‘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).

Vaishvi Mistry gets candid about her film ‘Sort The Spot’

AISFM student, Vaishvi Mistry brings to you a story that not many can openly talk about in our society – A girl’s first period. Her film ‘Sort The Spot’ just finished off with its making, and so we had a small chat with the filmmaker, to get out some details about her film.

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The film shows two parallel stories of two girls who get their period for the first time. It is about how the two stain their skirts, and eventually, ‘sort the spot’.

“Both stories deal with how differently their friends and families handle the situations. One is set in a typical govt. affiliated school, while the other is in a posh private school. We have tried showing a contrast between the two situations, and showcase the two ways in which Indians deal with this situation. It is still a taboo in India to talk about a girl’s period and so, what we tried to do through this film, is to give the audience two options when a situation like this arises. It is up to them to choose which path they would like to walk down.”

When asked about an experience that she would never forget, from the shoot, she said, “The film was shot partly in Hyderabad and partly in Surat. When we reached Surat, we were supposed to get about six hours of shoot in a school. We set up everything and were waiting for the kids to arrive in the morning. Then the kids come in, in completely different uniforms from the ones worn by our actors! Now we had already shot the rest of the film in those uniforms (the ones worn by the actors after R&D of the school), and we did not know what to do. After speaking to the school management, we were given another class who were in the daily uniforms, but we had only four hours to shoot. After speaking to my crew members, we decided to push ourselves and do the shoot in the limited time. We did not rest, we did not eat, and somehow managed to get all our shots”

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Her film deals with this taboo topic in a comic way. When asked why she opted to make her film this way, this is what she said, “I love treating things in a comic manner. The more serious or sensitive the issue is, the more comic I’d like to make it, in my film. This is why even Sort the Spot is not a serious film. It is an extreme opposite of what people would expect. It is challenging, and it hits people when there is a hint of satire or parody in it, as compared to if it (the film) were directly speaking about my subject. I will pick the genre which is the opposite of what people would expect to watch.”

“One of the two stories in the film is my personal story. I was pretty scared, and being an introvert made it even more terrific. As a filmmaker, I had to put my actor in the very same situation as I had been, but not let her react like how I did. The other story is about an extrovert. Though she is younger, she handles the situation pretty well, thanks to her friends,” she added.

On being asked about her experience of making a film, this is what she said: “It is always scary. Firstly, because it is our grad film. Second, because we are the first BFA batch, so everybody is waiting to see what we will come up with after studying this art for four years. Even when I came up with my story, I had a lot of ideas from others as to how the story can be improved. You need to know which ideas to take, and which to let go, while making sure to stick to what you originally wanted to convey. It was a good experience.”

“We had five days of shoot. We travelled. We got so lost in the film, that after a point we needed a fresh pair of eyes to tell us what we need to do, or what changes we need to make. I never gave my crew members food on time. Lunch always got delayed on sets, because for me, I cannot rest till I get my perfect shot. When you make a film, you are the only one who knows how you got a particular shot. People will tell you to do things in a different way, and there will be a lot of pressure. When you surpass this, you become a good filmmaker,” she said with a smile.

From student to star – Kashyap!

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AISFM’s acting student, Kashyap bagged the lead role in the upcoming film, Production No. 1 by Kalyan Cine Creations banner. We caught up with him on his first day of shoot for a quick chat. Here’s what the debutant had to say.

How was your experience studying at AISFM?
It was wonderful! I made a lot of friends, and the faculty were amazing. I felt that they helped in bringing out the dormant actor inside of me, to the outside world. I was very reserved and restricted before joining AISFM, but once I started learning all of the things taught in my acting course, especially my psychology classes, they opened me up and woke up the sleeping actor inside of me. My favourite was the acting class, mainly because of my teacher. He was my childhood mentor. It’s funny because when I was little, I used to go to his house for tuitions. His sister used to teach me, so I was able to create a good rapport with him as well. This is part of the reason of me being given the award for the Best Student of my batch.  Psychology was also one of my favourite subjects. It helped me get inside the mind of the character and helped me portray it better on screen.

Could you mention a fun/memorable experience during your time here?
We have a vending machine in the cafeteria, and one of my friend had figured out a trick that allowed us to access it without using coins. We had night classes till around 8, so after everybody left we used to finish almost 20-30 cups of coffee/tea every day and then leave (chuckles). I don’t think I’ll ever forget that!

How does studying in a film school set you apart from the rest of the crowd?
Like I said before, studying at AISFM helped bring out the actor in me. It wasn’t like someone taught me something new, but rather felt like something that I already had inside of me. While I was studying at AISFM, I used to do a lot of short films for the other students, so they had coined the phrase ‘one-take actor’ for me, since I would deliver my dialogues in maybe 1 or 2 takes max.

The passion inside you is the only thing that will allow you to do something hatke in life. Before joining, I never even thought that one day I’d be sitting down and giving an interview, so that just shows that one needs the right drive and dedication to achieve success.

What advice would you like to give to the current students?
Okay, this is a bit tough! I will however tell them to never give up on their dreams. I have a friend, who wanted to become an actor, but he had to realise his capabilities. As an actor, you must know facial expressions; maintain your physique, especially in Tollywood. I also want to add that, we need a lot of supporting actors in the industry, not just mainstream heroes. Even if you are a hero, you will need a very good supporting actor for you to be able to act well. Hence, I would like to advice everybody to do every type of role and play every character and bring out the best in them.

How was your experience working in a film?
This is a love and humour based genre. It is really entertaining. My experience until today has been pretty good, everybody is really supportive. I had heard a lot about what it feels like to be on the set of a major film, and now I am experiencing it all and it is very unbelievable. People always say that you get frustrated on set, but as a newcomer, the others on set are pushing me so much that I do not feel that frustration. In fact, I feel calm, and that’s because of the people working in this film with me.

Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?
In front of a camera! Whatever role I get, I will analyse it, see whether I can do it well, do it perfect. Since the audience is always looking for something new and something fresh, I will always aim at becoming better and better.

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