Mumbai: Not many know that a Mumbai boy has played a significant role in the resonating success of ‘Everything Everywhere All At Once’, Hollywood’s science fiction hit that swooped seven Oscars this year. Aashish D’mello, an assistant editor on the movie's team, was another desi who represented the thriving south Asian film talent at the 95th Academy Awards.
His journey to the Oscars began at the age of eighteen when Aashish joined the first-ever batch of autonomous Bachelor of Mass Media (BMM) in the city’s St. Xavier’s College. Majoring in advertising, Aashish always found himself drawn to the cinema. “I loved computers and loved movies, so I tried looking for a career that was an intersection of the both. Only after enrolling into BMM did I come across editing projects that provided me with both,” said Aashish while talking to The FPJ.
Aashish's teachers, friends remember old days
Through the three years of college together, Aashish’s batchmates remember him as a patient and humble friend, while his teachers remember that he was the kind of student who never defaulted. “The best part about our first batch of BMM students was that they were always curious. Aashish was that way too. We just had to pique their interests, then the students would go chase their goals themselves,” said Prof. Perrie Subramaniam, BMM Head of Department, who taught Ashish through his college years.
To chase his film dreams, Ashish even visited the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, an advertising film festival, during his college days with his batchmate Rohan Banja. “We were clubbed together for several group projects throughout our college days. The poor guy always got stuck editing videos, who knew he enjoyed it!” laughed Rohan Banja, Aashish’s batchmate.
The ad student turned editor also performed at several creative gigs during his time at St. Xavier’s College. “Another college had once held a contest called ‘junk-a-pella’, where students were supposed to perform a song using scrap. It was bizarre how Ashish and I ended up playing a Tamilian rendition of a Kanye West song!” remembers Rishi Brado, another batchmate of Ashish’s.
In his last year of college, Ashish began interning with the post-production arm of Apocalypso Filmworks, where he was hired as the assistant editor after graduation. After the stint, he enrolled in the American Film Institute’s Editing program in Los Angeles, which he now calls home.
Everything Everywhere All At Once dominated Oscars
On March 13, Everything Everywhere All At Once won Academy Award for Best Film Editing and Academy Award for Best Picture. Cherishing his time with celebrated production Aashish wonders how the team of three editors, Paul Rogers (editor) and Zekun Mao (assistant editor), managed to finish the final cut despite the pandemic.
“The experience of being on the weirdest, quirkiest film of the year’s editing team was as amazing as it sounds. Being able to watch the film as it went through various stages of editing - the story getting shorter and clearer each time, watching each universe connect to the other, the music becoming more and more epic, the sound design getting fuller and more detailed, new technical challenges each day, our stress levels rising - it was all part of a wild and wonderful process that lasted for more than a year,” said Aashish.
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