UMESH KULKARNI, 34, Filmmaker
Umesh Kulkarni nearly became a chartered accountant before he took up cinema as a career. His first documentary Girni, made in 2005 while he was still studying at Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), won the Best Short Film award at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival and was screened at the New York Film School festival. The awards and accolades continued to pour in as the Punebased director ushered in a new wave of comedy in the Marathi film industry with Valu, the story of a bull. Valu was the first ever Marathi feature film shown at the International Film Festival Rotterdam 2008. An avid traveller, he draws inspiration from the places he visits and the people he meets. His latest film Deeol is inspired by the dilemma of the educated youth in rural Maharashtra who are unable to find jobs.
‘LUCK BY CHANCE’ He was studying for his CA exams when a chance meeting with a former theatre group colleague led him to assist veteran directors Sumitra Bhave and Sunil Sukhtankar on their film Doghi. It sparked off the love for cinema and he decided to join FTII.
CAUSE AND EFFECT When he wrote Valu with friend Girish Kulkarni, no one was willing to produce the film. He raised Rs 1 crore from family and friends. Now, the challenge is to make meaningful films that reach out to people and have a lasting impact on the viewers.
SMALL WONDERS Short films are special to him and he continues to make documentaries after he completes a feature film. “It’s a different art form which has its own power and high artistic value,” says Kulkarni, “We must have more respect for short films.”
“Umesh explores varied subjects, experiments with themes and formats and doesn’t hesitate to choose a subject that is close to his heart. This is very important for making good films.” SANDEEP SAWANT, DIRECTOR
“I explore and understand the world through my cinema and my biggest achievement is
when my film touches people’s hearts”