Ujwal Kulkarni: I have learnt everything from Prashanth Neel
Twenty-year-old editor Ujwal Kulkarni speaks about his journey with director Prashanth Neel for the Yash-starrer KGF: Chapter 2
It’s been a week since the release of KGF: Chapter 2, and the craze for Rocky Bhai is only growing by the day. The pan-India film, starring Yash and directed by Prashanth Neel, is getting an unprecedented response across languages. And the film’s editor, Ujwal Kulkarni, is all of 20 years old. Ujwal, who hails from Gulbarga, came to Bengaluru with no big dreams. However, his talent and a bit of luck landed him the opportunity of a lifetime. A fan of the KGF franchise, he did fan-made edits that impressed Prashanth Neel, who was so convinced that he made him the editor of KGF Chapter 2. And then, there has been no looking back.
“My first editing stint was for my brother, Vinay, an aspiring actor,” remembers Ujwal. “I began shooting and editing videos for him and was drawn into the world of editing moving images. My friend Shashank encouraged me to pursue a career in Bengaluru, and then, I got in touch with a few technicians. I worked with Mufti editor Harish Komme for two months. That’s when I made the fan-made edits for KGF: Chapter 1, which luckily got noticed by Prashanth. I was called for an interview and that’s how I entered the world of Rocky Bhai officially.”
To begin his career with a huge project like KGF: Chapter 2 is due to “sheer good fortune and love for the KGF franchise”, he says. “I was the youngest technician in the crew and was given abundant care. I couldn’t believe my eyes that stars like Yash and Prashanth Neel were sitting in front of me, and that I was working with them!” he beams.
The director made his process easy, he says. “Prashanth had everything planned out in his head. All I had to do was read his mind and understand his storytelling style. We had planned the non-linear editing pattern during the writing process, and I simply stuck to his plans,” says the editor.
Ujwal has spent about two years on the film, and during this period, Prashanth was always with him as a pillar of support. “I can’t explain what it meant to me, but his presence was crucial in keeping me energetic and enthusiastic. I learnt some valuable lessons about cinema and life from him. I learnt that we must dedicate ourselves to a work till it is completed.”
When not working, Ujwal likes to listen to music and party. He is also a big fan of director Christopher Nolan and the Narcos franchise. “I came across all of this through Prashanth Sir’s suggestions. He has made me,” signs off the young editor who will next be editing another film for Prashanth Neel, the Prabhas-starrer, Salaar.