Ilanthirayan Alan Arumugam
Cinema is a universal visual medium through which a creator can express a story, either fiction or to depict an event in real life. It sheds light on the livelihood of mankind from all walks of life, from the past to the predicted future and beyond, through questionable, powerful images in motion. In the pursuit of my film making quest, I have learned the value of a life well lived from reading human minds and attributes, exploring life’s eccentricities and admiring the beauty and might of nature. I also realize that the tears and applause from an audience are genuine expressions only in response to great creations with true conviction. As a Writer-Director, I would like to innovate movies with unique kinds of storytelling to establish special connections with my audience and stir their imaginations to a whole new level.
AIYAI: Wrathful Soul (pronounced eye-eye) is developed from an idea inspired by the title itself, an ancient Indian word describing the destitute homeless living on the edge of our world. The script was carefully crafted to avoid the clichés of horror films and designed by intertwining some interesting elements with distinguished characters to make it unique.
A primary focus of AIYAI: Wrathful Soul, a psychological thriller with supernatural undertones, was to create characters living familiar, grounded and realistic lives so as to instil a true story kind of feel, one which the viewer can readily and seamlessly relate to. The concept and themes within are tailored specifically to engage a sophisticated international audience whilst providing an enhanced viewing experience which far exceeds that of a typical supernatural thriller.
Our protagonist Kiran is a foreign student struggling to get by. A fish out of water - and if that weren’t bad enough, he is soon forced to co-join with a vengeful spirit... One which may in fact match and mirror his own growing confusion and hostility with his personal circumstances and the situations he finds himself in.
My approach to the direction of the film was to break down each scene in such a manner as to allow the audience to journey through the narrative with Kiran - to see what he sees and to feel what he feels along the way. So they experience a sense of discovery in nearly every scene.
I am so proud of the achievements of my Cinematographer Damien Beebe and Production Designer Tim Hodgman whose visions perfectly synced with my ideas, helping realize a sophisticated screen palette which set the foundation for a sense of escalating dread and tension, whilst giving our talented actors the scope to thoroughly explore their characters and situations.
Wherever possible my team and I have tried to keep our effects “in camera” or “practical” as opposed to CGI. I feel the human eye is a finely tuned instrument which is very difficult to trick, that even the way lights and shadows hit practical elements is a subconscious tell to the human brain that what they are seeing is real. Where the opposite is also true with complicated CGI elements and the way light and motion track with them.
Some of the scripted scenes are personal and unforgettable experiences I had in real life. Hopefully one day I’ll have the opportunity to discuss those strange yet inspiring situations to you.
Shot at some incredibly scenic locations in Australia which blend both Urban and Rural elements, AIYAI’s landscape is both beautiful and haunting.
Crisp cuts, world class sound design and editing by the extremely talented Roberto Merlini along with a blood chilling music score and gripping performances by a well-known Australian and International cast, AIYAI: Wrathful Soul is a complete package sure to thrill, shock and entertain whilst giving audiences a satisfying viewing experience, one which I feel will leave them asking for more. A film that I envision will be notable for taking the Horror/Thriller genre to the next level on an international scale.