Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap is the man behind some of the most critically acclaimed films and shows our country had produced over the years. On the occasion of his birthay, we've revisited our conversations with him from the past and curated some intriguing and lesser known insights about his artistry and life.
On his filmmaking
I think professionally my filmmaking has evolved in a way that my cinema and technique has lost all its gimmick. I don’t try to impress anyone or show off, I just shoot. I make the characters more honest in the moment. I think that is evolution enough. I’m not dependant on any equipments. My filmmaking has become about people who inhabit the film, characters that inhabit the film. All the deliberate ‘fuck yous’ have kind of gone way, slowly. Personally, how I have evolved is I have become very detached over the years. Very detached from expectations, from awards, from the race of box office and also from people in the industry. I do not enjoy talking to media at all. I am talking to you because I know you and because you know me. I hate interviews.
People know what they need to know and for that they don’t need to know me. If I could I would change my face and change my name and go out and do something. Make films. Do something worthwhile. Work. Other things are a waste of time. Lot of people want to interview you, want to know you. I don’t want to waste my time allowing the world to know me. I want to go out and create things. I would rather the world knows me by my work. It doesn’t matter how they interpret me, they can see me whichever way they like. I don’t think anyone can handle the real me not because I’m a monster. I don’t think they can handle the real me because they expect me to be a monster but I’m not. I don’t know what I am but I’m not what everybody thinks I am. The real me will shock them.
On Web vs. the Big Screen
The exciting thing about the web is you tell the story in its own time. It allows you to spend more time with the characters - tell the back stories, how their lives move. Its like writing a novel. Its beautiful that way. Web is becoming very different because the intimate films are moving to the web. You have to get them curious first, then keep them intrigued, then get them invested and satisfy in the end. That’s how a series has to be done. You have to work hard to keep them watching for a longer period of time.
Cinema has now become an arena, a colosseum. There is space only for the event films. You have these very high concept ideas that you can’t do on the web. There is no point seeing the world getting destroyed on the web. Its not big enough; that you want to see on an IMAX screen. Its the size of destruction that decides where it fits well. If the destruction is extremely personal, I would suggest move it to the web. Let people break their hearts alone in their rooms watching it. If you destroy New York City, it fits the big screen.
On working with Vikramdita Motwane.
It has been like always - we don’t step on each other’s toes. He does his own thing and I do my own thing. Even when we wrote Sacred Games together we wrote it like this. He wrote his draft, gave it to me. I rewrote on it without consulting him. I’d give it back to him and he would do whatever he want wanted to do and he would not call me. We’re not allowed to call each other because we can kill each other. We work with each other by not stepping on each other’s toes. I love working with him.
On his Creative Process.
I don’t know what is my creative process. I’m very spontaneous, I get obsessed with things. Whatever is happening in my life at that given time and moment changes the material I’m working with. I think it has always happened that way. So many people write to me telling about their life stories. Certain ideas inspire me. Incidents I read about in the newspapers inspire me. Sometimes the possibility to explore an actor inspires me Nawazuddin used to inspire me a lot. Possibilities of what I could do with actors Nawazuddin and Radhika used to inspire me a lot.
Nawaz is magical, he’s like clay. He gives me a lot of trust like nobody else gives me. He’s the most beautiful actor I’ve worked with. Him, Radhika(Apte), Shobhita(Dhulipala), Vicky(Kaushal). Vicky gave me a hell lot of trust while shooting Manmarziyaan, he just let go totally. Even Abhishek(Bachchan). I want actors to trust me. Taapsee(Pannu) was so amazing. 3-4 times me and Taapsee got into a fight. She went ahead with what I was saying but we fought. That’s also because she has a very strong mind of her own; because she gave me so much she was in the film. But Nawaz gives something else. He has zero insecurity. He doesn’t even worry about what I am doing might even destroy his career. He’ll still agree to do what I will tell him to do. That’s why I care so much and that’s why I can do magic with him.
On the film industry
The biggest challenge in the film industry today is to get respect - of people, of the government. They are conditioned to treat the film industry like it can be used and misused for various kind of games and advertisements. But when it comes to giving them their rights - ah! fuck them, they don’t deserve their rights. Our revenues are not to that level that we become serious business with the government. Our laws have not changed for years. Our laws about entertainment have not changed. They destroyed so many things, it’s painful. Those things have to be addressed.
Behind the scenes
Nawaz is scared of cold water and for a shot he had to swim in the ocean which was at seven degrees. So I had to tell him the water is warm by being in it myself. I carried him on my shoulder so as to make sure he doesn’t touch the water to find out it’s cold, and then I dropped him in it and asked him to swim back to the blanket. And shot as he swam back.
A Lesson from the past
Well, never be afraid. One thing I’ve learned in this industry after all these years is no one knows anything. Everybody is gambling. All people are selfish. Being selfish is when you protect the integrity of something you know and see more clearly than the others. If you’re not selfish, you won’t make it look like how you envisioned it. I wanted to do things a certain away. The industry worked another way. I had to create my own world which I had to take responsibility for which I took. But I also felt that people will grow and will find their own ground and they’ll build themselves. Afraction of them were able to do that. Rest everybody stayed dependant on me. If you know what you want to do and you’re confident - you should just go out and attempt it. Making films doesn’t need so much money. Its an expensive art form but it doesn’t need so much money. If you’ve got a camera, you can make a film. Beg, borrow, steal.