Actor Ajay Naidu’s directorial debut Ashes will screen during the 6th Annual Silk Screen Asian American Film Festival on Wednesday, May 11 at 9pm and Sunday, May 15 at 5:30pm, at the Regent Square Theater, 1035 S. Braddock Ave in Edgewood, PA. Faran Tahir, Samrat Chakrabarti, Firdous Bamji, Heather Burns, Maurice Carr and Piper Perabo are also featured in the Ashes cast.
The 6th Annual Silk Screen Asian American Film Festival, presented by the Silk Screen: Asian Arts and Cultural Organization, runs from May 11 -15, 2011. On May 11, the screening of Ashes will be introduced by Pittsburgh native actor Manu Narayan.
Ajay Naidu is an award-winning actor, filmmaker, dancer, director, M.C., vocalist and writer. He has worked extensively in film, television and theater with more than 50 onscreen credits. He has appeared in the films Office Space, K-Pax, π, Requiem for a Dream, Bad Santa, The War Within, The Guru, Waterborne, The Loins of Punjab Presents, Where the River Runs Black, Vice Versa, Touch and Go and many more. When Naidu’s portrayal in SubUrbia as convenience store owner, “Nazeer Choudhury” garnered him an Independent Spirit Award Best Supporting Actor nod, his formidable competition included Roy Scheider and Sam Jackson. He can currently be seen in Ashes, his directorial debut in which he played the title character, served as writer and director. Ashes was nominated for Best Film, Screenplay and Director, after the film screened at New York’s MIAAC Film Festival in 2010; Naidu took home the prize for Best Actor at MIAAC and the London Asian Film Festival. Ashes also won Best Film of the Festival at the Queens World Film Festival.
On television, Naidu was a series regular in “LateLine” and had guest starring roles on the “30 Rock,” “The Sopranos,” “The West Wing,” “Kings,” “Mercy,” “Bored to Death,” “MacGyver” and many more. He starred in the TV-movie, Lady Blue as “Paquito”, and in the Emmy-nominated ABC Afterschool Special episode, “No Greater Gift” as “Nick Santana”, a 12-year old boy with a terminal illness.
Naidu trained with the American Repertory Theater’s Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard University. In 2000 he mounted his first solo theatre piece entitled Darwaza [the door] which was produced by New York’s Labrynth Theatre. It combined Ryhming, Masks, Breakdance and Mudras taken from the Natyashastra- the ancient Sanskrit text on performance. His most recent theatre credits include a world tour of Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure with Simon McBurney’s -Theatre Complicite, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui alongside Al Pacino, and The little Flower of East Orange alongside Ellyn Burstyn at The Public Theater.
Naidu has working with musicians from the Asian Electronica and classical movements as a dancer and M.C. for many years. His vocals have appeared on numerous records including Talvin Singh’s Mercury Award winner “OK”,his second album “HA”, and several recordings with prolific musicians Karsh Kale and The Midival Punditz.
Below is the synopsis from Silk Screen: Asian Arts and Cultural Organization website.
2010/India & USA/Director: Ajay Naidu/77 min
Ashes, short for Ashish, (Ajay Naidu) is a small-time New York City pot dealer. He is also the primary caregiver for his mentally ill older brother Kartik (Faran Tahir). Ashes is the courageous and gritty directorial debut from actor Ajay Naidu. Shot entirely on location in New York, Naidu’s assured direction and murky palette convey the realism of Ashes’ world. Caught between familial duties and a losing battle to maintain a sense of morals while dealing marijuana, Ashes environment begins to close in on him.
Kartik returns home from a mental health facility, eager to begin a productive life. With a sometimes tenuous grasp on reality, he holds dearly onto his brother and his girlfriend, Bettina (Piper Perabo). Bettina is a fellow patient from the facility and begins growing distant, increasing Kartik’s stress level. Ashes watches helplessly as his brother fights and suffers in anguish.
Kartik’s battle for sanity is paralleled with Ashes’ struggle with the drug dealing community that surrounds him. Determined not to deal “hard stuff” Ashes, nonetheless is drawn deeper and deeper into a violent and corrupt world. The world includes Jasmine (Heather Burns) one drug dealer’s (Pinky as portrayed by Firdous Bamji) girlfriend who is part of a dangerous entanglement with another player in the hustling game, Rishi (Samrat Chakrabarti). His troubles mount as he finds himself in over his head and up to his neck in a heroin operation. There appears to be almost no reprieve from the grime and danger of the New York that Ashes and Kartik inhabit. Their only solace comes in their brotherhood.
Listen closely for a razor sharp score that sets the tone in frequently unexpected manner. Ashes is a serious and soulful debut from a serious up and coming director. With Ashes, Naidu has shown that he is a singular force to be reckoned with. Ashes Website
To purchase tickets and follow the Film Festival Guide visit: www.silkscreenfestival.org. For questions or more information contact: 724-969-2565 or email@example.com.
Regent Square Theater: May 11 @ 9:00PM & May 15 @ 5:30PM
1035 S. Braddock Ave
Edgewood PA 15218
Other Articles by Lia Chang:
11th Annual New York Indian Film Festival Winners: Sthaniya Sambaad, Aparna Sen, Konkona Sen Sharma, Rishi Kapoor, Bhopali
Photos: Samrat Chakrabarti, Soham Mehta and Shiva Shankar Bajpai at the New York Indian Film Festival
11th Annual New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF), May 4-8, 2011
Vikas Khanna’s Holy Kitchens Karma to Nirvana premieres at New York Indian Film Festival on 5/7 at Tribeca Cinemas
Samrat Chakrabarti stars in Soham Mehta’s Fatakra, Shiva Shankar Bajpai’s Raju, and Rehana Mirza’s Zameer & Preeti at NYIFF
MIAAC Screens Ashes & The Waiting City, two films featuring Samrat Chakrabarti at SVA Theater on 11/12/10
Shailja Gupta’s WALKAWAY with Manu Narayan & Samrat Chakrabarti, Opens on 26 Screens Across 18 Cities on 10/29
Actor Samrat Chakrabarti Receives 2010 TMG Award for Global Achievers Samrat Chakrabarti is Featured in Claire McCarthy’s The Waiting City Which Screens at the Toronto International Film Festival
AAIFF Karma Calling, You Don’t Know Jack and Children of Invention
Sudhish Kamath’s Good Night|Good Morning Starring Manu Narayan & Seema Rahmani Screens in Mumbai 10/24, NY on 10/28
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Lia Chang is an actor, performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multimedia journalist.
As a photographer and videographer, Lia collaborates with artists, organizations and companies in establishing their documentary photo archive and social media presence. She has been documenting her colleagues and contemporaries in the arts, fashion and journalism since making her stage debut as Liat in the National Tour of South Pacific, with Robert Goulet and Barbara Eden. Lia currently plays Nurse Lia on “One Life to Live”. She has appeared in Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and “New York Undercover”.
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