INDIA’S POSTER BOY OF DIFFERENT CINEMA
Anurag Kashyap, the name says it all. Born in Gorakhpur, Uttar-Pradesh. Kashyap started watching films avidly in his college days but also got involved with drugs and alcohol. A couple of friends introduced him to world cinema and urged him to catch a de Sica retrospective at the International Film Festival of India, which left such a deep impact on him that he now wanted to do something with films and so he landed in Mumbai in June 1993 with approximately six thousand rupees in his pocket. But before Bollywood could have its most uniquely creative mind, Kashyap began writing for the small screen mainly telefilms where he penned the dialogue for Hansal Mehta’s Jayate in 1997. And a year later made his debut as screenplay and dialogue writer in Satya.
Although, the film is co-written by Saurabh Shukla and directed by Ram Gopal Verma, the film has more of Kashyap’s signature style and brilliance. After collaborating with Ram Gopal Verma on a few other movies, Kashyap desired to make his own film but struggled to get clearance from the censor board for the yet unreleased directorial debut, Paanch because the director-writer was accused of glorifying violence and drug use.
Where most filmmakers would learn a lesson from the incident, Anurag Kashyap proceeded to make yet another controversial film called Black Friday (arguably his best film till date). Unfortunately, that too got banned on its release date (28th January 2005) till the verdict of the lawsuit by the Bombay High Court on the petition of the under-trials. It finally returned on 9th February 2007 to a very less number of screens due to lack of marketing but nevertheless holds a cult status among film buffs and students.
His following attempts were no exception when it came to pushing the audiences to accept and enjoy different films. Be it the surreal No Smoking or his own version of the wild west, Gangs of Wasseypur. None of his scenes felt like we have seen it before in other movies. His perseverance to capture realism with dark humor and keeping the story unpredictable makes him stand apart in an industry where many are running after stars and foreign locations to make a blockbuster.
As far as foreign venues are concerned, Kashyap travels around the world but not for shooting purpose. He is an ardent believer in the global market and the festival circuit as means of connecting with other cinemas as well as showcasing his own work. Most of his films have been screened at festivals abroad, long before their India release. Gangs of Wasseypur was shown in its full length (Part 1 and 2 combined) and received a standing ovation at Cannes. Ugly, for instance, was funded by DAR Capital, a London-based private equity firm.
“I enjoy the darker side of things. I’m interested in violating a person’s sense of being. I like to shake people up and make them restless” Kashyap admitted with a grin in an interview once.
Perhaps, the reason why he sees the world in its raw, brutal nature is because he was not born with a silver spoon in a palace. In fact, life was pretty unfair to him right from the beginning. He was sexually abused as a child for 11 years, came to Mumbai brimming with angst, bitterness and a sense of violation and isolation, slept on pavements in his struggling days, worked in hotels, staged plays outside Prithvi Theatre and ghost wrote scripts. However, every time he got stopped for his unabashed take on reality, he pushed ahead harder. If it’s the anti-tobacco ticker warning that annoys him, he will take the matter to the court to put his point across that there is nothing unnatural about a character smoking on screen which is why even the neo-noir psychological thriller, Ugly got stuck in the waiting line for more than a year till Kashyap lost the battle and had to crop the scene to avoid the burning cigarette. But despite releasing the movie in December 2014 with the “Smoking is Injurious to Health” sign, Kashyap’s battle continues to challenge the Indian censor board for the future of indie cinema.
To sum it up in a nutshell as why Anurag Kashyap gets our attention, why some of us eagerly look forward to his films? The answer is that there is simply no one more daring or crazy enough to go against the clichés, disregard the film rules and challenge the audience to use their brains than Anurag ‘Rebel’ Kashyap.