During the interview, he looked a bit hesitant to answer some of the questions early one. As soon as the conversation headed towards films, Ashok Yadav began to open up about his life, films he loved. The young director is coming up with his directorial debut Kerry On Kutton which is slated to release on July 1.
Ashok talked to Bollywoodirect about the challenges he had to face as a first-time director and how his whole team helped him to overcome those difficulties, on and off the set.
Tell us a bit about yourself, where you come from, your childhood days?
I was born in Datia in Madhya Pradesh. Most of my childhood years have been spent in that town. The inspiration for my first film also comes from there as my first film is based in a small town of Ballia. I have done my graduation from DAV University in Indore. After that, I did my post-graduation from Delhi.
How did this inclination towards films happen for you?
When I was in 3rd year of graduation, I developed a habit of watching films. In Datia, we were a not blessed with a good cinema hall to watch films. The screen in the cinema hall was ragged. I remember while watching Lagaan, the cricket ball disappeared from the screen because of the frayed screens. I could not understand the end of the film. It was when I reached Indore to pursue my studies that I finally saw the end. Sometimes, we used to go and watch films in Jhansi from Datia because there were good cinema halls. So, that is one funny incident about Datia and my inclination towards films.
One of my friends was studying films in the same university. He had made a black and white film. When I saw it, I asked him about how he made it. He told me that filmmaking is not very easy and I would not be able to make any film. So, he did not give a proper answer. That forced me to make a film of my own. I started collecting DVDs of Hollywood films and other films from different parts of the world. I watched films for 4 months. I then bought a handy-cam. I had to sell off my gold chain gifted by my mother to buy my first camera. My mother still believes I lost it. With three people, I shot my first film and it all began from there.
How has the cinema changed from the time you started making films to this time when your first film is up for release in two week time?
A lot has changed. I had to struggle hard to make people believe that I was doing something good with my life. My father believed that I was into journalism because he could not understand what making a film is. We always believed that it was Amir Khan who made Lagaan. Nobody cared about who Ashutosh Gowariker was. Today, times have changed. People want to be filmmakers and they are backed. We wait for an Anurag Kashyap film now. A director’s film is not awaited.
Now, tell us a bit about your directorial debut Kerry On Kutton. How did you think of making this film? From where did, the idea originate?
The movie is set in a small town of Ballia, which is an actual place in Uttar Pradesh. I co-wrote this film with Himanshu Tripathi. He hails from Ballia. He was my junior in college. I was making some other film. He came up with this story to me. I found this story set up in a realistic yet a fantasy land. It hit me instantly.
I always had this fascination for small towns. There are characters over there who are very close to different myths. People unknowingly idolise them as well. I thought of bringing such a feel to the story. We tried to find and create such a city which reflects the same and Ballia fitted perfectly into those scenarios.
The film is about four characters which are going through an identity crisis in their lives. There is one character who doesn’t know who he his father was. He is fighting out to know his identity. Then, there is Kadambari who doesn’t want to follow his family business and wants to carve a new identity for himself. Same is the case with Jyoti and the other character.
This film is derived from the heart.
What was the most difficult thing you faced while making this film?
Everything was difficult. There was nothing which came very easily to us. From the very early days till the last edit cut, it was a difficult process. There were a few newcomers in the film as well. There were some creative challenges like I wanted a western background score in this film. We did not have much budget but yet we managed to get a Hollywood composer Suna Benjamin, who had earlier worked in films like Hunger Games and assisted Hans Zimmer. We overcame the challenge and got her to work with us.
There is one song which is sung by Piyush Mishra. To rope him in, was very difficult. But I wanted to have him on the board. I am someone who is not from the industry and knew very few people here. To go to Piyush Mishra’s house and convince him to sing a song in our film was a great success.
We have built this film from the scratch. It is just because everyone was so energetic that we pulled it off. A lot of us did multiple jobs. There was someone who knew how to operate a camera as well as do the lighting. One person did three jobs. My first assistant director knew a bit if editing, so it took that help from his as well. That was the mindset of getting on board.
Is there any such incident you would like to share from the shooting days?
Every day came with its share of excitement. One incident that we will never forget happened on the first day when Aditya Kumar, who plays Kadambari in the film, met an accident. Imagine a severe accident on the first day of the shoot. It was the first shot in which Aditya runs and jumps to hold a rickshaw from one of its sides. What happened is that the rickshaw collapsed mid-way and it fell over him. I was taken aback by the accident. As I said, we faced difficulties from the first day itself.
Interview By: Shubham Pandey
Image Courtesy: Ashok’s Facebook Profile