Six months ago, Director G. Ashok became a father to triplets and he couldn’t have been happier. “I am enjoying the best time of my life — they are good kids and haven’t cried a lot,” laughs Ashok. Back in 2011, he tasted his first share of success with Pilla Zamindar. It was also the year he had an arranged marriage to Vijaya, who left her job at a college in Vijayawada to help her husband with writing.
The director is coming up with the thriller Chitrangada, starring Anjali as the lead. The film started shooting nearly two years ago and is finally releasing on March 10. “When the film was launched, we had planned a 20-day shoot in the US, and then took a six-month break. We needed a particular climate in the US and so had to start immediately. We completed the shoot in regular time, but as far as the release is concerned, every other film gets postponed during post-production and ours was no different. I can’t reveal the subject, but I can tell you that it’s a different kind of thriller,” assures Ashok.
Ashok had directed four films, before Pilla Zamindar gave him his much needed break. Born in Ongole, he acted in 16 films as a child artiste and has learnt thirteen varieties of Indian classic dance forms.
“I gave hundreds of stage performances throughout the world. At that time, director T. Krishna called me for a role as a child artiste in his Repati Pourulu (1986),” says the Engineering graduate.
In his final year degree, he had got a call from director Mutya Subbiah to teach classical dance for a few days to some dancers for a song in the film Adalla Majaka. When choreographer D.K.S. Babu saw his skills, he asked him to join as his assistant. “My father asked me to try once saying, if it works, good. Or I could go to the US for further studies,” says Ashok. Since 1997, he has choreographed nearly 300 songs and worked with other popular choreographers such as Swarnalatha, Raju Sundaram and Lawrence.
That’s when he got a chance to visit the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, UK to learn Salsa and Zumba. “It was a mutual sharing programme where I taught them Indian classic dance and they taught me salsa and zumba,” he says. In his leisure time, he joined a film direction course and later got some work from the university. “I worked on nearly 60 documentary films and many of them got different awards. I mostly worked in Switzerland, Poland, Germany and the US, but the documentaries were related to India,” he says.
His documentary Nava Jeevan — A new life on street children was screened at several film festivals including the Hollywood Film Festival where it won an appreciation award.
His first film was on children Ushodayam which won the first Nandi award in 2007.
“Then I made my first feature film Flash News, a concept based film on electronic journalism,” he says. The next film Akasa Ramanna was with Allari Naresh as the lead.
“Both films released at the wrong time and there was no proper promotion too,” he states as the reason for them not being successful. He then joined hands with actor Nani for Pilla Zamindar.
Ashok is confident about Chitrangada. He is also busy with the film Bhagmathi that stars Anushka Shetty in the lead. “This is not a biopic or anything related to Hyderabad’s history, however. It’s a commercial film with a regular story,” Ashok clarifies. The director reads a lot of Telugu literature and also watches lot of films.
“I am preparing a script based on music and dance which I’ve learnt. A big star will be brought on board for this project and I will reveal the name once Bhagamathi is completed,” says Ashok....