In his debut, Abdul Faththaah directed Aadheys, Ali Azim Dhon Ayya showed that he has so much potential and promise. Over the following years, time and again he has proved that given the meaty roles, he’s ready to sink his teeth deep into them.

Ayya collage

After Aadheys, Dhon Ayya was then cast as the protagonist in Fatthaah’s segment of Hatharu Halha called Dhari/ Firi. Sadly, the anthology which consists of four unrelated short films was stalled at the post-production. When that segment was written, it was made challenging for whoever was going to play that role. Though the whole segment was 25 odd minutes, the character never had to deliver a single line except a few words at the very final frame just before the end credits. Everything was left to the acting abilities of the chosen actor.

I was so glad when Fatthaah cast Dhon Ayya for the role rather than a high-profile actor or any other actor for that matter. Dhon Ayya showed passion, dedication, discipline, and since he was fresh, it was easier to guide him. In his capable hands, Fatthaah always kneads a richer dough.

When Fatthaah showed me a rough cut of his segment, I was utterly blown away by the powerful performance of Dhon Ayya. To this day, I still feel that no other actor could outperform him. He was living that character inside out. And what made that role more challenging was not only he doesn’t have to speak, but it was a profoundly psychological role that was layered manifold. Dhon Ayya gave such a nuanced performance that I had goosebumps. An occurrence that rarely happens to me, especially in such a short time frame.

A year or two later, he was given a supporting role in EFVJ. Comparatively, it wasn’t a role with psychological depth like the previous one, but he shone brightly and gave his character enough range with his minimal acting abilities.

This year, his acting prowess will be showcased in the upcoming Dhivehi film, Hahdhu. He played the role of Hamza with aplomb. After the screenplay was finalised, Fatthaah came up with this idea of externally transforming the character Dhon Ayya was going to play after a huge plot twist in his character arc. I rewrote the screenplay and made this change as more of a plot device, putting extra pressure and responsibility on Dhon Ayya. It looked risky, especially when the production was to begin within a few days.

I confess that I was unsure that this change would be pulled off as easily or smoothly as Dhon Ayya did until I saw the rough cut. It was like a walk in the park for him. He once again rose to the occasion with such finesse and made his character look so riveting. I was left speechless. He was so amazing in one pivotal scene where Fatthaah shot in one long take. Brilliant. And yes, goosebumps too.

I am so excited that on 06 September 2017, the audience will get to witness the performance of Dhon Ayya, one of the highlights of film Hahdhu. May the star of Dhon Ayya keeps rising and shine brightly. I wish him all the best and success in his future endeavours.

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