- NY Mag
NYM: What was the genesis of [the] story?
Ajay: It's a memory poem toward a time when I was younger, and I lost my sister to depressive schizo disorder. At the time, a lot of my friends were dealing, and a lot of my friends were fake Indian gangsters...
Read more on nymag.com
- Platform Mag
Ajay: What I'm fundamentally trying to do is tell a story from a direct download of my subconscious, while directly contradicting that very story as well.
E: Knowing that this flick was based on a personal experience Ajay had, all I have to say is the guy has courage in putting that out for people to see.
- Indian Entertainment Online
IEO: On your choice of actors and how ASHES treats the subject matter [of mental illness]?
Ajay: The lead character in this film is in denial...just like the community he represents...the character, that is suffering, never shows self pity...the character who is suffering the most, is the strongest...
Read more on indianentertainment.info
- MTV Desi
- Roaring Success Radio Hour with Paul Neal Rohrer & Bill Greene
Paul Neal Rohrer (PNR): When you were casting ASHES, were you a part of the casting process? Or did you rely on your casting directors to bring you tapes?
Ajay Naidu (AN): Well no I had no choice really. In a certain way, the less money you have the stronger decisions you have to make. ... (read more) I kind of tailored every role to someone I knew, I couldn't not see someone I knew in each role and I had to make sure before I did each role that they would be open to playing it and all that kind of stuff. Yeah, kind of didn't really need a casting director for Ashes. I mean usually, you don't unless there's a lot of money at stake and then everybody has to say something. Or if they really really don't know who they're going to cast or really really trying to find a new face, or they couldn't possibly picture, casting never ends, but I knew right away for everything...what I was going to do. So...
PNR: Welcome back Ajay. We're talking with Ajay Naidu director of the new film ASHES. Soon to be released somewhere. Hopefully we can see this picture somewhere. Some of the questions that were coming up as we were working on...as we were putting this program together, is a question I would like to ask which is, who were some of your directorial influences as you created ASHES? From your own life and history, who influenced you as to how you would direct this picture?
AN: Okay, well this may come off really boring and kind of standard, you know some of them are really prolific filmmakers and some of them are like really cheesy people. So I don't want to qualify which is which, but I will say that I was thinking a lot about Hal Ashby and I was thinking a lot about Walter Hill, so strange, such a strange contradiction but I was and those two directors really got under my skin. But in terms of my, the people who are in and around my world, and the people I have known and loved I would say I thought a lot about Darren Aronofsky who I worked with and helped make Pi, and Rick Linklater who I've been in and around but the other thing that moved me, or really made me want to do this is the Bombay Noir movement in the Indian Nouveau movement which are the early movies of Shekhar Kapur and you know films like Company by Ram Gopal Varma and even Mira Nair's first film Salaam Bombay those were, those are all urban epicenter films that surround a classical Indian values in an environment where it's almost impossible for those things to exist. And for that kind of morality and love to exist, and yet they do, and people find some sort of grace through that. Ashes is a story about a small time dealer who takes care of his elder brother, who is mentally ill, and he is unable to save his brother and he's unable to save his gang, yet somehow the story is triumphant, it's kind of tricky line to walk but I think the styles in it allowed for that story to happen because everything in the film actually happened in one way or another just maybe not in the order it occurred.