Actor Althaf Manaf on making a space for himself in Malayalam films

Althaf Manaf was barely 16 when he auditioned for Anil Radhakrishna Menon’s 2015 fantasy adventure film Lord Livingstone 7000 Kandi. Even though it was a few moments on screen, Althaf was filled with a sense of accomplishment. He had made it through the audition, to the big screen, without having any experience in acting or anyone to guide him.

His second film happened the following year, Midhun Manuel Thomas’s Sunny Wayne-starrer Ann Mariya Kalippilanu. This time around, his role was longer and noticeable. He played Sharath, the boy-next-door who helps the protagonist Ann Mariya find a hitman to seek revenge against her physical training teacher. “Though I had no experience being on a set or among established actors, I did not feel out of place or nervous,” says Althaf.

Althaf Manaf in a still from Sara’s

Althaf Manaf in a still from Sara’s
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

While facing the camera, acting came naturally to him, says Althaf. “But that is not the case during acting camps. Most films have acting camps that are meant to help each actor get into character and is a great platform for perfecting the part. But I have never been able to perform in an acting camp. I am a bundle of nerves in an acting camp,” laughs Althaf.

In a career spanning seven years, Althaf has acted in 19 films. “I have always been passionate about cinema. Right from childhood, I had nursed a dream of being a part of films. My family has been supportive too. I try to build my own contacts in the industry and today, I am happy at the way my career has turned out,” says Althaf, who hails from Thrissur.

Althaf has acted in Aadya Rathri, Sara’s, Kunjeldho, Pappan, Porinju Mariam Jose, to mention a few. He has also done a small role in Drishyam II, “an unforgettable experience” as he met Lalettan (Mohanlal) for the first time. “I had only seen him on screen and it was a huge thing for me to be sharing space with him in a film. He has no airs of a superstar. I was in awe of him, but managed to walk up to him and introduce myself. I was struck by how friendly and encouraging he was,” says Althaf.

Althaf Manaf in a still from Kapp

Althaf Manaf in a still from Kapp
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Althaf will be seen in upcoming films Kapp starring Basil Joseph, Guru Somasundaram and Jude Anthani. He is also a part of Kunjammini’s Hospital starring Indrajith, Nyla Usha, Prakash Raj and Baburaj among others. Currently, Althaf is working in a film directed by Jexson Antony, a Vypeen-based humorous, feel-good film.

“Having come this far itself is a great achievement for me. I just want to be a part of films,” says Althaf, who plans to learn other aspects of film, such as cinematography and editing as well.

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