With a double degree in mass communication and journalism, her passion towards writing literally led her towards the creative field. First as an actress, she impressed with her acting skills, then as a playback singer, crooning alongside Power Star Puneeth Rajkumar for her film Rocket starring Sathish Ninasam. And, now, the multi-talented actress Aishani Shetty has turned director for a short film venture titled Kaaji which has already earned a lot of appreciation for its content and making.
Premiered across various short film festivals, it was shown in California at the Best of India Short Film Festival. The actress-turned-director, also plans to direct a feature film in the future. While she was away pursuing her post graduation, her latest venture as a heroine is in Naduve Antaravirali, which is also ready for release. Aishani Shetty speaks to Bengaluru Chronicle about her directorial experiences, and more.
“When I started acting, it was the entire filmmaking process which amazed me. Even after I was done with my part of the work, I would stay behind observing and understanding how the system worked in ‘reel.’ Though I always had the desire to direct a movie, I could never take it up, fearing that it was too big a task for me. All I had done was a small project as an amateur during my undergraduate years. However, I had been writing stories and scripts,” says Aishani Shetty.
On what made her finally take up direction, she explains that it was during the shooting of her film Rocket wherein she discussed a story she had written, with her hero Sathish Ninasam, who has been encouraging new talent by producing films under his home banner.
“When Sathish Sir liked the script, my journey to being a director took off. Since, he had already produced few short ventures, a limited production team was tagged for my venture Kaaji. After lot of discussion and planning, we were able to shoot the 17 minutes short film within three days. With it, I realised how much energy goes behind directing a film,” she adds.
So, what is Kaaji about? With recent screenings at a few short film festivals, Aishani is proud, adding, “It dates back to my college days when I had been on a special assignment in one of the outreach programmes in Sindagi taluk where I had witnessed caste discrimination. It is a known fact that caste discrimination exists and a majority of us who only hear about it do not pay much attention to it unless one experiences or witnesses it first hand. That experience made me write a story. And, bringing the same onscreen was easy as I had witnessed it. Instead of dramatising it, we gave a lot of emphasis towards expressions through silence, and lesser dialogue to make it look closer to reality,” Aishani says. While the short directorial venture taught her all about filmmaking and the efforts behind the camera including post-production, the actress says that she will soon direct a feature film and it might as a well feature herself in the lead!
“Acting is the reason I entered the film industry, and I shall continue acting. My studies kept me away for a while. Now, I have Naduve Antaravirali ready for release with the audio of the film to be released soon along with another film which will be announced soon,” she reveals.
Kaaji was selected for screening at India’s Best Short film festival in California and also for the Eighth Dada Saheb Film Festival where it won the award for best cinematography.
“I just completed my post graduation. After directing the short venture, I will take some time for myself, at least a month before I start on next,” she signs off.