Anurag Kashyap flew to Patna yesterday to unveil a song from his two-part film Gangs of Wasseypur, that revolves around the coal mafia in Dhanbad, Jharkhand. ‘Jiya ho Bihar ke lala, jiya ho hazaar sala’ are the opening lines of a folk song played at every ‘natuanki’ in the villages of Bihar and it is Anurag’s tribute to the state in its centenary year.
“In the last 100 years, Bihar has become infamous for crime, but all the top IAS and IPS officers and intellectuals have come from there,” reasons Anurag, describing ‘Bihar ka lala…’ as a song by a father about the dreams he has for his child.He admits that the father figure could be CM Nitish Kumar who has put Bihar on the path to progress.
“I’m impressed how the infrastructure has improved since 2010. My film ends in 2004-’05, before Nitishji became CM so this father could be any ordinary man struggling to do something extraordinary,” he points out.
The song encompasses the childhood of any child growing up in North India before the days of TV and also the state it is rooted in: “My film has 25 item songs and they’ve all come out of the Bihar soil with folk tunes being contemporarised and rendered by local singers. One of the songs in Part 2 charts 60 years of Bihar’s history, with references to Jayprakash Narain and Lok Janashkati.”
Varun Grover, the lyricist, is a Punjabi from Banaras Hindu University who understands the lingo of UP-Bihar. And composer Sneha Khanwalkar is a Maharshtrian who’s grown up in Indore. Touching on Navnirman Sena leader Raj Thackeray’s recent antipathy towards UPites and Biharis in Maharashtra, Anurag argues that Raj is only taking a leaf out of Shiv Sena’s ‘Lungi uthao pungi bajao’ campaign in the ‘60s.
“Despite politicising the issue, Mumbai remains a cosmopolitan city, drawing people from across India, and so does our film industry. People from different states have contributed to make this film.” The five-hour, 20 minute film will be released in two parts in India, but in Europe it will be screened in one go: “Gangs of Wasseypur will show the world an India they have never seen before,” Anurag promises.