If you are among those who wonder whether it pays to follow your heart even in this day and age, then, rest assured, it does. If you still doubt it, ask Ashwin Saravanan, the director of Maya, and he will vouch for the fact.
The youngster, who is in his early 20s, hasn’t worked as an assistant director even in a single film but has already managed to impress a production house with his filmmaking skills. He has now completed making a horror thriller, Maya, with Nayanthara in the lead.
Explains the director with a smile, “I did my engineering in Panimalar Engineering college. But, even while I was studying, I did two short films which received a lot of appreciation. One of my short films was selected as the winner in a contest that was held at NIIT. Director Gautham Vasudev Menon was the judge for the event.
“After finishing college, I got a job at Infosys. However, after two months, I couldn’t continue as I had an urge to do films. I decided to quit my job and began writing scripts,” he explains.
The director concedes that he tried asking for an opportunity from production houses but wherever he went, the question, ‘What experience do you have as an assistant director?’ always confronted him.
“I decided to gain their confidence by showing them a sample of my work. So, three college friends and I got together, pooled in around Rs 60,000. Using this money, I shot a scene from the film that I would make later on,” he says.
Armed with this pilot video, he landed on the doorstep of Potential Studios, who were impressed by his filmmaking skills and decided to produce his script. That is how Maya was born.
“Initially, it started off on a small scale. But then, it was a female-oriented script and the producers at Potential Studios thought that Nayanthara would be the ideal person to portray this character. Then they arranged for a script narration session with her. I am very comfortable directing a film but when it comes to narration, I am petrified. So, when I had to narrate this script to her, I was worried. However, she was down-to-earth and patiently listened to the script and calmly said that she liked it and that she would do it,” he explains.
In his film, Nayanthara plays a single mom. Did she not have any reservations playing the role considering that she is one of the most sought after heroines today? “I had the same thought and even asked her about it. She calmly replied that she had already played the mother of two children in a Telugu film and to her, only the roles matter.”
Maya, he informs, is a proper horror film, and will not have comedy sequences unlike most other horror films made these days. “I have always loved the work of Sathyan, who was the cinematographer of Yuddham Sei (2011). So, when I requested the producers, they allowed me to have him as the cameraman. The film also has Aari of Nedunchalai (2014) fame and Reshmi Menon playing important characters among others. Aari plays the role of an illustrator in the film,” he says.
Maya is all-set to release on September 17 and we can’t wait to catch a glimpse of the movie!