Exclusive : A chat with V. Jayashankarr on “Ari”

The film industry might have dished out many films on ‘Arishadvargas’ but this movie Ari in Telugu is one of its kind. Directed by V.Jayashankarr who made Paper Boy and Vitamin She, Ari is getting ready for a theatrical release in November. In a small conversation with the director, we get to know about how the idea of making this concept into a film germinated and evolved? Jayashankarr states he is a voracious reader and even interacted with sadhgurus on many occasions. In this process, he became genuinely interested and got curious about knowing more about Arishadvargas. This led him to write a story and he is being duly helped by producers RV Reddy and Seshu Maram Reddy to take it to the theatres. He says, “I did a good research on the six Arishadvargas – kama, krodha, lobha, madha, moha, masaryam (jealousy). We shot 38 days with patch work and the shooting took place in Hyderabad.”

Before he dwelves on Ari, we ask him about the response for his short film Vitamin She. He says, “It was amazing, the number of views we got for it was phenomenal. It was an experimental film that we did during the lockdown and dealt with artificial intelligence. I read a book called Life 3.O and it alludes to the future and hints that very soon there will hardly be any humans around. The book has influenced me a lot.” We ask him to expand and Jayashankarr gives an example, “For instance, if you are talking to a friend about ordering a shampoo…you will immediately get many advertisements, suggestions and places on your phone suggesting where to buy the shampoo. This is just one percent. If you order something on Swiggy, it will control you, it will tell you what kind of meal you ordered last time and what you should be doing now. The phone is not in the control of the man anymore and this has been narrated in a humorous manner.”

Back to Ari, Jayashankarr says Ari is a sanskrit word meaning enemy. A lot of it has been mentioned in Greek and Hindu mythology. These emotions control us. Our effort is to control them and if we do, we attain a Godly quality and if succumb to any of these, we obtain the Gunas of the Rakshasas. Overall we humans don’t have an identity without Arshidh Vargalu. The director adds, “Everyone has this question, how do we control these and win over them. We become a better human being or attain Moksha otherwise we become a Kasab. The film is about six people who represent six different emotions. Jealousy is personified by Anasyua and arrogance by Sai Kumar, while Subhalekha Sudhakar is a greedy character, Srikanth Iyengar portrays anger and another lust. Each of them has a story and they shouldn’t be seen as characters but as those emotions. There is definitely a conflict point but I can’t reveal it at this stage, I would be giving away the thrill. We gave the best solution to the problem and showed how to win over that. If a person is overtly feeling an emotion, how did he win over forms the crux. Music is by Anup Reubens and cinematography is by Shivshankar Vara Prasad. He is a debutant and I’ve known him since my short film days.”

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