Suruchi Gupta

Interviews

Anurag Kashyap: With Sargam

by on Apr.26, 2012, under Interviews, Uncategorized

Sargam caught up with filmmaker Anurag Kashyap in the latter’s office in Mumbai in 2011. Here’s what they exchanged, in terms of words: 🙂

 

Anurag Kashyap

Sargam: Shaitan’s collection’s are poor as of now.
Anurag: But Shaitan is just two days old. So why are you saying that. All the films are watched more on Torrent, because of which there is no paying public! It becomes difficult to make films na then! But anyway, it’s ok. Atleast there is an audience.

S: Do you think Torrrent should not be there…
A: No, no. There should just be a way of making money out of it! They download na. There should be something! As long as I get to make films it’s ok. The day I stop that, I’ll start considering the options.

S: You make serious stuff. Not comedies.
A: I am making funny movies also!

S: Really? Like?
A: I like to make fun in the movies!  Very hard hitting!

S: What is cinema to you? Entertainment? You like to watch Govinda types movies too?
A: I don’t know. It is everything. It is sometimes entertainment, sometimes experimenting, sometimes having fun. Most of the times it is having fun while making it. It is the process that is more important. Also, that it breaks even. Nobody should loose money.

S: So far, have you been able to break even?
A: Some movies do break even. Udaan, Gulaal, Black Friday, Dev D did break even. Shaitan should also do it.

S: Do you enjoy Govinda types movies?
A: I love watching Govinda’s movies. But not now. I used to love watching them till a few years ago. The comedies nowadays are not funny.

S: Not even Golmal types?
A: No. What I found funny was Hangover, 1, not 2. (smiles) what i find funny is lot of stand-up comedy. Slapstick does not work for me. I like sarcastic films. I like films which have a political tinge to it. Intelligent films.

S: You’ve done a lot of cameos… acting.
A: I want to put a stop to it now. Because i don’t rate myself as an actor. Acting compared to filmmaking is very boring. Sitting and waiting for a shot… it is painful. When you are making a film you are active all the time. It is more fun.

S: You still acted?
A: I did it because of various reasons. At times there is no money to give. At times no one wants to be in a role. I never did a role because I wanted to do it.

S: It is like you are there in only some flashes of the films…
A: Yes. Either I was emotionally blackmailed into it. Or I did because no one else was doing it.

S: What about Shagird?
A: I was emotionally blackmailed into it.

S: By?
A: Himanshu Dhulia. So now I’ve blackmailed him to act in my movie.

S: And I Am was a promise?
A: That was because no one wanted to play that role. No one wants to be an abusive father. I thought it was important that someone play that. So I did it. I told him call me at the end only if you don’t get anyone else. He did that.

S: What about the tiny bit of piece you penned and sung for Udaan?
A: That happened over, I think, over six cans of beer! Lots of beer! They made me read it and retained it!

S: Really?
A: Yes. Really. The whole song was written over a lot of beer.

S: Is it easy to get you drunk and take the advantage of it?
A: No. It is not easy. It’s just that we all were very excited and it happened then. The ideas were flowing then! That was the first and last time. (All through a smile on his face). You should do this sometimes!

S: What do you feel like when you are the actor? Do you forget you are also a director?
A: No, you cannot forget that. I am very camera aware and an actor should not be so. So I make a very bad actor. Thus I’ll never cast myself in a film! I don’t want to act anymore. Got too many films to make. Nice plans.

S: Are directors happy with you as an actor?
A: They are happy but I try to make them very unhappy. (How?) By not responding to their words!

S: We’ve read that hile I Am was being made, it was disturbing for you?
A: Yes. I’ve been through it as a child. While I was doing the role, the little kid started trusting me a lot and he didn’t have a father. Had it not been a film anyone would have taken advantage of the child. So that was very disturbing- the trust the child puts in you after two moments of being nice to him, as it is with kids. That is disturbing. The child didn’t know what scenes he was shooting.

S: And the aftermath of making these disturbing movies?
A: There is too much to do and look into to think. We try to pull out of it. Once it is over we start thinking of the next project. We have no option but to keep moving ahead.

S: Now Shaitan (released on June 10) is out…
A: I am over Shaitan. For me Shaitan got over on Sunday (June 12) and today (Monday, the next day) am in my office working on my next film Ganga of Wasseypur. Shweta is editing it.

S: And don’t you go back to your films ever?
A: I’ve never seen my films after they’ve released. I cannot stand them. Because all I see is mistakes.

S: And what kind are these? Say in Shaitan…
A: A whole lot of them. Shaitan Bijoy has directed, so he keeps seeing them. I have only co-produced it.

S: Say in Black Friday then, which was so well received?
A: It was full of mistakes. There is a opening shot when the bomb was being put. There you see a man carrying a Aquafina bottle which did not exist in 1993. Only I spot them. He is wearing a Seaman’s mobile T-shirt. There were no mobiles in ’93.

S: How do you interact with your audience and what has been the best and worst so far?
A: I interact with them on internet largely or in film schools or universities. Like you said all my audiences are ‘downloading audiences’, so they are all in universities.
Worst response I got was on No Smoking. Terrible response.

S: Any comments you remember?
A: The internet was full of comments. One review wrote ‘what were the directors smoking?’ One review called it the worst film of all times. A lot of them.

S: What did you think about No Smoking?
A: I loved No Smoking. The response is immaterial but that is one film I really liked. I’ve not seen it since its release.

S: And the best response?
A: It was for Dev D. But I prefer Gulaal, No Smoking, Black Friday over Dev D. The best they said about Dev D was ‘there will be films before and after Dev D.’ Dev D becomes a dividing line. That was a good compliment.

S: Who gave you that one?
A: I don’t remember…

S: In a report I read you’ve never lost money. Is that true given your box office track record?
A: In No Smoking I lost money. Producers didn’t. But distributors and exhibitors did. It matters to me that all films break even as if my films start losing money then nobody will allow making it!

S: What is more important? Critical acclaim or monetary success.
A: Both do. Box office success I wont say but recovery matters a lot. Success is very difficult. World over the kind of filmmakers I admire have not had that kind of box office success. All of them, from Scorcisi who’s biggest hit was probably Departed, to Aronoski- who’s biggest was probably Black Dog. These are stray cases. Danny Boyle. He made money in Slumdog, but all his other films didn’t make money. 127 Hours did not. Their films come only to be admired it seems, but they don’t make money.

S: Now that you have turned to production, to, as you say, help those directors who have potential but no takers, are you finding it to be a difficult job?
A: Yes it is. Fighting exhibitors. Like Shaitan released to six shows in a day maximum, wherein other theatres have given it one or two shows, and Ready is running in 15 shows and X-Men is running in 10 shows. It is a difficult fight to get number of shows and screens.

S: What turns you to producing?
A: Because there are filmmakers like me who should be around making more films. I try to help them. They are very good directors but don’t get a chance. So try to do my bit.

S: You and Kay Kay Memnon. To Paanh may be… your initial films had him, but not anymore…
A: We go back to theatre in 1993. He was my teacher. I was the actor then! My initial films did fit him, but say Dev D did not. He does not fit in Gangs of Wasseypur set in Bihar. For that I’ve gone back to Manoj Bajpai who did Satya and Shor. The other filmmakers am producing, I don’t tell them who to cast and who not to.

S: Speaking of Paach, what are your hopes with it. Will it release?
A: It has released already on Torrent. People can download and watch it! Don’t know what’l happen in theatres.

S: Sir, do you see yourself as part of the censor board?
A: Yes. Absolutely. I would love to be part of it and help with a lot of things and decision making and stuff.

S: Am not aware. How does it happen? Invited or voted in?
A: They send you an invite. May be they will invite me.

S: If you are in it, will you clear your projects?
A: I will fight for films. I believe in the right of filmmaking and freedom of speech.

S: Speaking of Torrent again, would you want to release Paanch still as many have already seen it?
A: I want to release it just for sake of Kay Kay Menon and his performance that the world needs to see. That one performance. I liked his performance the most… the title sequence. Vijay Mourya. I also hate many things about it. Like the last 15 minutes.

S: Why?
A: Too clever. That was a young filmmaker trying to impress everyone.

S: Now you’ve matured?
A: I’ve matured from Paanch but I don’t know if I’ve fully matured or not.

S: Shaitan reviews say that it is much similar to Paanch…
A: Its unintentional. It is Bijoy’s film. He has not seen Paanch. I was the only one who was aware of the similarities but I didn’t tell anyone.

S: How is it possible that Bijoy has not seen that film?
A: It is so. I didn’t want to tell him the similarities as this was his first film and I didn’t want to discourage him by saying that his film is more like Paanch. Today, whatever the similarity is, the reality is there is a new filmmaker and he is good. What matters is everybody is loving it.

S: You’re sure that he’s not seen Paanch?
A: Yes. He has not seen Paanch.

S: You are a troublesome filmmaker for censor board.
A: No. I used to be. We have a great relationship. (laughs)

S: Gangs of Wasseypur controversial topic again… what are you expecting for that?
A: Why do you say so? It’s all about Wasseypur and coal mines is just part of it. I don’t expect anything. I just want to make a film and finish it. It should work for me when released. Watch it when it comes. I don’t want to make box office records. That is for my brother. He’ll break it.

S: What target do you have for a film making, if any.
A: Yes. Eight months of post production. Three to four months of shooting as Black Friday and Dev D took longer. So one-two months of shooting.

S: You have written a whole different genre of scripts…
A: Every aspect of filmmaking I know what to do. I don’t switch to restaurant or textile business. I do all about films only.

S: Are you multitasking?
A: Yes I am. I write in the morning. Then come for post productions. Do a half hour meeting everyday. Am doing three things a day.

S: And watch movies daily?
A: Yes. It depends on how much time I have.

S: That Girl in Yellow Boots sounds rather girly and unlike you. Is it?
A: It’s a very non-girly film. It is the darkest and disturbing film I’ve ever made. It is a film about a girl searching for her father in India. She wears yellow boots all the time. The idea is how a rumour starts about somebody, when we do character assassination: do you know what does that girl do? She wears yellow boots. It’s about a girl who gets a reputation. See when it releases in September.

S: Continue making real-life movies?
A: No no. I will make fictional movies too. I want to make a romantic comedy someday.

S:  How soon?
A: I don’t know. It’ll take two-three years atleast.

S: What do you think about films getting delayed?
A: They do at times because of inefficiency. Sometimes it is the demand of the market and doesn’t work. Sometimes it is deliberate. Like we are delaying That Girl in Yellow Boots deliberately as we are selling it to international market first. People think my films don’t work outside India so they don’t release outside India. So this time I’ve decided to sell it myself and see

S: Is it working?
A: I don’t know yet. I cannot play the prediction game as otherwise I won’t be able make the movies I want to make. According to other people every film of mine is a flop.

S: At the end of the day what bothers you in filmmaking?
A: The way people in India worship heroes. And they want to see heroes out of everything. They don’t want to see anything else. For them it is only entertainment. For me its more than that.

Anurag shows Sargam clip of Gangs of Wasseypur
A: This is the strangest chase in the film. Chase in a traffic jam. Too many cameras. This was over nine days in second unit. It is a real pain.

S: How did you manage?
A: Too many cameras. It’s very important that you think about these things. The songs too are commendable.  Small town gunda romantic character. Style.

Anurag next plays a classic unedited track from the same film… Kala re, piya kala re. Tan kala re. Man kala re. Kali jaban ki kaali gaali. Kale di kali shaamein. Saiyan karte ji coal bajari

S: The music is so rustic.
A: The song should be raw na. It is simple. For a simple story. No lip syncing as it is silly for singing in suddenly. Someone breaking in Kishore Kumar’s voice. Which is why the character singing is a professional singer.

S: Politics is a very integral part of your films.
A: I am very political. The very way things are happening. I like the country to be alright!

S: How did you meet Kalki?
A: On the shoot, after she was finalised. Things happened after that. It was hate at first site because she was too much like a model and I don’t like models. But it happened slowly over period of time. Things like that don’t happen so fast.

Cut! Wrap up!

Copyright@ India Currents Magazine

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