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Watch a Scene From ‘Ashes,’ Ajay Naidu’s Ode to the East Village, Playing Tonight

Scene contains strong language that may not be safe for work. Courtesy of Frontstoop Films.

Ajay Naidu uses his St. Marks Place apartment for more than just people-watching: It’s prominently featured in the actor’s directorial debut, “Ashes,” which screens tonight at the New York International Latino Film Festival. The walk-up (Mr. Naidu’s home since 1995) is where the character he plays, Ashes, tends to his schizophrenic brother, Kartik (played by Faran Tahir of “Iron Man” notoriety) and where Kartik awkwardly courts a similarly troubled woman, Bettina (played by another East Village resident, Piper Perabo).

Mr. Naidu said that he decided to set “Ashes” in the East Village circa 2006, in part because at the time “there was a vast dichotomy of wealth distribution that made it possible for people to slip through the cracks.”

Add to that, the character of the neighborhood: “There was a more personal feeling to the Village,” said Mr. Naidu. “It felt more like a neighborhood as opposed to a place where a bunch of young rich people came and bought a piece of the charm.” Read more…