Film-maker Anurag Kashyap is undoubtedly one of most prominent faces of offbeat cinema in the country. But the maker of Black Friday (2004) and Gangs of Wasseypur (2012) didn't have major box-office collection with his latest film, Ugly (2014). After making rounds at several international festivals, the critically acclaimed film failed to take in the money. Anurag claims that the masses have a preconceived notion about content-based, independent films that travel to film festivals. And for the propagation of this perception, he blames the trade.
“I think people have an extremely wrong perception about film festivals. They consider movies selected for festivals, boring. The general belief is that these films are highly artistic and make the audience fall asleep. But they are not sleeping pills. In fact, they are engaging movies,” says Anurag.
He complains that such an impression is created by the exhibitors and trade analysts. “When a movie, which has travelled to festivals, gets a theatrical release, they (trade) call it a ‘festival film’. So the perception is not of the audience. The image is created by the exhibitors and people in the middle, and is propagated largely by the trade,” says Anurag, adding that such films do not even get the screens they deserve.
“They (exhibitors) decide not to screen it out of fear that it might not get anaudience. Theatres onlyfollow stars. Some small films find ways only if there isa strong word-of-mouth publicity,” he says.
However, Anurag hopes that the scenario will change in the coming years. “The youth wants to watch good films and they will change the trade’s perception. If you don't screen content driven films, then people will stop trusting the trade,” he says.
The film-maker, on the other hand, promises to continue making small budget, but content-driven films. He admits that they provide him the “breathing space” and help “reinvent himself”. Post the release of his next, starring Ranbir Kapoor, he will start working on another such project.