Not to be confused with the famous Hollywood producer, debutant director S Ashok Amritraj says his father, a sports fan, named him after the former tennis player with the fond hope that his son would make it big in tennis someday. “But it was movies which interested me right from a very young age,” he says.
System of education, or the lack of it, has been a favourite theme for filmmakers in recent times. Ashok says he, too, has touched on this subject, but with a different, more colourful execution than is usually the case. But before he could get his break, like many before him, the young filmmaker had to struggle to find receptive collaborators.
Ashok says he’s lost count of the number times he has narrated the scripts he had to the emerging crop of heroes. “The feedback was the same. They all felt that the scripts were too heavy and asked me to tone down the dialogues. But my scripts needed the hard hitting dialogues in order to best convey the message.”
Fortunately for Ashok; Ashwin Kakumanu loved the script of Thiri. “He suggested no changes to the script, nor did he have a problem with my dialogues. In fact, his body language complimented the powerful dialogues very well. So moved was he with the script, that he actually injured himself by banging a table when enacting a tense scene!”
Ashok says that he has tried to portray the poignant relationship between a father and his son. But, he also has a larger message for his audience. He believes that the onus is on the youth to raise as one and fight the corrupt system. “Even the slightest delay in raising our voices will spell doom for us all. However, instead of stopping with shouting themselves hoarse, the youngsters will do well to live by example. This is one of the messages in my film.”