The Bhatti School of Humour

The death of comedian Jaspal Bhatti has come as a shock to people who have grown up watching his TV shows Ulta Pulta and Flop Show in the '90s. Perhaps one of the greatest fans of his humour is a film editor groomed at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) in Pune.

Five years ago, when Prashant Borkar was an FTII student, he had made a short film Ulta Pulta F.T.I.I. fashioned on Bhatti's humour that had made television serial Ulta Pulta a big hit in the '90s. Ulta Pulta F.T.I.I. takes a humorous look at the lives of writers and poets.

Borkar, now a film editor in Mumbai, says it was the originality of the show and Bhatti's way of poking at hollow ideas and principles of society that endeared him to the concept of making a film on the subject.

"I made the film in 2007 as part of a multi-camera exercise. The film tells the story of a writer-poet being interviewed by a journalist. The idea had struck me during my days at FTII and partly because I was heavily influenced by Bhatti's style of humour. Hence the film was called Ulta Pulta F.T.I.I.," he says.

Bhatti, whose satire had popularised him as one of the foremost comedians in the country, used to deal with mundane as well as important issues in Ulta Pulta and Flop Show.

Bhatti passed away in a car accident on Thursday. Borkar said Bhatti's death came as a huge shock. He says it has also galvanised him into working on scripts based more on the style of humour Bhatti propagated. He says, "He had this remarkable ability to laugh at himself and had a distinctive storytelling style.

I remember an episode where he has been invited as chief guest who comes on time and is made to do some work by the organisers. In a similar manner, my film is a comedy of errors that leaves the journalist exasperated."

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