Anurag Kashyap: 'Such a sad thing that people don’t see beyond Sunny Leone's past'

May 28, 2023 03:15 PM IST

Anurag Kashyap recalls how Sunny Leone held her own, when an interviewer was trying to shame her for being part of the adult entertainment industry.

Sitting on the fourth floor of the Palais des Festivals, the main venue of the Cannes Film Festival Anurag Kashyap is a relieved man. His film Kennedy premiered as part of the Midnight Screenings section at the 76th Cannes Film Festival. “It is the first time in my life that my film was screened at the prestigious Grand Theatre Lumiere, which is a dream for any filmmaker," he said still beaming. Also read: Sunny Leone gets emotional talking about her Cannes debut

Anurag Kashyap with Sunny Leone and Rahul Bhat at Kennedy's premiere at Cannes 2023.
Anurag Kashyap with Sunny Leone and Rahul Bhat at Kennedy's premiere at Cannes 2023.

Bumping into Anurag Kashyap at the various film screenings at Cannes has becoming a regular affair. He watches films with as much passion as he likes to tell his own stories. So what does he expect now from his own movies? “I just hope whatever I am intending to say and I put into the film that gets conveyed to the audience," the filmmaker said.

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On The Kerala Story

Anurag Kashyap is known to always speak his mind but for sometime now, we are seeing a calmer version. His tweets might have become mild, but the films continue to be political. He is quick to respond, “Frankly you can’t escape politics in today’s day and age. It’s very hard for cinema to be non-political. A lot of films that we call propaganda films like The Kerala Story are being made. I’m totally against banning anything but it is a propaganda film. That’s political. I don’t want to make a film that sounds like counter-propaganda. “

He further elaborates, “As a filmmaker I don’t want to sound like an activist. I’m making cinema. Cinema has to be based on reality and truth and the politics of it comes from the politics of the world it is based on and the truths and facts of the world it is based on."

So does he feel he can make the films that he wants to given the socio-political climate of the country? “If you are honest you can. They can't shut down anything that’s factual and not taking sides. Counter-propaganda can also be dishonest, but honest they can’t fight it," he said.

On Rahul Bhat

As our conversation moves to Kennedy, the film that got him to Cannes this year, Anurag can't stop praising his leads. How does he manage to always bring out the best in Rahul Bhat?

“They don’t give him (Rahul Bhat) enough of a chance. He is a very dedicated person. Since he is playing the role of a deadly assassin in the film, I wanted him to be smooth with the knife and gun. He practiced for months just so he looks convincing handling the gun." Anurag said.

Calls Sunny Leone special

As for Sunny Leone, Anurag Kashyap says he always knew that she would be perfect for the role. “We staged an audition just to see if she (Sunny) will show up to do a small budget film like ours,” he said. Anurag recalls seeing her in a TV interview couple of years ago, where she managed to hold her own, while the interviewer was trying to shame her for being part of the adult entertainment industry.

“The way she gave it back to him I knew she was special. Also, I see her as a mom. What an incredible mother she is. It is such a sad thing that people don’t see beyond her past and beyond her face and body. Look into her eyes. There is so much more you will see in her," Anurag said.

Finally as we wrap up our chat I ask him if he ever feels burdened by all the expectations that people have from him. What is the one thing he hates about being Anurag Kashyap? Pat comes the reply , “Wasseypur (Gangs of Wasseypur)! No matter what film I make people expect it to be Gangs of Wasseypur. I am not going to keep catering to your expectations of making Gangs of Wasseypur. That’s done.”

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