In Aligarh, a human rights biopic, produced and directed by Hansal Mehta, the scenes stretch, staying on telling images, with nary a sharp cut, as befitting a film that is intended to provoke serious thinking on a social issue. The brooding, the anguish and the silenced anger of its central character, Prof Siras, are highlighted brilliantly by Apurva Asrani’s marquee editing.
At the young age of 19, he collected the Filmfare Award for Best Editing for his very first editing venture, Ram Gopal Verma’s Satya in 1999 and went on to share the National Film Award for Best Editing with Suresh Pai, for their edit of Snip!, Sunhil Sippy’s bilingual comedy. Among Apurva’s other noted works are his earlier collaborations with Aligarh director Hansal Mehta – Shahid (2013) and CityLights (2014).
Asrani’s contribution to a film has always tended to go beyond editing, and helped determine a film’s final form and flavour. This fact has been acknowledged roundly by some of his directors, especially Hansal Mehta. Their last cinematic venture together, Aligarh, marked Apurva’s ascension as a full-fledged screenwriter, as Mehta handed over the charge of the film’s screenplay and dialogues, in addition to editing, to Asrani.