In Conversation with Umesh Kulkarni
Renowned Marathi director Umesh Kulkarni is easily Marathi cinema’s finest contemporary director. He has already helmed three critically acclaimed films with two of them being commercial hits. Umesh Kulkarni shared his views on the current scenario of short films in the country and what efforts he as a director is making to encourage young filmmakers to experiment with this form of filmmaking.
“Short films have existed since the advent of cinema and are still viewed as an art form in various regions across the globe. But this form of cinema hasn’t been experimented enough in our country. I have noticed that there are various platforms and channels abroad to encourage filmmakers to learn this form of cinema. Despite the technology being easily accessible post digitalisation, we have not explored the possibilities of this medium and this becomes a challenge for filmmakers and enthusiasts in India. I have often noticed that people have misconceptions about short films. They assume that short films are only documentaries.” he says.
When asked about what got him hooked to short films, Umesh said “In the year 2000, when I was studying in Paris, I realised that short films were a big movement across Europe. It’s a different medium that needs to be promoted in India as well. People still mistook documentaries for short films. I am extremely passionate about short films and consider it to be an independent form of storytelling. While I was studying at FTII, we were required to make a short film and that is when I was introduced to the form and fell in love with it. The short film I made for my third semester at FTII was titled ‘Girni’ and it got me my first National Award! It was also around that time I made up my mind that after every feature length film, I will make a short film and so far I have directed over 10 short films.”
Thus, to encourage youngsters to watch and make short films I started a short film club, Arbhaat Short Film Club, two years ago.
I want people to be aware of the creative form and how it can be used as an effective medium to get across what the director wants to say. This form can be turned and twisted in a number of ways; it can be blended in any style to bring out a story. It gives one a chance to think out of the box and create something new.
I intend to start a short film movement in our country and bring together young minds to participate and create visual stories. I have been conducting a short filmmaking workshop called ‘Shoot a Short’ along with film academician and former dean of FTII, Samar Nakhate, for the last three years now. We have conducted three workshops so far and have seen a significant change in the way the participants handle the medium before coming to the workshop and after participating in it.”
This year too, the workshop will be conducted primarily in Marathi at the National Film Archive of India (NFAI) campus, Law College Road from December 26 to 29 from 10 am to 5.30 pm. Registrations are open. Those interested can get in touch with Umesh on firstname.lastname@example.org