Most actors and filmmakers in Bollywood are guarded and politically correct. Anurag Kashyap however, stands out because he often demands the audiences’ instant attention with his daring statements.
During his censorship row with the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) for Udta Punjab, he took a dig at the board’s chief Pahlaj Nihalani with a tweet, in which he referred to the latter as “a dictatorial man operating like an oligarch (sic).”
In a recent interview, he also spoke about how actors like Shah Rukh Khan and Akshay Kumar are “overpaid”. Anurag continues his candid stint with HT Café as well, as he talks about the dark content in his films, his fight against censorship, and more.
Most of your films are dark and intense. Does this sort of film-making come from a dark space within you? There’s no dark space within me. I borrow from experiences around me. Some people don’t [do that]. That’s their choice. But I put these observations in my films. I like to make people feel uncomfortable.
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Why do you like to make audiences feel uncomfortable?
Because we (Indian society) are in a state in which we don’t have a voice. We have brought ourselves here. We have been conditioned, handed kids’ gloves, and we are treated like children. We have become children now. We believe that anything that makes us feel uncomfortable is bad for us. But one needs to see uncomfortable things. Only then will we be able to react [to situations].
You are one of the few filmmakers who has the guts to fight the CBFC.
Doing that doesn’t need guts. It requires you to have knowledge of the truth. If you know your truth, you don’t need guts to fight it out.
Are you a taskmaster when it comes to directing your actors?
I demand time from my actors, and I like to exhaust them. But, at the same time, I also like to make things easy for them. They have a ball with me. I worked with an Anushka (Sharma) and Ranbir (Kapoor) the same way I would work with Nawazuddin (Siddiqui).
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