Ujjwal Utkarsh is an independent filmmaker and a PhD-in-Practice candidate at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna. His films have been showcased in various national and international festivals. Of late, he has been experimenting with his own practice, whereby he dabbles in other forms like photography, sound, and theatre. Ujjwal has also taught various aspects of film-making in several institutes across India.
He has been trying to develop a form that emerges out of the observational cinema tradition and he continues to do that through his PhD project. For Ujjwal, this has resonances with John Cage’s ideas of beauty and he has explored that through various forms and themes. He has looked at ideas of nothingness, of being in transit, and also at labour practices, specifically at peculiar farming practices. In his ongoing work, he is trying to see if and how through this form he can look at and reflect upon political activity. In the current political climate, where the space for dissent is rapidly diminishing, truth is either viewed very simplistically and reality as objective or the postmodern perspective renders all truth relative and all reality socially constructed. In this context, his work is also an exploration to see if such ideas of observational form could create a space that avoids the pitfalls of both these seemingly untenable theoretical extremes.
Ujjwal Utkarsh has also been working with the Film & Television Unit of The Energy & Resources Institute, Delhi. He holds a PG Diploma in film-making from the same department. He has worked in the television and ad film industry in Mumbai as well.