"On film sets, people would come up to me and ask 'Where's the director' and I would just lead them on. Haha!" he said.
Karthik still remembers the exact moment he decided to be a filmmaker - it happened when he watched a film shoot by director K. Balachander.
Something sparked in him and since then nothing ever attracted him more.
Karthik started off making short films in his university days and in 2014, released a film called Melle Thirantathu Kathavu on DVD. His first feature film to get a theatrical release was The Farm: En Veettu Thottathil.
Sughamaai Subhulakshmi followed, and both feature films were critically-acclaimed and established him as a well-known director among Malaysian Indians.
Despite all the love and recognition his films got, Karthik took a break after completing the filming of Sughamaai Subhulakshmi and started focusing on his TV career. Why?
"The reason was anger. Every time I create art (film), there's nothing in return. Of course, I'm not blaming anyone, I have my own flaws. When I realise my mistakes, it makes me angry.
"At first, I thought I was angry at everything. With myself, with the cinema that lives in me and on people who watch the cinema I make. But eventually, I realised I was only angry at myself because of my desire to make films," he explained.
Thriving in the cine world is not easy. According to Karthik, it's scarier than you think. "I was scared to take the next step. I started doubting myself. I wanted to put an end to filmmaking!"
However, Adai Mazhai Kaalam changed Karthik's decision to quit. He just couldn't say no to such a beautiful story. He has decided to jump in without much expectation.
"I just wanted to tell this story and really have no big hopes for theatrical success. However, after seeing the response to the title poster release, I have to agree - it's recognition like this that keeps an artist motivated," Karthik added.
Even if his films didn't give him the expected financial success, awards and recognition gave him confidence and kept the artist in him alive.
"I've given up everything to be where am I today. I gave up a secure, high-salaried lecturer job. I sacrificed all the time I could spend with my family," he said.
If you would like to watch his full interview, stay tuned at this space on Astro Ulagam! Here's the teaser of his upcoming film. Let's support true talents like Karthik Shamalan!
Don't miss the opportunity to meet him at the HGH Convention Hall, Sentul. For Gala Dinner tables, entry passes and invitations public may contact 019 2240 999 or visit www.micaawards.com for information.
Photo Credit: Karthik Shamalan Instagram