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India Currents gave me a voice in days I was very lost. Having my articles selected for publishing was very validating – Shailaja Dixit, Executive Director, Narika, Fremont
Seven Rounds (2018), a short film scripted by young Indian filmmaker Akshun Abhimanyu from Los Angeles has been selected to premier at the Festival De Cannes in France in May 2018.
Inspired from true incidents, the movie brings into focus major issues faced by immigrants related to the travel ban, racism and the 2017 Kansas shooting.
“Racial discrimination is a major issue which is very much prevalent in our society. Even I have faced many such instances in the past two years and the Kansas shooting was really an eye-opener. Having a beard myself, I could resonate with the angst and pain faced by many. It made me realize that subliminal racism has slowly become a grave concern that needs to be addressed,” opined Akshun. “Being an actor, I was always on a hunt to play a role that has a strong motive and this storyline helped me in creating such a character to which I could relate to,” he adds.
“It’s really overwhelming to receive such an honor. I got very lucky to get acquainted with such great filmmakers and like-minded friends, who made the journey really special,” said Akshun Abhi, who is at Cannes from May 8 -19, 2018. Akshun Abhimanyu is the writer and lead actor of the film, along with co-actors Abhay Walia, Kevin Mukherjea, Nakia Secrest, Karl J. Morris, Dennis Getmanski, and Denis Garr. The short is directed by George Saviddis, produced by Three Flames Productions and the screenplay is by Karthik Menon.
After spreading his message of love and mutual global acceptance, Akshun aims to take the ‘seven rounds’ to a bigger platform after the festival run, either as a feature or docu-series.
Akshun comes from a family that has a strong background in science. His father, Dr Alok Adholeya, was a microbiologist and mother, Dr Radhika Adholeya, a gynecologist. Akshun felt drawn towards the field of science. He completed his bachelors in biotechnology and also did training as a researcher in Germany.
“My mother always used to make these statements that being known as ‘a scientist who is a dancer is really cool’ but a ‘dancer who knows science, won’t be that cool’. Hence, I always had in mind to complete my graduation in Science,” stated Akshun.
It was his strong inclination towards art that made him realize his dream and move to LA to study at the New York Film Academy. “Though I opted to study science, I was always a regular performer who could find happiness in the expression of art. Even while studying Biotechnology in Germany, I worked part time at a theater and taught dancing to students.”
Eventually, he arrived at a cross-road. “There was always this consistent attraction towards the stage and when there came a point where I could pursue only one amongst the two, and I opted for arts. I decided to take the indirect approach of creating a change in the society through strong message-driven movies rather than a direct approach through developments in science. It was then that I realized the inherent value of art as a tool that can influence society,” stated Akshun, who has worked in nearly 14 short films and 9 commercials so far.
The actor-cum-dancer considers his family as his greatest strength, who stood by him all the time and motivated him to pursue his dreams. “I was always a hyperactive and notorious kid and it’s my family, especially my sister Ananaya Alok, who kept me grounded and helped me in realizing my passion towards art,” he added.
Focused on creating a platform for artists to collaborate, the budding filmmaker also plans to eventually produce and create his own films in the future. Currently studying Entertainment business and Management at UCLA extension, he has also scripted two stories based on sexual abuse and harassment and bullying at college for upcoming projects. Not just in Hollywood, he also aspires to make ‘new-age’ movies in India that center around social issues.
Seven Rounds (2018). Director: George Saviddis. Writers: Akshun Abhimanyu (Creator) and Karthik Menon (Screenplay). Lead Actor: Akshun Abhimanyu. Co Actor: Abhay Walia. Cast: Kevin Mukherjea, Nakia Secrest, Karl J. Morris, Dennis Getmanski, Denis Garr. Producers: Miranda Guzman, Trevor Doyle (Three Flames Productions).
Writing has been my passion and I love expressing my thoughts in various forms of writing including articles, stories, and poems. I come with nearly a decade’s experience in the field of journalism, exploring and writing about people, issues, and community stories for many leading media publications in India. Living in Colorado for two years gave me the opportunity to experience new culture and write about an entirely different community, art, and lifestyle for a leading publication in Denver, Colorado. Now, it’s time to explore California and would love to write more about the people and community — Suchithra Pillai.