From Kerala to Hollywood: Aswathi's journey to winning an Oscar

Aswathi Naduthodi
Aswathi has worked for Malayalam movies like Minnal Murali, Bhramam, and Uyare. Photo: Instagram/Aswathi Naduthodi

When she clutched the Oscar trophy while standing at the Dolby studio, Aswathi felt as if her dreams had finally manifested. Aswathi Naduthodi, who was the Post-production supervisor of the Oscar-winning short documentary ‘The Elephant Whisperers,’ talks about her journey to Manorama.

How did you get interested in films?
My father, N Vasudevan, used to take my mother, me, and my sister to all the movies. Our house was at Kottooly in Kozhikode. I did my schooling at Vellimadukunnu Amrita Vidyalayam. By the time I reached high school, I wanted to act. Later I wanted to learn cinematography. That’s why I joined visual communications at Coimbatore PSG College.

How did you get an entry into films?
While in college, I worked in several ads. It was during that time that I got an opportunity to be an Effects Supervisor in an ad that featured Anurag Kashyap. Slowly, I started doing post-production work. I also planned to start my own company. My father’s death during this time was a huge setback for me. But my mother, Udayashree, was a great source of support for me.

From where did the Oscar journey begin?
I got into 'Soorarai Pottru' during a crisis stage in my life. Sikhya Entertainment, which produced 'Soorarai Pottru,' also produced ‘The Elephant Whisperers.’ It took three years to produce ‘The Elephant Whisperers.’ While taking the visa for the Oscars, they were adamant that all the 20 members of the team should be there.

Experience in Malayalam cinema?
I have worked in Minnal Murali, Bhramam, Uyare, etc. I have also been an assistant director in a few Malayalam films. And also tried my hand at art direction. Compared to other industries, Malayalam cinema's budget for special effects is very low.

What are your future plans?
Currently, I am working on two documentaries for Netflix. I want to produce a film someday.

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