the time came for him to renovate his home, Vinod approached Costford. The engineer at Costford, Biju saw the house and suggested that instead of taking down the existing home, they could work at recycling the house. The south portion of the house was intact and didn’t need much work.
This was exactly what Vinod had in mind too. Thus began the scripting of the new home. The exterior of the house with the bricks exposed follows a Larry Baker style of construction. Polished granite has been laid in the courtyard area. The front part of the house almost looks like a museum for antiques. Traditional style chairs, antique wooden boxes, and apart from these a wheel made of wood steals the show. A seating area modelled like a sopanam completes the look here.
Every article or parts that they got when the house was taken apart has been used for the construction of the new house. The old roof tiles were also used for the roofing and only a few extra pieces were purchased. The main door is new though.
The interiors showcase an excellent fusion of traditional and contemporary styles of dcor. The highlight of the living room is the ‘Arra’. Symbols of a rich heritage, the Arra & Nilavara have been retained as such. In the current times, many families do not value these and are busy selling it off. But not here. The Arra has been converted into a Puja room and the Nilavara has been modified slightly.
Another major attraction in the interior are the old doors that have doubled up as windows in the new home. These can be found above the central courtyard (Nadumuttam), in the first landing of the stairs and in many other corners of the house.
The credit for this innovative idea goes to Anil, who did all the wood work in the house. Another of Anil’s praise worthy work is the wooden seating that he has given in the second landing of the staircase. This is not all. The pillars that we see on the top floor are made from a portion of the ‘Chenda’ instrument.
The old Mukhapu found a different place in the new home - on the walls of the bedroom, instead of the entrance. The variety in the bedroom does not end there. Bay windows with colourful glass takes the bedroom decor a notch higher than the usual styles.When the renovation was almost complete, they were left with many extra wooden planks. Anil fashioned stylish rectangle shaped switchboards out of this wood for all the rooms.
The major change that happened when the rebuilding was done was in the directions. The front part of the earlier house used to face the east, but now this is the back part. So the west portion is now the front facing part. But Vinod was particular about keeping the ‘Poomukham’ (Entrance) just as it used to be before.
The next question is aimed at the cinematographer. “Would you ever hire out your home for film shooting?” Vinod gives us a smile and quickly retreats inside!
Designer: Biju P. John, Civil Engineer, Costford, Kottayam.(firstname.lastname@example.org)