It was a historic win for India at the 95th Academy Awards, as it took home two Oscars this year: RRR's 'Naatu Naatu', which won the Best Original Song, and Kartiki Gonsalves' The Elephant Whisperers, for Best Documentary Short Film.
The third Indian connection to the Oscars, whom many may not know about, is Mumbai's Aashish D'Mello, one of the two assistant editors for Daniels' Everything Everywhere All at Once, which won seven Academy Awards, including one for Best Film Editing.
30-year-old Aashish, who hails from Mumbai's Bandra, was an assistant editor to Paul Rogers, editor-in-chief, alongside Zekun Mao for Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert's internationally acclaimed genre-bending film.
Aashish's father, Denzil D'Mello, a lawyer in the Bombay High Court, and his mother, Ruth, live near the Mehboob studio in Bandra. Aashish got his Bachelor's Degree in Mass Media from Mumbai's St Xaviers College in 2013. Following which, he interned as an assistant editor at a reputed company, where he worked on several commercials as well as the Rani Mukerji-starrer Mardaani.
In 2015, Aashish enrolled in the editing programme at Los Angeles' American Film Institute (AFI), and graduated from there in 2017. He is currently based in LA and has worked on several short films that were screened at prestigious film festivals. He is also a member of the editors’ union.
Talking about how he got the opportunity to work on Daniels' film, Aashish wrote in his essay, "The film industry here (Hollywood) is informal, you get jobs through word of mouth. Zekun Mao and I were together in the same class at AFI. She is from China. Paul had reached out to AFI asking if they knew any good editors who could serve as assistant editors and who knew Chinese. AFI sent this email to Zeken. She got the job first. She reached out to me because they needed another assistant editor."
In an interview with TNN, Aashish shared that much of the editing for Everything Everywhere All at Once was done remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We were entirely remote for most of the editing process. Filming completed in March 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic. Because the situation was so unfamiliar to everyone, we had to get creative. The directors, Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, like being very hands-on with the editing and visual effects process, which meant including them in our workflow. The footage was shot in multiple formats, which added to the complexity of editing with it as well as doing visual effects on it", Aashish shared with TNN.
Aashish also mentioned that they only had a staff of five in-house artists who worked on around 550 visual effects shots in total for Everything Everywhere All at Once.
Talking about the film's international success and the Oscars, Aashish told TNN, "It was surreal to be in the room while history was being made. We all worked so hard on this movie, and seeing the incredible reaction it's got from audiences, critics and now from the Academy, is so rewarding and makes all the hard work worth it! My journey from Mumbai, a city so tightly connected to film history, to Los Angeles, the centre of Hollywood, has been crazy. Growing up in Mumbai certainly fuelled my love for movies."
Aashish most recently worked as an assistant editor on Benny Safdie and Nathan Fielder's upcoming Showtime drama The Curse, produced by A24.