07/11/2013 Ashwyn Anand's Blood Friday Visits Continuum Motion Pictures


Continuum Motion Pictures is excited that it has picked up Blood Friday a thriller about terrorism and Mumbai, direct by Ashwyn Anand. The film was produced in India and represents a victory for our Continuum Motion Pictures International team. Casper Lundbak one of our Directors of Operation in Europe saw the film and reached out to the filmmakers. Blood Friday is Continuum's second Hindi language film.

An Interview with Ashwyn Anand, Director, Writer and Star of Blood Friday
by Mike Haberfelner

July 2013
Ashwyn Anand on (re)Search my Trash


Your movie Blood Friday - in a few words, what is it about?

 Blood Friday is the story of 5 people driven by a common hatred who plan a deadly attack on the Muslims in Mumbai.

 Your movie's central theme is terrorism. So have you ever personally been affected by acts of terrorism, and where do you think does justified resistance end and terrorism begin?

 Mumbai unfortunately has had its share of bomb blasts. By the grace of God, no one I know has been ever killed in a terrorist strike but these incidents leave an impact on your mind. It makes you think and fear about the safety of your near and dear ones  I remember once that my mother had just alighted off a train and a few minutes later there was a blast in the very same compartment.The government has woken up and made stricter rules - there are now cctv's and policemen with guns patrolling our railway stations and streets ... all this cannot be ignored.

I feel that the whole concept of remotely planting a bomb and killing innocent people is the act of a coward. So whatever be a person's circumstances taking the law in your own hands and killing innocent people can never be justified.

 How much research did actually go into writing the script? And when you conceived the whole thing, did you put more emphasis on the political or the thriller aspects of your story?

 I wanted each one of the terrorists to have a different plausible background and the places mentioned in the film have actually witnessed terror strikes and communal riots. So yes there was a considerable amount of research done. I feel that a good movie is one which keeps a viewer on the edge of his seat. Having said that, the content also needs to be very appealing and people need to connect to the story and I worked on both aspects.

 Of the rag tag team of terrorists in your movie - who can you relate to the most, who do you think is the most sincere in his/her motives and why?

I think I can relate most to the gang leader Rajveer and feel that he is most sincere to the cause, as he was able to balance a professional and his family life along with running his gang of terrorists.

 You've cast yourself in the lead role. So to what extent could you identify with your character, and what did you draw upon to bring him to life?

 I am good at multitasking and so I could some how relate to the character. I grew a beard for about 3 months to add more weight to the character.

 Do talk about the rest of your cast for a bit, and why exactly these people?

 When we started casting, I hardly knew many actors and started placing ads on social networking sites. Lots of girls wanted to do the lead role but were not willing to give the required time to my project, and since it was a pivotal role I wasn't ready to take a chance and as a result the project got delayed for a few months. Finally one day I saw Agnijita walking across the street. I stopped her, introduced myself, narrated my script and she agreed to do it. All my actors were new, but they looked the part, believed in my script and were ready to do what I wanted them to do.

 How would you describe your directorial approach to the story at hand?

 Once the story and the locations were locked, I sat down with my DOP and we did the shot divisions so on the day of the shoot we knew exactly what to do. Before that we did some rehearsals with some of the actors and I briefed them on what I was looking for.

 What can you tell us about the actual shoot and the on-set atmosphere?

 I remember on the first day of the shoot we were going to do the terrace scene and it was raining really bad, and since it was an outdoor schedule I was worried that I might have to cancel the whole thing, but it stopped raining soon. The outdoor locations on the streets were real locations and not a movie set. Also the religious monument is a an actual structure called Haji Ali, and all the people you see are real people and not extras. We were initially worried about this kind of guerrilla shooting, but thankfully we were able to pull it off.


A few words about audience and critical reception so far - and where can your movie be seen to begin with?

 The film is the official selection of the My Mumbai Short Film Festival 2013. It has been screened at theChandigarh Creative Cinema Circle in Chandigarh, India. The film has garnered over 33,000 hits on YouTube and has been viewed by people in over 162 countries worldwide so far.The film can be viewed in any language by selecting captions and is available at the following link: http://youtu.be/iI1tcQe67QY 

 What got you into filmmaking in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?

 I did an acting and basic filmmaking course from Actor Prepares. I started doing theater as well but wasn't really doing anything mainstream. So although I had never written a script before I wrote Blood Friday, I went ahead and made the film.

 Any future projects you'd like to share?

 I am currently in the process of writing a new screenplay which will be a crime drama.

 How would you describe yourself as an actor, writer and director?

 This is my first film and it has been a learning experience for me. As an actor I like to rehearse and understand the feeling that goes behind the lines. I like to improvise rather than say the exact memorized words. When I direct I like to see natural performances rather than acting from my actors. As a writer I like to refine and constantly evolve my script until I am satisfied.

 Filmmakers, writers, actors, whatever else who inspire you?

 I am greatly influenced by the Films of Vijay Anand, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Charles Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Akira Kurosawa, Werner Herzog, Clint Eastwood, Sam Mendes, Christopher Nolan, Farhan Akhtar, Nagesh Kukunoor, Ben Affleck & Park Chan-wook.

 Your favorite movies?

 It is a long list: Jewel ThiefGuideSatyakamCircusModern Times,The Great DictatorPsychoRopeRebeccaVertigoThe BirdsRaging BullTaxi DriverGangs of New York, The Departed7 SamuraiEncounters at the End of the WorldMillion Dollar Baby,Se7enSilence of the LambsCity of GodAmerican Gangster,CastawayChildren of HeavenCasino RoyaleThe Motorcycle DiariesOldboyTurtles can FlyRoad to Perdition,The Dark Knight,The TownCinema ParadisoThe ShiningPan's Labyrinth and Schindler's List. But my most favourite film is Chaplin's The Kid

 ... and of course, films you really deplore?

 I do not like films inspired, copied. remade or lifted from other films. Also I can't sit through films which are predictable.

 Your/your movie's website, Facebook, YouTube, whatever else?

 My film is available for viewing at: http://youtu.be/iI1tcQe67QY  

 Anything else you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?


 Thanks for the interview!

© by Mike Haberfelner