First heard of as the co-writer of Satya, he went on to write more, gravitated towards film direction only to land himself in a hot soup of sort: Paanch still has to reach the ‘plexes. Allwyn Kalicharan was junked. Gulal produced by Jhamu Sugandh was stymied mid-production.
Okay, most movie trackers know that, and they also know that his Black Friday – banned – is at long last up for release tomorrow.
Over to Anurag Kashyap..
Any pre-release jitters?
I’m just waiting for it to release finally I’m . hoping nothing goes wrong at the last minute again. I’m keeping my fingers crossed, praying that I will now have something to show, that I have it in me to make a film. Friends and others from the industry who , have seen Black Friday and Paanch, have appreciated them. But at the end of the day, a director makes film for the audience.. and certainly not my drawing room.
When you’re stonewalled, what happens? Do you get emotionally detached from your films?
I’m very emotional and possessive about all my films.
Do you feel strongly about your subjects the way you did when you started on them?
In the case of Black Friday, I started out to make a documentary which would be true to the book is based on. The idea was to reach the truth behind the bomb blasts.The accused felt it would influence the judgment against them, they appealed for a stay on the film’s release. I’m sure many must have seen the film already on pirated VCDs, they know it is not judgmental at all.
Do you feel vindicated today?
Yes. It’s not essential that the audience should react strongly to the film..even if the leave the show in silence, I’ll be happy that the film has made an impact, that it has connected to them.
There are references to Mr L K Advani and Mr Balasaheb Thackeray. Do you anticipate any trouble?
There are references to several people. I don’t think there should be any problem. Their names come up only when a character talks about them.
You’ve been around for over 10 years now. Has it been difficult?
I’ve faced very difficult times. The going still isn’t easy for me. I had to wait eight years before the script of No Smoking could be made into a film. I’m glad to have producers like Vishal Bharadwaj and Kumar Mangat backing this kind of a subject.
Shouldn’t you be making more commercial cinema?
What makes you think Black Friday isn’t commercial? Paanch and No Smoking also have all the commercial ingredients.
You’ve often been much too frank and brusque. Why?
If I’m asked for an opinion, I give an honest one. I can’t be politically correct. It has taken a lot out of me to be cynical, to speak my mind against the system.
How come a pucca commercial film producer like Kumar Mangat is backing No Smoking?
Kumar Mangat enjoyed making Omkara, which may not appear to be a commercial subject initially But he enjoyed making it . and he’s enjoying making No Smoking too.
Why haven’t you given up smoking?
By making a film called No Smoking, I’m doing a service to society. (Laughs) So I should be allowed to continue smoking.
The final shape of Mani Ratnam’s Guru wasn’t what you wrote originally. Did you feel let down?
There was no cause to feel let down. Mani gave me the option of making changes in the story but I was going to Los Angeles. I had issues with the changes actually.. because the story I’d written was about man’s rise to fame and glory It didn’t have . much scope for a love story, something which Mani incorporated to a large extent.
You mean the original Guru story was entirely about the rise of Dhirbhai Ambani?
I’m not in a position to comment on that. But yes, the story I’d written was more about the man and his journey from being a villager to an achiever. I don’t have any issues with Mani, he’s a brilliant filmmaker, he’s entitled to make his film according to his vision.
Will Paanch ever see the light of day?
Things are being worked out. I’ll have at least three releases this year.. Black Friday, Paanch and No Smoking.
And what’s the take on Gulal?
It’s being revived, Shomu Ganguly from Kolkata is backing it now.
Have you changed through the years in showbiz?
I’ve become a lot more tolerant, I think before I talk. I can take a lot now. I don’t get as angry as I used to. Whenever I do, I channelise may anger into my work.
What else is happening on the work front?
I’ve written Shunya and The Pool. I’ve done the dialogues for Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd, Chaar Rasta and Shakalaka Boom Boom. Hopefully I should get more films to direct now.
Lastly, there’s the buzz that you’ve changed so much that you’re splitting from your wife Aarti?
(Coolly) Nothing like that. There’s no problem in my marriage at all. Aarti and I are fine together.. thank you.