Malayalam movie "My Fan Ramu".

A Salman Khan fan competition is all it took to turn playback singer Nikhil Menon into a filmmaker. Menon, who has no formal film training but has sung in 14 films, makes his directorial debut with “My Fan Ramu” in Kerala this week.

“I never knew how to direct a film, but my vision of the film was clear and I proceeded,” said Menon, who also wrote the film’s script

The film, about a movie star and his fan Ramu, was inspired by a real-life competition in which a fan got to have dinner with Khan during the promotion of one of the superstar’s films.

“I thought of turning this idea into a 10 days stay with the super star,” said Menon.

Ramu, by virtue of winning a contest, gets to spend 10 days with his idol, and takes his two friends with him on the trip. During their stay, their crude behaviour often causes an embarrassment to the star.

“The first half of the story is a laugh riot, while the second half turns serious when a young woman is murdered and all evidence points to the involvement of the superstar,” explained Menon.

Model turned actor Rajeev Pillai plays the star and Saiju Kurup, who co-wrote the script, is his fan.

“Working with Rajeev Pillai and Saiju Kurup was comfortable. Rajeev Pillai had the freedom to improvise his character,” he added.

A trained vocalist since the age of six, Menon aspired to become a playback singer. Direction happened by accident, said the film buff, who despite only making one film so far, also runs Cochin Media School, a filmmaking institute with several directors from the Malayalam film industry as guest faculty members. His father Krishna Kumar has produced a couple of films. “When I took the script to several directors, they were already committed to other projects,” said Menon.

It was on the suggestion of his friend, script writer Shankar Ramakrishnan, that he then decided to direct the film.

“I never knew how to direct a film, but my vision of the film was clear and I proceeded ahead,” he said of the film, produced by Sasi Ayyanchira under the banner of Sri Uthrattathi Films. Other members of the cast include Guinness Pakaru, Biju Kuttan and Malavika Wales. Players from CCL Kerala Strikers such as Nivin Pauly, Munna Simon, Rejath Menon and Nishanth Sagar make guest appearances.