As a second-year student of mechanical engineering in Velammal College of Engineering, Santhosh Palavesh and seven other friends made short films on the handycam in 2007 as a hobby. The films received praise from those who saw them, and the hobby turned into serious fun when the team began to enter every competition and won every single one.


And, before they knew it, they began making visual effects for ad films and Tamil movies, all the while learning the tricks of the trade from the Internet—right from how to mix sound to animation.


Today, five years later, 23-year-old Palavesh employs 17 people, and his company, UMM Studios, has 80-plus customers, which include big names such as Larsen and Toubro Ltd, Royal Bank of Scotland Plc., HCL Technologies Ltd and Tata Consultancy Services Ltd.


UMM Studios provides various creative services such as design, branding, ad films, corporate films, visual effects and animation. UMM also has a technology division which looks into web designing, web hosting, and even software solutions.


For Palavesh, the owner of the Rs.48 lakh company, the turning point came in his final year of engineering, when the talk all around college was to decide whether it would be an MS, an MBA or a job.


"I was a good student, and I had been placed in Caterpillar for a package of Rs.7.5 lakh; but I knew what I wanted," recounts Palavesh. Having just received Rs.75,000 for an ad film they made, the choice was clear for him.


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