Post accolades and awards, Aishani Shetty on cloud nine
Actor, and now director of the award-winning short film Kaaji, talks about her journey so far and what's next in her career
It’s a proud moment for actor-director Aishani Shetty, whose short film Kaaji (Bangles), has been noticed in the national and international circuits. The 17-minute film was screened at Best of India Short Film Festival in California, and later at the 8th Dada Saheb Phalke Academy Film Festival, where cameraman Pritam Taggina Mane won an award in the best cinematographer category.
An excited Aishani is now waiting for the poll frenzy to die down, after which she plans to screen her short film at studio theatres. “We were thrilled to even get a platform like Dada Phalke Academy Film Festival to screen our film. And winning an award was just the icing on the cake,” she says.
About her journey, from starring as the heroine in films such as Vaastu Prakara and Rocket, to now becoming an award-winning director, she says, “I had taken a break from films to do my undergraduation a few years ago. Since I had taken up mass communications, there was a section which gave us a sneak peek into filmmaking. That’s where my interest began. I like to write small anecdotes and even had a story in mind but was never able to put pen to paper. But this filmmaking assignment helped me put my thoughts together.”
She expressed her interest in making a film on the subject of a mother-son relationship to actor Sathish Ninasam, under whose production house Kaaji was made. “I told him about the short story and he encouraged me. He liked the script and even gave me some suggestions. But it required a lot of re-working. Somehow everything worked out well and to my advantage. I had the best cast and technicians,” says Aishani, adding, “Hitha Chandrashekar plays the lead in my short story along with child artistes - Madhura Channiga and Inchara. Pritam, a budding cinematographer, and composer Midhun Mukundan of Ondu Motteya Kathe fame also came on board.”
Aishani says that her intention in making the short film was not for the sake of awards, but just so that she could give filmmaking a try. “But this recongition for Kaaji has taken me a level higher,” she says.
Her film, she says, highlights the societal issues “Real-life incidents helped me build the characters for my story,” she says.
While Aishani will continue staying behind the camera, acting, she says, is always in her mind. “I took up just one film, Naduve Antaraviralli, which I managed to complete shooting for during my post graduation. The film is now in the post-production stage. The audio rights have already been bought by PRK Films. The makers are hopeful about releasing it in June,” she says.
About her next directorial project, she says, “I am now scripting for a feature film. But I’m a writer who looks into every tiny detail, which is why it will take time.”