Blazing New Paths
Shanuka Kadupitiyage Ceylon Today Features
Twenty-four year old Mevan Karunarathne is a budding YouTuber in Sri Lanka. His channel, Martial Fanatics showcases him and his friends and their latest web series, Agent 24, which has already released four episodes online.
Besides their web series, Mevan and his friends are currently working with the production crew of an upcoming movie, Case no 447.
In a country where good action movies are almost non-existent, it’s not every day that you get to see young martial arts enthusiasts, not only producing good content on their own but also making a name for themselves with those within the industry.
Ceylon Today reached out to Mevan to learn more about their journey.
The spark ignites
Being a student of martial arts for over 10 years, Mevan began his life as a martial artist at the young age of 13, under the tutelage of Lakshman Karunaratne.
Mevan, a huge fan of classic action movies starring the likes of Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Jean-Claude Van Damme, watching these action heroes in the big screen sparked something within him.
“As a young, rambunctious teenager, I started martial arts with the desire to fight. But over time, I came to realise that martial arts isn’t only for fighting. I also realised that it is not as easy to learn as we see in movies.
“I did not see them only as actors,” he shared. “I realised that they had something beyond that. I saw that they had mastered acting as well as martial arts. Even so, I didn’t really want to act. I wanted to be a good fighter,” he reflected on the moment he knew what he wanted to with life.
More than 10 years later, Mevan has studied Wushu, Kung fu, Karate, Taekwondo, Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and Jeet-kune-do which has all helped him grow into the talented martial artist he has now become.
More than just fighting
A martial artist himself, Mevan strongly believes that there is a lot that people can learn from martial arts, more than just how to fight.
“Learning a martial art can help you gain discipline, become more confident, stay physically fit, learn how to persevere and achieve goals and to have physical and mental endurance alongside learning how to defend yourself,” he said.
“Patience and dedication is essential to the learning process,” Mevan commented before further noting that one shouldn’t be afraid of doing something wrong just because they might make mistakes. In fact, he opines, those very downfalls are what make one learn their strengths – a lesson he credits martial arts for teaching him.
The dream team
Mevan wasn’t alone in his journey in martial arts. Walking every step of the way with him were Prabashwara Karunarathne, Shakthi Deemantha, Sasindu Dhananjaya, Tharusha Lakshan , Sahan Perera and Numbazarade Silva.
Together, the group created Martial Fanatics and are still going strong.
“I consider them as my brothers. We have played together since childhood. It’s special that we all learnt martial arts at the same time, under the same teacher on the same day. We all work together as one. They are a driving force to take this series forward,” Mevan said speaking of the group.
“The reason I started this channel was because I love to watch action movies, but there’s basically no such thing as action movies in our country,” Mevan explained.
“I had the desire to one day lay the foundation for the production of action movies in our country. I hope to further develop and build a future generation of potential action movie stars by creating this channel.”
“Martial Fanatics is a very different YouTube channel in Sri Lanka. The first action web series in Sri Lanka was launched by us, and I strongly believe we can inspire the creation of more action movies in Sri Lankan cinema and add a different dimension to the local movie industry through this channel.”
Martial Fanatics’ first production, titled Agent 24 definitely reflects Mevan’s dream of sparking a movement within the local cinema industry. Watching through the four episodes available on YouTube, it’s evident that the team behind the production are constantly upping their game, improving not only on stunts and fight choreography, but also cinematography and post production. It’s evident how much passion they put into making these videos, which have plenty of exciting and thrilling action that continue to get better with each episode.
All of Mevan’s hard work has been paying off. Martial Fanatics have been approached by Kelum Aryan and the production team of Case no. 447, which Mevan revealed to be an upcoming action movie from the local cinema industry; the first in many years.
While he wasn’t at liberty to reveal much, we do know that Martial Fanatics will be contributing not only to give direction to the fights in the movie, but also play a few roles in the movie itself. While it might take a while before we see Martial Fanatics in the big screen, it’s reassuring that the efforts of those passionate in what they do are being noticed and are being scouted into the local industries.
For now, we all can enjoy Mevan and Martial Fanatics’ work online via their YouTube channel. Their passion and drive to create a change in an industry that has been struggling for many years is being heard and is truly inspirational.
Not only that, their story is a testament to the fact that passion, dedication, perseverance and a relentless effort to improve each day brings results in martial arts, and in life.
A message to you from Mevan and Martial
“Identify your talent. Make a commitment to do so. Push past obstacles and don’t worry about ones to come. Because all it takes is one idea to change world.”