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Kashyap's persistence pays off!

Black Friday is the first Hindi film to present the Mumbai blast facts in a no-holds-barred manner, writes Arnab Banerjee.

india Updated: Feb 16, 2007 15:31 IST

He isn't the usual Bollywood's mainstream man that one is so used to seeing. But you'd never believe that this man – seemingly happy-go-lucky, the archetypical cool-dude and casual- is controversial. And that too in many ways.

He is known to rub people the wrong way, wears his heart on his sleeve (which must be too much to put up with for some) and openly declares war against the industry's Big Daddys.

We are referring to Anurag Kashyap, the man who wears many hats – that of a writer, scriptwriter, dialogues, screenplay writer, consultant, translator, director and hold your breath - actor too, albeit in bit roles.

That's quite a mouthful, you'd agree. But then there are creative minds who walk that extra mile to live their dreams, leave nothing to chance and work hard against all odds and are also patience personified. The last bit perhaps sums up Kashyap the best.

Last week, after almost a 10-year struggle, Kashyap hit the marquee with his first directorial film getting a proper theatrical release - Black Friday.

Not that he has been striving to find a place. As a writer he has Satya and Kaun to his credit while getting his talent as a dialogue writer noted for Shool and Jung and Deepa Mehta's Water too.

He passes off as someone who has just partied all night and possibly day before, and is recovering from a hangover. It's only when one scratches the surface that the pleasant smile, thoughtful nuggets and a zest for cinema get revealed. His infectious smile notwithstanding there is something that irks him. And visibly so. Perhaps his being a perceptively insightful human has got something to do with it.

What makes him rather peeved is the Indian Censor board's complete apathy to his first directorial venture Paanch which has done the rounds of several film festivals abroad but is yet to be released in India.

The film ran into trouble with the Censors as the five convicted found themselves freed. "The film has been bought by the Sahara group and I am hoping they release the film soon, before it loses its relevance and also starts looking dated," laughs Kashyap.

But with many court cases later, he is most happy about Black Friday getting released. "It must be the most watched unreleased film in India what with pirated copies of its DVD getting freely available in any part of the country, he cracks a joke at his own expense.

"All I can say is that when people ask me how I came to be associated with a subject of a film based on the book written by S Hussein Zaidi, I tell them it wasn't I who chose the book, but the book (or the subject) that chose me," he smiles.

The film based on the 1993 Mumbai blasts is one of the first Hindi films that took the trouble to research thoroughly and present an unbiased view of the raging controversy between the two communal groups – Hindus and Muslims.

"We have made sure we study the photographs and documentaries and not merely make a documentary where only destroyed buildings and personal losses of the masses are shown. I wanted the pain to come through for my audience to feel what such a tragedy of such magnitude could do to disrupt peace and harmony the repercussions of which perhaps will remain forever," he shares.

There isn't any way one could remain seated without the uncanny feeling of rage, helplessness and the frivolity of massacred lives and the ultimate aim of the human race eroding one's mind throughout the 2 hour 20 minute length of the film.

What goes in the film's favor is the assemblage of all those men who are responsible for such heinous crimes and conspiracy against the State get caught up in their own web and no one is singled out – the conspirators, the victims and the large network of police go hand in hand in equal measure.

The 'Black' men on the fateful 'Black Friday (when the 12 blasts took place in Mumbai) are undoubtedly the ones who believe in institutionalized discrimination and terrorist killings who wiped out more than 300 lives.

The nonlinear structure of the film explains and justifies many acts like the origins of the bombers' alienation and is passionate throughout, not once making judgmental claims or being irresponsible.

To all those who look for moving thrillers to while away time, this film is a work of angry humanism that condemns and yet empathizes quite fairly, and might not be the escapist fare that they look for.

A far cry from the Mumbai's glam circuit high falutin pompous Mr Know alls, Kashyap deserves all the kudos coming his way.

He does the media round with élan answering patiently all their queries as he gets geared up to 'struggle' to get Paanch released.

And disagrees for the nth time not to bend before the financiers promising to back him for his next Gulal. Howzzat then for this Week's Star?

First Published: Feb 13, 2007 04:00 IST