Aayush Agarwal: On FreshFace, Acting & the importance of Moisturizing!

Our student Aayush Agarwal recently took part in the Hyderabad Times Fresh Face 2015, and was the 1st runner-up. We caught up with him recently for a quick Q&A session. Here’s what our young star had to say!

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Q: What was the first thing that came across your mind when you were crowned 1st runner-up?

A: It was a beautiful feeling. The fact that I was able to even come in 2nd place in a competition that is as vast as this one, is what made me feel happy. As far as not winning comes up, I’m okay with being second, because this is what will make me strive to come 1st the next time. It will make me work harder. That is a plus point according to me.

Q: What can we expect next from you?

A: I have a few short films that are lined up. Also, I am auditioning for another feature film where I am supposed to play the younger version of Rana (Daggubati), so let’s hope that gets through. Apart from this, I am also playing the junior version of the actor Shashank (Siddamsetty) in the upcoming film Yathartam (AISFM Student Grad Film). Shashank has won a Nandi Award, so that’s a big honour for me to be able to work in the same film as him.

Q: How did you come across this competition and what were the things you underwent during the hunt?

A: Clean & Clear goes to several colleges and has auditions in their campus. I, however, was informed about it by my friend that there were open auditions being held at Inorbit Mall, in which anybody could register. That’s where I auditioned. I acted in the 1st round and cleared it. There were about 1000 students at this level. In the semi-finals, 20 of us were shortlisted. Designer Ganesh Nallari took us shopping and gave each one of us a makeover, so that was fun! He also choreographed the ramp walk that each of us had to do in the finals. A quick introduction session along with a talent round then happened, which determined whether you are a finalist or not.

Q: What did you do for the Talent Round?

A: I acted and danced. I performed on the song Aala Barfi (Barfi) and proposed to the judge Regina Cassandra at the end of it (laughs). Then I transitioned into acting by saying the dialogue from Pyaar ka Punchnama. I had three minutes for my entire performance, so fitting all these elements and making sure I’m doing it all right was a challenge for me.

Q: What is the secret behind your Clean, Clear and Fresh face? 🙂

A: (laughs). The secret is that I use my Clean & Clear facewash followed by a moisturizer. On a serious note, I know where I want to go, and I know I need to have this if I want to move forward. I need to take good care of myself if I want to get into this field. So yes, that’s my secret!

Top Ten Pick of 2015

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The year gone by has given some great gems and even bigger duds. But mostly it has been good for Hindi films, which had a good balance and mix of a variety of movies ranging from historical to romantic and from the best of VFX used in movies to real-inspired stories. And they all seemed to have managed to work well with the audience.

While some movies may not have been big-budget films, they still have fared brilliantly at the box-office and most importantly earned great reviews from the critics.

Here’s our list of some of the best movies 2015 has seen:
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  1. Bajrangi Bhaijaan
    The story of a man with a noble heart who tries to take a young mute Pakistani girl back to her homeland to reunite her with her family, touched the right chord with the audience and it was a big hit. Salman Khan essaying the lead role was much appreciated and people flocked the theatres to see it over and over again.

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  2. Bahubali
    In ancient India, an adventurous and daring man gets involved in a decade-old feud between two warring families. The slick film with great special effects and exceptional performances broke all language barriers and was widely well received making it a big blockbuster across the country. Cinemagoers are eagerly looking forward to the second part of this most expensive film ever that has an otherworldly medieval landscape, with gigantic waterfalls, towering mountains and forests.

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  3. Drishyam
    Drishyam had what it takes to `hook’ the audience, be it in any language. This was one movie that had a universal appeal and touched the right chord, a story that people liked and appreciated for its novel theme and treatment. The original Drishyam (Malayalam) was inspired by Japanese crime-writer, Keigo Higashino’s novel The Devotion of Suspect X and was later made as Drishya (Kannada), Drushyam (Telugu), Papanasam (Tamil) and Drishyam (Hindi). The story is about a man who tries desperate measures to save his family from the dark side of the law, after they commit an unexpected crime.

    Bajirao Mastaani

  4. Bajirao Mastaani
    The tale of romance between an Indian general Baji Rao I and Mastani, a Muslim princess proved to be a box-office success. Right down to its sets, songs and war sequences, everything was grandeur personified. The lyrical masterpiece with its poetic dialogues and literary brilliance strike the audience with its grandeur.

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  5. Manjhi
    Using only a hammer and a chisel, a man spends twenty-two years carving a road through a treacherous mountain. This movie is a salute to the acting skills of Nawazuddin Siddiqui and was based on a true story and critically much appreciated.

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  6. Talvar
    The film is about an experienced investigator who confronts several conflicting theories about the perpetrators of a violent double homicide. It is as real as reality can be with its portrayal of the professional rivalries between investigating teams and is a brave film that devastates and makes for a compelling watch.

    Tamasha

  7. Tamasha
    Tamasha is about the journey of someone who has lost his edge in trying to behave according to socially acceptable conventions of the society. This complex and intriguing journey is a theatrical attempt at exploring love, life and the love for life in its best form – free from the shackles of society. Ranbir and Deepika’s performances were a notch above the rest.

    Piku

  8. Piku
    The quirky comedy about the relationship between an ageing father and his young daughter, living in a cosmopolitan city, dealing with each other’s conflicting ideologies while being fully aware that they are each other’s only emotional support is a new story never before seen on screen. The movie offered no romantic escapades but the relationship between the eccentric family of Piku was endearing and much loved.

    Badlapur

  9. Badlapur
    After his family is killed during a bank robbery, a man tries to avenge their death. That is the story of Badlapur, a revenge saga that plays out with great intensity and superb acting by its lead actors.

    Dum Laga Ke Haisha

  10. Dum Laga Ke Haisha
    A slim uneducated guy is pressured into an arranged marriage with an over-weight college girl. The mismatched couple are challenged to compete in the annual wife-carrying race. A new kind of story, it was critically acclaimed.

Rewind: Best of 2015!

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The year 2015 finally came to an end a couple of days ago, and like each year, we look back to see what gems the year had to offer. Without any further ado, AISFM presents ‘Best of 2015’. Our list includes the most downloaded apps, music, films, TV shows, and much more. There are a few surprises on it, but for the most part it’s pretty straightforward and you’re probably already a fan of most of the mentioned items.

Most Downloaded Song
(Mark Ronson’s ‘Uptown Funk’ featuring Bruno Mars)uptown funk
The track, which features Bruno Mars, notched up a combined sales and streaming total of 1.76 million to finish at the top of the end of year chart. The song’s total combined sales since its release in November 2014 stand at 2.25 million! This was followed by Ed Sheeran’s ‘Thinking Out Loud’, and Adele’s ‘Hello’ which, to be fair, came out a lot later in the year than the aforementioned tune, which came in at #6.

Most Downloaded TV Show
(Game of Thrones)
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On the small screen ‘Game of Thrones’ (Season 5) was the #1 download. Here’s a nerdy statistic for you ‘Game of Thrones’ fans: There are more illegal downloads of the show every week than there are people in King’s Landing. That’s according to piracy monitoring service Irdeto, which monitored illegal TV downloads for two months earlier this year, and found GoT to be increasingly popular. Around 116,000 copies of the show were downloaded each day on an average. (King’s Landing, according to the George R.R. Martin books, has a mere 500,000 souls.)

Most Downloaded Movie
(Interstellar)
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According to figures from Excipio, which tracks BitTorrent downloads, the Matthew McConaughey flick got a whopping 46.7 million downloads from the start of this year to December 25. Compared with ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’, which was number one on the same list in 2014, with 30 million downloads, 56% more copies of the film were downloaded. This is so out of this world!

Most Downloaded App
(Trivia Crack)
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When it comes to free iPhone apps, social media definitely ruled. If you had a hunch that Instagram and Snapchat were in the top 10, you’re right. They were #5 and #4 respectively. The #1 spot in this category went to Trivia Crack. When talking about paid iPhone apps, the games ruled. Heads Up!, Minecraft: Pocket Edition, and Trivia Crack were the top three downloads.

Most Visited Website
(Google)
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Alexa ranks websites based on a combined measure of page views and unique site users. Alexa creates a list of “top websites” based on this data, time-averaged over three-month periods. Only the site’s highest-level domain is recorded, aggregating any sub-domains. According to Alexa Internet, google.com is the most visited website of 2015.

Most Used Instagram Hashtag
(Love)
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Instagram is slowly but surely becoming the new Facebook. With hash-tagging becoming the most used thing with every passing day on instagram, we just could not complete this list without including the most used hashtag of the previous year. According to Webstagram, in 2015 the hashtag used the most was #love. This was followed by #instagood, #me and finally #tbt.

10 Films For March: The best films you missed in 2014

Each month we countdown 10 films that are worth pulling out for a rewatch. This month, we look that some of the best films from 2014 that you probably didn’t see.

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Nightcrawler

Nightcrawler
The first of two Jake Gyllenhaal film on our list! The film explores the sleazy world of US tabloid journalism where TV networks compete for gory and exploitative footage of crimes and accidents. Gyllenhaal plays Lou Bloom, a ruthless, self-delusional sociopath who finds success as a freelance video journalist when he crosses the line between capturing and creating crime footage.

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Leviathan

Leviathan
Kolya, a small-town Russian car mechanic, struggles to keep his family house from the land-grabbing plans of a corrupt local mayor. He is up against an endless list of challenges – the corrupt government, the useless legal system and even his own friends and family. The world weighs down on him – is it really worth the fight?

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The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya
Somewhat lost in the noise of The Lego Movie, How to Train Your Dragon 2 and Big Hero 6, this was by far the best animated film of 2014. The film offers breathtaking, hand-drawn animation from the legendary Studio Ghibli, and a heartbreaking story of what it means to grow old.
A childless bamboo cutter discovers a tiny girl inside a bamboo plant. He and his wife raise her as their daughter, however she grows and ages much faster than other children. Determined to give her a comfortable life, they move to a city and try to prepare her for marriage.
This film will be loved by the whole family. You can catch it in the original Japanese with subtitles, but the English version, with voices from Chloe Grace Moretz, James Caan is great.

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Blue Ruin

Blue Ruin
A gritty thriller wrapped up in lyrical visual poetry. This is what you hope to end up with when a talented cinematographer turns director – carefully composed frames with layers of meaning.
A homeless man wants vengeance when his parents’ killer is released from prison. However his bungled assassination attempt drags him and his estranged family into danger.  There is wonderful black humor in watching a ‘non-hero’ character trying to be an action star.

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Locke

Locke
An 80 minute feature film, with one on-screen character (Tom Hardy) as he drives his car from Birmingham to London, in real time. The action takes place through the phone calls he makes, to his wife, to his mistress and to the construction project that he is supposed to be supervising.

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A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
For a world, hopefully tired of glossy Twilight vampires, 2014 gave us two fresh vampire flicks: Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive, and Ana Lily Amirpour’s A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night.
We caught A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night at the Mumbai Film Festival and were blown away by this ‘Iranian vampire western’. Light on story but huge on mood, we follow a lonely vampire girl as she skateboards around her crime-ridden Iranian city, stalking her prey.
Will she find love, or forever dance alone under her mirrorball?

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The Drop

The Drop
An understated crime drama that serves as a vehicle for two of our favourite actors: James Gandolfini and Tom Hardy.  Throw in a story by one of our favourite writers – Denis Lehane, the scribe of Mystic River, Shutter Island, Gone Baby Gone and parts of The Wire and Boardwalk – and you just know that this is going to be great.
Small but expansive, simple yet gripping, and highly worth a watch.

Force Majeure

Force Majeure

Force Majeure
The best films often have a simple premise that really makes us think. Picture the perfect family on a vacation – a loving father, mother and kids. When a disaster strikes, the father panics and saves himself, leaving his family behind. Everyone is fine, except that they are not really. Can the father rebuild the relationship with his family?
This is a hilarious and wickedly dry black comedy from Swedish writer-director Ruben Ostlund.

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Enemy

Enemy
This is one of those films that takes a couple of watches to really understand everything that went on.
Jake Gyllenhaal is a bored, uninspired professor. He spots an actor who looks exactly like him in a film. As he tries to meet his doppleganger, his life begins to unravel.
Menacing, eerie and surreal, this film was too arty for the mainstream box office but will be a rewarding watch and rewatch for lovers of great cinema. The final image is probably the scariest twist of any film in 2014.

Starred Up

Starred Up

Starred Up
A gripping British prison drama. A young man – violent and unpredictable – is transferred from juvenile to adult prison. He wears this as a mark of pride, the fact that he grew up in ‘the system’, and sets out to further his tough reputation.
His father, a life-term prisoner, is determined to see that his son doesn’t follow in his shoes.
There’s a great appearance by Rupert Friend (Quinn from Homeland) as a prison psychologist who wants to give the inmates another chance.

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