Ranga's colourful Mayuri Bar in 'Aavesham' was once Ashwini Kale's 'territory'

Ashwini Kale and team ensured the film sets looked real yet visually appealing. Photos | Special arrangement

For Mumbai-born production designer Ashwini Kale, the blockbuster film 'Aavesham' presented a unique challenge and thrill. Director Jithu Madhavan demanded the Fahadh Faasil-starrer must capture Bengaluru not just realistically, but exactly as he experienced it during his time there. “Aavesham is a movie that is based on some incidents and experiences from Jithu's life. So, he wanted us to recreate a world that would showcase that. We tried to make it as realistic as possible, but at the same time ensured it was pleasing to the eye,” she said.
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She cited the Mayuri Bar setting as an example. “If you visit the local bars, they are usually messy. Though Mayuri Bar gives the same messy feel, we balanced it by ensuring everything was placed well,” she said. The production design team laid a lot of emphasis on the colour toning in the film. This is one reason why they had to scout Bengaluru for six months before they could finalise a college that was ideal for the movie. “It was not easy to find colleges that stuck to the colour palette we used in the film. If you have noticed, we have only used muted colours in the movie. We avoided anything pink, purple or any other loud colour,” she said.
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'Aavesham' revolves around a group of college students who seek revenge on their seniors with the help of a gangster Ranga, played by Fahadh Faasil.
Ashwini, who made her debut as a production designer with the Malayalam film 'Hridayam' said she had a lot of fun working on the sets of the film. “As a production designer, it is important to work hand in hand with the costume designer and the cameraman. I had a lot of fun designing the sets of the Mayuri bar, which was set in a godown in Bengaluru. It took me 15 days to create the set, but the results paid off,” she said.

The team sourced the tiles for Fahadh's introductory scene in the bathroom from Gujarat. “We broke the tiles and then fixed it to make it feel used and old,” she said. Ashwini was introduced to Jithu Madhavan after the film's cinematographer Sameer Thahir noticed her work in Basil Joseph's advertisement. “He was impressed by my work and introduced me to 'Aavesham' producer Anwar Rasheed and director Jithu. I had previously worked with Sameer in 'Bangalore Days', but I was only an assistant then,” she said.

The tiles that were sourced from Gujarat for the Mayuri Bar bathroom was broken to make it feel old and used. Photo | Special arrangement

Ashwini found her first big break when she debuted as an independent production designer in 'Hridayam'. “I had coordinated and designed playback singer Sachin Warrier's engagement ceremony. Vineeth Sreenivasan liked the concept and contacted me for 'Hridayam' since weddings were the soul of his film,” she said.

The production designer has earlier assisted the late Sunil Babu in Bollywood movies like 'Paa', 'M S Dhoni', among others. She was the production designer for Alphonse Puthren's film 'Gold'. She is also part of Anjali Menon's short film, which is set for an OTT release. Ashwini is married to lyricist and actor Shabareesh Varma.

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