Aayush: Working in ‘Mom’ is a dream come true!

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Aayush Agarwal is on a roll, after bagging a role in the latest Sridevi starrer Mom. Now that the movie has released, his role has been appreciated. A Film and Media student (specializing in Advertising and Digital Marketing) of AISFM, Aayush talks to us about his role in Mom and describes it as “One of the happiest moments of my life”. In our tête-à-tête, he shares that he feels lucky to be working with legends in Mom. Read on to find out what this young actor has to say about his foray into Bollywood and much more!

How did your role happen in Mom?
I auditioned at the most renowned casting company in Bollywood i.e. Mukesh Chhabra Casting Company that has casted for films like Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Dangal, Chennai Express, PK etc.

How did you feel when you realized you bagged a role in this movie?
Bollywood has always been where I wanted to be and I certainly felt and still feel blessed to have this on my plate luckily at a young age, where being in Hyderabad didn’t become the kind of barrier it would have been a few years earlier. There is a lot of gratitude and extreme sense of pleasure to be associated with a film of this magnitude with legends on board.

How did this movie compare to your other past work in your life?
Well, all work has its own importance and value and you value whatever comes your way at that given time and then you join the dots as you look back. I have been a part of Drushyam and 24 earlier when it comes to feature films and they’re as special to me as Mom is.

How did your family feel about role in this movie?
Probably every one out of two people know Sridevi and we have all seen her films and grown up. I can say this for myself and for the generation before me. Both my parents have been fans of Sri Ma’am and when they found out that their son would not only meet her, but work with her and share screen space with her, I guess their happiness had no bounds and at my end, I only hope and wish I try and make them proud with whatever little I can do.

How will you enjoy your accomplishments in this movie?
I have enjoyed the process of the movie and that is more important to me. As far as accomplishments of the movie are concerned, it is most definitely one of the best teamwork I’ve seen on set. I remember that after the premiere, there were wonderful reviews and we celebrated by dancing our way off for the fact that we finished the film.

How did you feel at the end of the day working for such a movie like Mom?
You never want journeys like these to end, because they’re your dream turned into reality where you are in the same space as veterans of the industry, in the kind of atmosphere where you’ve met alike people and made friends for life. The last day is obviously very heavy. But, it only ends one journey with hopefully many more to come, and doesn’t end any relationship.

How do you think others see you as a professional at this young age?
I am unaware if others see me as a professional or not, but I just hope some manage to notice the passion that runs within because I am a firm believer that persistence always wins over intelligence.

How do you see yourself now and five years later?
I do not know, and I am glad that I don’t know. I’d like to take one step at a time and would rather be efficient in what comes my way to be the best in that moment in terms of what I can deliver. If I manage to do this well, I’m certain that five years down the line would be a sweet spot.

How do you want others to see you as a professional?
Effective, Efficient and Deserving.

What was the happiest moment that you encountered while working on this movie and why?
I was on board as soon as I received the confirmation call from the casting company that I have been locked for the character Rishi. And that, I think was the most happiest moment for the fact that I knew I had my first Bollywood role falling in place, and the scale of it was huge.

‘Speaking the unSPOKEN’ – Aayush Agarwal

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The documentary, ‘unSPOKEN’, is a journey of a forty-year-old man, in a seven minute time span, about how he stands strong, not only for himself but for others like him. It is an attempt to speak about the taboo that is not spoken about even though there are victims and abusers of the same almost everywhere. This film speaks about one case in particular, and how the protagonist ‘got over it’ by immersing himself in art.

The film starts off with an empty canvas that is being filled by Ganesh. As the journey progresses, you realize that there are emotions that are splashed onto the canvas which eventually end up creating art. The painting has a very deep meaning that can be relatable to anybody who has a buried trauma haunting them. Film, according to me, is a very strong medium to reach out to people. Through this, one can make people more aware of what’s happening around them, with their friends, family or children. Things could happen to anybody – and unfortunately, can happen anywhere.

Being the director, I wanted to keep the film as real and as untouched as I could especially while showcasing any aspect of his (Ganesh’s) life. The script was kept crisp so that we keep the film short and to the point. I did keep in mind that it was important for me to get to the roots from the beginning, especially since he was bullied ever since childhood. The script was written, narrated and visualized by Ganesh himself. Revanth Vojjala (our film’s cinematographer) and I sat down with him after the final draft was written and it was then that we started to give it a structure.

This was something that Ganesh wanted to do for about a year but for a few reasons it hadn’t happened. Coincidentally, I wanted to make a film about this as well. One day over dinner I shared my idea with him and he said, “I think it’s time”; Ganesh went on to elaborate on how he himself wanted to create awareness about child sex abuse for a very long time. We decided on releasing it on November 19th because that day marks World Prevention Day for Child Abuse.

From a film maker’s perspective, the team had a few obstacles because of the subject of the film. Ganesh had a lot of emotional moments throughout. He was brave and had the courage to speak out loud. Revanth and I tried to ease the situation by our banter and bring a smile on Ganesh’s face.

unSPOKEN’ is not just a film for me. As a director there were times when I would be concerned about how sentiments shouldn’t be hurt, and I had to take extra measures, but all that kept aside, the fact that this was so important to all of us, drove Ganesh, Revanth and myself to sail through.

I had a brilliant team to work with, including our editor Punith Mahesh. I just let everybody do their job, not only because I trust them, but also because they’re all so good at their jobs. This helped the entire process go on smoothly and we had a good time shooting. Fun fact, on the day of the shoot we had the location for about 2 hours, so the painting in the film has been made in less than an hour!

We got to spend some time with the kids and that for me, was the most colourful part of the film. The kind of energy they got to the set added a fresh and positive vibe, lightening the baggage of emotions we had been carrying throughout the shoot.

My collaboration with Ganesh Nallari managed to fall into place so well because we were good friends even before having the ‘Director-Producer’ equation. This made the entire process much easier and ignited a vibe to just go and get things done. All the hardships and obstacles said and done, the end result was all worth it.

‘My first Bollywood’ – by Aayush Agarwal

Aayush Agarwal on his Bollywood break
One fine morning I woke up to eventually find out that I was going to get a call from Mukesh Chhabbra, which could only mean one thing; I was one step closer to my dream – ‘Check.’ I was going to be a part of the next Boney Kapoor film, MOM, starring Sridevi, Akshaye Khanna & Nawazuddin Siddique. Woah! Hold on a minute; what?

That moment, that very feeling after I hung up on the call, where I was informed that I’ve been locked for a character role in the film was pure magic! It was a privilege to be on a set of such scale and I value each and every moment of it. I wanted to do justice and give my 100% for not just this project, but for whatever else I will be having in my bag in the future. I shall keep working hard and get going with my journey.

Little did I know that randomly auditioning online could actually work! As each round passed it got me more excited and I was happily surprised to finally end up in a vanity with costume and make up, ready and waiting to be called for my first shot for my first Bollywood film! After having collected the experience of working in the film Drushyam and with the 24 team, it made me value this experience more and had me in a constant attempt to try doing things right, learning from my previous mistakes and discovering new, unbelievably interesting things along the way. To have the opportunity to not only meet but also share screen-space with a star like Sridevi is an amazing thing by itself. I felt chills when I spoke to her for the first time!

The experience that one can gain from working on a film set is huge, and with a director like Ravi Udyawar, who again is a master of what he does, this ‘experience gaining’ is taken to a whole new level. There were other very talented persons and a very happening crew that never let me get bored on set. Even during my previous experiences of being a part of films, I realize each time, not only how interesting film making is, but also how tough it is and what kind of passion it requires to make!

I don’t want to sound very diplomatic and say that this is my calling; all I know for sure, is that I am in a happy place when I work in this field and this only makes me want to do it even more. Things are falling in place for me, I would say, with luck being in my favour and would like things to be this way while I continue working hard and doing my role (pun intended).

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!

Aayush Agarwal Turns It On!

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A few days ago, AISFM student Aayush Agarwal released a video on his YouTube channel. And now, the video has gone viral! This Short film, titled “Turn It Off” tells people how necessary it is to conserve electricity, in a naughty and saucy way. Directed, written, produced, edited by Aayush, this 2:30 minute video got almost 1000 views in less than 36 hours, which is why one mustn’t miss watching it.

“I got the idea while browsing the Internet. I liked the idea of doing a video on conserving electricity,” says Aayush. Since there are already videos made on the same lines using a similar premise, Aayush came up with something different to make it stand out. “The fact that the video is short and crisp, along with the fact that it surprises you at the end, is what makes my short film different from the others,” he says.

The response the video has gotten so far has made the youngster extremely happy. “This video has the most number of hits on my channel. We worked really hard on this film. And it took us two days to complete the whole thing and that’s what makes it so special,” he says.

Here’s the video. Have a look!

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AISFM Student Aayush Agarwal, Making It Big!

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Aayush Agarwal, a student of AISFM, recently bagged a character role in the Venkatesh and Meena starrer Telugu film, Drushyam. We had a chance to catch up with our young rising-star and talk to him about his experience working in the film, his other projects and future plans. He has already worked in a motion picture, has his own YouTube channel with over fourteen thousand views, and had got offers for other films as well. Guess what? He’s not even eighteen yet!

Aayush said that that for him, working in Drushyam was an experience that helped him emotionally. After working in a film, people started taking him more seriously since they could now see his potential through that one piece of work. Every second spent during shoot was a learning experience he says.

Getting this role was not something he had not expected. It all happened during a filmmaking workshop he had attended when he was in 10th grade where he was spotted. After two whole years, he got a phone call one day and was asked to come down for an audition, and voila! He got the role.

“Though I had not performed that day during the workshop, I was spotted amongst the crowd. Maybe at that time the way I looked was similar to what they were looking for. What surprised me the most was the fact that they remembered me even after two years”

Even though he’s born and brought up in Hyderabad, his major shortcoming is speaking in Telugu. On asking why he hasn’t joined a language class, he said that he wants to learn the dialect and modulations and emotions behind the language which according to him, no class can teach. His hesitation in speaking this new language faded  during his conversation with Rana Daggupati, at the same filmmaking workshop, who helped get him out of his shell a little bit.

Apart from acting, Aayush is also a YouTuber. His channel has got 211 subscribers and over 14,000 views. For him, YouTube is a medium through which he can showcase his talent. Coming from a typical Marwadi family, he certainly had some restrictions. These for him were challenges that he had to over come. After being given his first camera by his father, he knew that he now had to prove himself to his family. He waiting for a crew only held him back, so he decided to take things in his own hands. His videos are directed, shot, edited and broadcasted by him alone. Though in such a short duration, he has so many subscribers, his happiness lies elsewhere.

“The views and subscribers are not things I take pride in. The expression my father had on his face when he saw me on the big screen is worth so much more than any number of followers or views.”

Talking about his life at AISFM, Aayush is a BFA (Film+Media) student specializing in Advertising and Digital Marketing. There is a lot of work, practical and theoretical, he says, that goes into the course. The faculty is supportive and the facilities and opportunities that are provided are better than other schools. The class is interactive and not at all boring so it helps non-readers excel too, he says.

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