Saturday, May 28, 2011

#127: Urf Professor




Filmmaking is an arduous journey and nothing exemplifies it more than the life of Pankaj Advani. If you're a fan of movies and haven't heard of him yet, let me say that you're doing yourself a big favor by reading this post.

India's biggest star Shahrukh Khan's best movie perhaps with the exception of Chak De India has to be Kabhi Haan, Kabhi Naa If you're looking for something exceptional that Pankaj Advani did in the mainstream arena, this would be the easiest reference: he co-wrote the movie with Kundan Shah. The next reference is that he wrote and directed a comic caper thriller called Sankat City in 2009. It was one of those movies that only lasted for a week in the theaters because there were no big stars and a small budget movie inevitably fails to draw audiences because the funds spent on marketing is limited. The movie though was kickass.

The third reference for Pankaj Advani is that he edited, wrote and directed a movie called Urf Professor- a movie that didn't get a cinematic release due to it's explicit language. When asked to tone down the language of this movie, that was shot in 13 days for 13 lakhs, Pankaj preferred to let the movie remain as is. So a lot many of us didn't hear of it or seldom read about it. What Urf Professor has done though for every young filmmaker in the country and the world-over is set the standard in independent filmmaking. When I say this, I mean not so much in terms of the excellence in craft part of it, that will always be a subjective call, but in the stretching the limits of how much can be packed in a movie irrespective of the budget. How execution of a story lies in being street-smart and how handheld-filming will always be the purest form of transporting a story from paper to screen.

I am deliberately steering away from reviewing Urf Professor because this movie doesn't require a score or a judgement for it to be hailed as a classic. This is the kind of movie because of the which the word cult was coined by the saint. Pankaj Advani passed away last year but his legacy will remain a lingering beacon of hope for anyone who nurtures the dream to be an auteur. May his soul rest in peace.