Udai Singh Pawar

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Udai Singh Pawar
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Born1982 (age 41–42)
EducationMasters program in Physics
Alma materIIT, Kanpur
  • Filmmaker
  • Screenwriter
  • Director
Years active2009–present
Known forKnown for the Netflix Original Film Upstarts (2019)

Udai Singh Pawar is a filmmaker and screenwriter based in Mumbai, India. Before becoming a full-fledged Director, he had been the Associate Director of the Akshay Kumar-starrer Airlift, made by Raja Krishna Menon, and even earlier, had been the Chief/1st Assistant Director to veteran film director Sudhir Mishra for five years, on multiple projects, such as the Irrfan Khan-starrer Yeh Saali Zindagi and the Arjun Rampal-starrer Inkaar.[1]

Pawar is a Physics graduate from IIT Kanpur, with a strong background blending technology and art[2]. Before shifting to film-making in 2009, Udai had worked extensively in technology research, with multiple patents[3] and publications[4] to his name.

Most recently, Pawar was the Writer and the Director of the Netflix Original Feature Film Upstarts[5][6][7], which has been streaming since October 2019.

Early life

Udai grew up in New Delhi and studied at Delhi Public School, R.K.Puram. After which he took the JEE exam and got into IIT, Kanpur, in the five year integrated Masters program in Physics[8]. As a course of his study he interned at the MIT Media Lab in Boston under noted scientist Neil Gershenfeld where he shared a publication, and then later also at ARRI Cinema R&D, Munich when his interest for cinema grew[8]. For his masters thesis under Prof. D. Goswami, Udai built a pulse-shaper for femto-second lasers which was used for various research projects, as the technology has multiple applications such as detecting cancer, spectroscopy, etc. This also lead to a published work.

Pre-film career

Udai started his professional career at Microsoft Research in Bangalore, where he worked on Technologies for Emerging Markets[9], focusing on education in village schools. There, he invented the acclaimed Multipoint (initially known as MultiMouse)[9] and SplitScreen[10] technologies, and conducted studies on the best ways to use technology to teach kids. He was awarded in 2007 by Wall Street Journal Asia[11], and his work was also highlighted publicly by Bill Gates himself[12].

He earned some US patents[3] and key research publications[4][13][14][15], before taking a sabbatical in 2008 to travel around the world for 13 months[16], with just a backpack and a guitar, focusing on South America and countries with lots of trains, like Russia, China and Japan. On his return, he worked in the General Elections 2009 as a campaign aide to then-Member of Parliament Jyotiraditya Scindia, before deciding to take the leap full-time to his childhood passion for film-making, in 2009[17][8].

Film career

He reportedly had to stand and wait on the road outside famous Bollywood director Sudhir Mishra’s office to meet him[18]. Udai then assisted Mishra for five years on multiple films such as the Irrfan Khan-starrer Yeh Saali Zindagi and the Arjun Rampal-starrer Inkaar[1]. After this, he worked with Raja Krishna Menon as the Associate Director on the box-office-superhit film Airlift[19] that starred Akshay Kumar. There, he also directed the B-Unit and did a lot of the action choreography[20].

Post that, Menon offered to produce Udai’s first film[18][21], which was pitched to Netflix and was picked up for their first slate of 8 Indian Original Films, and was co-produced by Menon and Netflix[22][23].

Upstarts was released in October 2019 as a Netflix-produced Original (streaming at https://www.netflix.com/in/title/80998890), and was well regarded by critics.

RollingStone gave it 4 out of 5 stars[24] ("The Unexpectedly Relatable Success Story, this feel-good movie tackles millennial Indian ambition and does it right"), Indian new organisation FirstPost also gave it 4 out of 5 stars[25] ("…thoroughly researched, unabashed ode to India's startup ecosystem… kind of conviction that is oft absent from success-story films.”) Noted film critic and author Jai Arjun Singh reviewed it positively in the Telegraph[26], "Every once in a while, you come across a film that is so direct – and has so much heart – that you stop thinking about labels or classifications, or about your own preconceptions, and simply go along for the ride.

Other venues like Outlook (Indian magazine), News18[27], The Quint[28], The New Indian Express[29], SonyBIZ Asia[30], Common Sense Media[31], etc[32]., also covered it positively with an average of 3 to 3.5 stars, and even some foreign reviewers[33]. It was also nominated for Radio City (Indian radio station) Hitlist web awards for Best Web Film of 2019[34].

The film was also hailed by the Indian startup and business community, with Udai being featured in the business media too[35], National TV[21]and also social media - with some of India's most successful entrepreneurs tweeting about it, including Infosys founder Nandan Nilekani and Biotech industry leader Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw among others.

In the media



  1. 1.0 1.1 "Udai Singh Pawar". imdb. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  2. Sood, Samira (2019-10-17). "With Udai Singh Pawar's Upstarts, the story of Indian startups reaches Netflix". ThePrint. Retrieved 2020-07-07.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Udai Singh Pawar Inventions, Patents and Patent Applications - Justia Patents Search". patents.justia.com. Retrieved 2019-10-09.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Google Scholar". scholar.google.com. Retrieved 2019-10-09.
  5. "Upstarts | Netflix Official Site". www.netflix.com. Retrieved 2020-07-07.
  6. Robinson, Tasha (2019-09-24). "Everything coming to Netflix in October 2019". The Verge. Retrieved 2019-10-09.
  7. FirstPost, FP Staff (October 2019). "Upstarts: Netflix announces buddy film on entrepreneurial setups in India; premiere on 18 October". Retrieved 9 October 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 "Linked-In Professional Profile". Retrieved 9 October 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. 9.0 9.1 Knies, Rob (2006-05-25). "Multimouse Makes Computer Learning a Communal Experience". microsoft. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  10. McBride, John (2007-05-07). "Split screen software holds promise for developing countries". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2019-10-09.
  11. Journal, Jeremy WagstaffSpecial to The Wall Street (2007-11-07). "Dung, Sewage Fuel Inventors' Imaginations". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2019-10-09.
  12. "Bill Gates, Craig Mundie: Microsoft Government Leaders Forum - Asia 2007". Stories. 2007-04-19. Retrieved 2019-10-09.
  13. Pawar, U. S.; Pal, J.; Toyama, K. (May 2006). "Multiple Mice for Computers in Education in Developing Countries". 2006 International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Development: 64–71. doi:10.1109/ICTD.2006.301840. ISBN 1-4244-0484-3.
  14. Pawar, Udai Singh; Pal, Joyojeet; Gupta, Rahul; Toyama, Kentaro (2007). "Multiple Mice for Retention Tasks in Disadvantaged Schools". Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. CHI '07. New York, NY, USA: ACM: 1581–1590. doi:10.1145/1240624.1240864. ISBN 9781595935939.
  15. "dblp: Udai Singh Pawar". dblp.org. Retrieved 2019-10-09.
  16. "Sabbaticals & Us". Telegraph. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  17. Sood, Samira (2019-10-17). "With Udai Singh Pawar's Upstarts, the story of Indian startups reaches Netflix". ThePrint. Retrieved 2020-07-07.
  18. 18.0 18.1 Sood, Samira (2019-10-17). "With Udai Singh Pawar's Upstarts, the story of Indian startups reaches Netflix". ThePrint. Retrieved 2020-07-07.
  19. Ghosh, Sankhayan (2016-02-18). "High flying, adored". the Hindu. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  20. "February 10, 2016: Screening & Guest Interaction with the team of 'Airlift'". WWI. Retrieved 2020-07-07.
  21. 21.0 21.1 "Startup Street: Check out Netflix India's first film on startups and what is brewing at MyGate, Cars24". cnbctv18.com. Retrieved 2020-07-07.
  22. India, Press Trust of (2019-08-18). "'Airlift' director Raja Krishna Menon to produce film for Netflix". Business Standard India. Retrieved 2020-07-07.
  23. "Netflix Unveils Slate of Eight Original Films, One Series From India". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2019-10-09.
  24. "'Upstarts' Review: The Unexpectedly Relatable Success Story -". 2019-10-25. Retrieved 2020-07-07.
  25. "Upstarts movie review: Priyanshu Painyuli's film presents an unflinching ode to Indian entrepreneurial ecosystem - Entertainment News , Firstpost". Firstpost. 2019-10-23. Retrieved 2020-07-07.
  26. "Upstarts: A real effort to depict the start up world from inside out". www.telegraphindia.com. Retrieved 2020-07-07.
  27. "Upstarts Movie Review: This Netflix Film About Start-up Woes is Worth Investing Your Time in". News18. 2019-10-19. Retrieved 2020-07-07.
  28. Rammohan, Nandakumar (2019-10-20). "Netflix's Upstarts Is for Those With the Proverbial Startup Dream". TheQuint. Retrieved 2020-07-07.
  29. "Netflix series 'Upstarts' review: Floating in a bubble". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 2020-07-07.
  30. Tanna, Amrita (2019-10-22). "Digital Review: 'Upstarts'". BizAsia | Media, Entertainment, Showbiz, Brit, Events and Music. Retrieved 2020-07-07.
  31. "Upstarts - Movie Review". www.commonsensemedia.org. 2019-10-27. Retrieved 2020-07-07.
  32. Service, Tribune News. "Udai Pawar goes with the flow". Tribuneindia News Service. Retrieved 2020-07-07.
  33. Machozeki, Juliana (2019-10-19). "Resenha | Upstarts (Original Netflix)". Entreter-se (in português do Brasil). Retrieved 2020-07-07.
  34. "Hitlist Web Awards: Go binge on 2019's best desi shows from OTT platforms; thank us later!". mid-day. 2020-03-26. Retrieved 2020-07-07.
  35. Kaushal, Bhavya (2019-11-11). "'Netflix's Upstarts is Inspired by Real Founders'". Entrepreneur. Retrieved 2020-07-07.

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