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Anurag Kashyap: My problem is when people decide for you. We treat people like children

In a freewheeling discussion on a range of topics, from censorship to film certification to the caste system in our films, director Anurag Kashyap had his audience spellbound at the Jaipur Literature Festival.

JaipurLitFest Updated: Jan 26, 2018 17:15 IST
Samreen Tungekar
Samreen Tungekar
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
Anurag Kashyap,Gangs of Wasseypur,Mukkabaaz
“We can try to run from it as much as we want, but the caste system exists in India. It existed when I was growing up, and it still exists,” said filmmaker Anurag Kashyap during a session titled The Hit Man: Anurag Kashyap at the Jaipur Literature Festival on Friday. (Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)

Anurag Kashyap’s films have always been hard-hitting and the director’s strong opinions have often caused a stir on social media. But Kashyap credits Shekhar Kapur for his own strength to fight the system through cinema. “There are some people who play a very important role. If Bandit Queen hadn’t been made, we wouldn’t have this kind of thought process to make films,” said Kashyap who spoke about his problems with censorship.

For Jaipur Literature Festival full coverage, click here

“My biggest problem is when people decide for you. We treat people like children, and in that process, we destroy individuality. Like the (A) certification in cinema. According to me, an adult is someone who can decide for himself. But we make it about age. I don’t fear people who keep changing their minds, I fear people who are certain that they know everything,” said Kashyap who first became famous for writing Satya.

Not many know that the film’s story was changed on the third day of the shoot, when producer Gulshan Kumar was shot dead. Or that Ram Gopal Verma who directed Satya had a cook named ‘Bhiku’, after whom Manoj Bajpai’s forceful character in the film was named. In an era of Rahuls and Rajs, Bhiku stood out because his name conveyed the grey area from which he emerged.

Kashyap has always been interested in greys. “My issue was the neutrality of characters that we had in Hindi cinema. Everything was so black and white. The hero would have name, no surname, and no background. In a country like ours, that’s relevant information. When you know where a character comes from, the story changes,” he said.

Kashyap was in conversation with Vani Tripathi Tikoo. (Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)

Kashyap always attempts to be rooted. At first, though, it wasn’t easy to make films that depicted India’s vast complexity. “I was fighting a system that said that you need stars to make a film. I decided to make a film with beginners that had content over star value when I put together Paanch. The film that never got a theatrical release,” he said.

Today, after the success of films like Gangs Of Wasseypur, made with a little known cast, those troubles seem remote. Kashyap’s recent Mukkabaaz tackles multiple themes including how the system kills talent in India. “We live in a country where, when Sindhu wins the medal, we start playing badminton. We don’t know her history before her big win. I know so many sportsmen who quit sports because there’s no support,” he said.

Watch : Anuragkashyap in conversation with Vina Tikoo at JLF 2018

Kashyap’s latest film also breaks new ground in terms of how frankly it deals with an overarching aspect of everyday Indian life – the caste system. “We can try to run from it as much as we want, but the caste system exists in India. It existed when I was growing up, and it still exists. The elements that go around with the caste system need to be addressed,” he said.

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First Published: Jan 26, 2018 17:14 IST