Wednesday, February 28, 2007

'Black Friday' to hit big screens

'Black Friday' to hit big screens
The much-awaited Bollywood movie 'Black Friday' based on 1993 Mumbai serial blasts is all set to hit the big screen across the country today after controversies and court cases delayed it by two years.

The 13-year-old trial which ended last September paved the way for the screening of Director Anurag Kashyap's 'Black Friday', that was premiered in New Delhi on Wednesday evening.

Talking about the controversies that delayed the release of the film, Kashyap said "Controversy has been created by people who sometimes saw this as a platform to hog limelight. I think the accused had a point that it could prejudice the judgement. I thought I was also correct."

Produced by Arindam Mitra, the film features Kay Kay Menon, Pavan Melhotra and Aditya Srivastava playing Inspector Rakesh Maria, prime accused Tiger Menon and police informer 'Badshah Khan' respectively.

The movie is based on a book of S Hussein Zaidi titled 'Black Friday' and uses real names and places.

MOVIE: REVIEW Black Friday

Black Friday
An audacious, daring and explosive piece of cinema. Watch the film and listen to the soundtrack.

Namrata Joshi

Starring: Kay Kay, Aditya Srivastava, Pavan Malhotra
Directed by Anurag Kashyap
Rating: ****

After watching the first cut of Black Friday in May ’04 I wrote in Outlook that with this film, Anurag Kashyap is likely to find himself in the centre of an ideological divide. I see that happening now. Rightists are peeved with the ‘humanisation’ and ‘de-demonisation’ of the terrorists, while the Leftists argue the revenge and conspiracy in the film might alienate the Muslim community further.

Three years later, with these ‘subversion’ theories playing at the back of my mind, I still find Black Friday an audacious, daring and explosive piece of cinema. Based on S. Hussain Zaidi’s book on the 12 bombs that tore Bombay apart on March 9, ’93, the film mixes dramatic recreation with documentary footage, uses a fractured narrative—a cinematic jigsaw puzzle of sorts—to recreate the horrifying happenings. Even while it unfolds like a thriller, it does not fictionalise places and events, doesn’t mask the real people by giving them assumed identities—the reason it can get doubly disturbing.

Kashyap is bang on in linking the bombings back to the Babri Masjid demolition and the riots thereafter. He does make a case for Mahatma Gandhi’s statement: an eye for an eye will make the whole world blind. And the most hard-hitting line in the film is the indictment of a divisive religion: "dharm ke naam par ch***** ban rahe ho".

The second half does get too stretched. But my only serious issue with the film is the portrayal of the cop Rakesh Maria (Kay Kay). Kashyap doesn’t fight shy of showing the barbaric human rights violation at the cop station but still tries to justify and make a hero of Maria. However, for me it’s Aditya Srivastava (seen in the TV serial CID) as Memon’s frustrated, on-the-run, and later repentant henchman Badshah Khan who is the real hero. Srivastava is brilliant as the misled man, especially in the riveting sequence titled ‘On the Run’. Khan keeps moving from Delhi to Jaipur to Rampur waiting for Memon to call him over to Dubai, an escape that never happens. His plight and frustrations get magnified by Indian Ocean’s superb folksy Indi Rock score, Bhaga Re: Jung ka rang sunehra samjha, lekin baad mein gehra samjha, jung ka rang tha kala re. Watch the film and listen to the soundtrack.

Absolutely heart hitting » Infotainment » Cinema » Story

Absolutely heart hitting

Khlaid Mohamed

Mumbai, February 9, 2007

Black Friday
Cast: Kay Kay, Pawan Malhotra, Aditya Srivastav
Direction: Anurag Kashyap
Rating: ****

It rocks because it’s real -- a shock reminder of the fanaticism that ripped the city apart by its roots. Although much is said about Mumbai’s survival spirit, there is little doubt that besides the staggering body count, a part of everyone died during those unimaginable days.

Anurag Kashyap’s Black Friday re-opens the wounds of the ’93 serial bomb blasts. The outcome is a Samson-hard blow on anyone’s face who has forgotten the tragedy in the city of Eastman colour dreams.

But artistically and politically, Kashyap fills in a deep void.
How the hell did he do it? Defiantly uncompromising, writer-director Kashyap has fired a salvo at the gutless powers-that-were who just laughed all the way to their cushy homes to watch the carnage on TV. And it also slams the perpetrators of the shameful blasts, looking at them with the stealth of a compassionate reporter – look, this is what they did.

The docu-drama structure is so skillfully employed that you’re gripped. Even if there’s a somewhat staple scene, like a blast suspect being chased through the meanest streets, it’s superbly enacted and shot. If the out-of-wind cop requests the criminal, “Slow down yaar,” that moment is as believable as the police force’s use of bestial brutality.

In fact, the ‘human’ asides like the hungry investigating officer pinching a banana from a suspect’s fridge is entirely plausible. Ditto the cold reality of the D-gang shivering in their pants during the heinous bomb-blast operations and the impotence of some of them on being denied visas to an El Dorado in Dubai.

The absence of a plot with a beginning-middle-and-end is a brave gambit. What could have become a banal thriller is an in-depth inquiry – recreating the various blasts from the Share Market to the Juhu Centaur and blending that with multi-media archival footage. Commercially this is dicey. But artistically and politically, Kashyap fills in a deep void.

Obviously, he is no stranger to dynamite stick cinema like Gillo Pontecorvo’s Battle of Algiers (1966), Fernando Solas’ Hour of the Furnaces (1968) and Costa-Gavras’ Z (1969). Not surprisingly, his camera swoops vulture-like into the smoking debris and wings off to hide-outs in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and the Middle East. Maximum authenticity is obtained from what seems like a bootstring budget.

From the first frame, the all-too-real drama is on. A tortured prisoner cries that a deadly blast operation is being planned. The warning’s ignored by the cops; Mumbai blows up. Slivers of clues point to Tiger Memon and his cohorts. A hide-and-seek game commences which hasn’t ended to this day

As much as could be told and more has been articulated by Kashyap, explaining the film’s two-year freeze. That it’s finally before you – to agree or disagree with – is a triumph of freedom of expression, delayed but not denied completely. Of late, Mr and Mrs Iyer, Amu and Parzania have been eloquent pleas for communal harmony. This infinitely more raw and rough effort also belongs to the must-witness-and-value category.

On the techfront, S Natarajan Subramaniam’s photography (never mind the excessive red filter prison scenes) and Aarti Bajaj’s editing chops are first-rate. The near three-hour length and repetition of docu-material could have been avoided..but well to each his own.

Kashyap’s direction is unbelievably mature and searching. If you have any arguments, it’s about the sketchy quality of some of the characters. Kay Kay Menon as the investigating police officer is first-rate -- but pray why dunk him in a mini-bath whenever he feels oh-so-horrible? Pawan Malhotra’s Tiger Memon is passable. The most impressively nuanced performance comes from Aditya Srivastav as Badshah Khan, a criminal confronted with a no-exit.

So there it is, the heart-rending Black Friday--compulsory viewing any day of the week.

Controversial "Black Friday" Withdrawn from Patna Film Festival

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Controversial "Black Friday" Withdrawn from Patna Film Festival
Patna: Feb. 10, 2007

Patna Film Festival

Image 1Image 2Image 3Image 4Image 5

Photo by Shashi Uttam

The organizers of the 2nd film festival in Patna, on Friday, took a last minute decision not to show Anurag Kashyap's "Black Friday" that is said to be based on 1993 Mumbai riots and instead kicked off the festivity by screening Madhur Bhandarkar's critically acclaimed "Traffic Signal".

"Some of the imagery in Black Friday could be too disturbing to some people and after reviewing the film, we have decided to not screen this film despite its immense artistic appeal," an official associated with the event said on Saturday.

Though completed in 2004, Kashyap's film was having tough time being released because a few accused in the Mumbai blast case had argued the film could severely affect their shot at a free and fair trial. Now that the court has pronounced its judgment, the film has finally been given the green signal to be released nationwide.

Bihar Information and Public Relations Minister Arjun Rai, however, denied the film was pulled out of the festival on any political ground. "The film was in a bad shape with too many cuts and scratches forcing us to withdraw it from the festival since we did not have a second print for screening," Rai said.

Controversial "Black Friday" Withdrawn from Patna Film Festival

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Controversial "Black Friday" Withdrawn from Patna Film Festival
Patna: Feb. 10, 2007

Patna Film Festival

Image 1Image 2Image 3Image 4Image 5

Photo by Shashi Uttam

The organizers of the 2nd film festival in Patna, on Friday, took a last minute decision not to show Anurag Kashyap's "Black Friday" that is said to be based on 1993 Mumbai riots and instead kicked off the festivity by screening Madhur Bhandarkar's critically acclaimed "Traffic Signal".

"Some of the imagery in Black Friday could be too disturbing to some people and after reviewing the film, we have decided to not screen this film despite its immense artistic appeal," an official associated with the event said on Saturday.

Though completed in 2004, Kashyap's film was having tough time being released because a few accused in the Mumbai blast case had argued the film could severely affect their shot at a free and fair trial. Now that the court has pronounced its judgment, the film has finally been given the green signal to be released nationwide.

Bihar Information and Public Relations Minister Arjun Rai, however, denied the film was pulled out of the festival on any political ground. "The film was in a bad shape with too many cuts and scratches forcing us to withdraw it from the festival since we did not have a second print for screening," Rai said.

Black Friday to be released on Feb 9

Black Friday to be released on Feb 9

Posted at Wednesday, 07 February 2007 10:02 IST
Mumbai, Feb 7: Director Anurag Kashyap's 'Black Friday', which is based on 1993 Mumbai serial bombings, will be released on February 9, Sahara Samay sources said.

The film's release was stayed due to legal worries that it could influence a 13-year-old trial into the Mumbai serial blasts.

That trial ended in September and an anti-terrorism court found 100 people, mostly Muslims, guilty. Another 23 defendants were acquitted.

Produced by Arindam Mitra, the film features Kay Kay Menon, Pavan Malhotra and Aditya Srivastava playing Inspector Rakesh Maria, Tiger Memon and police informer 'Badshah Khan' respectively.

"As a filmmaker I was compelled to capture this cataclysmic event that changed hundreds of lives," the film's director," Anurag Kashyap said.

"It's a dispassionate anatomy of terror and the police investigations. The camera is always at a distance," he said.

Black Friday, which opens in India on Feb 9, is based on a book by the same name and uses real names and places - the main reason why its release was delayed in 2005.


Anurag Kashyap seemed jinxed. His films ran into hurdles — till now. The director of Black Friday is now being toasted

You know a man by the colours he keeps. Anurag Kashyap chose black — and the hue reflected the state that he had been in — till yesterday, that is. The unkind once called him Anurag ‘Jinxed’ Kashyap, for his much-hyped films never saw the light of day. They no longer do so. Black Friday, a film that he directed on the March 1993 bomb blasts in Mumbai, has finally been released. And Kashyap, at long last, is in the pink.

It’s been quite a journey for the old student of Hansraj College, Delhi. “I have been very nervous and biting my fingernails all along. But now I am happy and feeling relieved,” he says.

Black Friday got into trouble in 2005. When the film was just about to be released, a stay order was issued against it. And that was not surprising for the controversial director had faced a similar problem with his debut film, Paanch. In what was a rare case of its kind, the censor board ruled against the film, saying that Paanch did not have any positive characters and that its language was too abusive.

The courts finally cleared the film — the story of five wannabe rock stars and their merciless pursuit of success. In the meantime, producer Tutu Sharma and Kashyap fell out, and made up again. And Tejaswini Kolhapure, Sharma’s sister-in-law, waited for her career to take off with what she thought was her debut film. After eight long years, she finally got married earlier this month. Paanch never had its commercial release.

Anybody else would have packed up his director’s chair and left for home. But Kashyap, friends hold, is not the kind to give up a battle. After all, he had even weathered the storm that besets young men when they join the University of Delhi with empty pockets. “I did not have enough pocket money, which was a problem as I couldn’t go out on a date,” he says of his college days.

His friends, however, hold that they knew Kashyap would end up breaking his jinx. “He is a strong guy. He has gone through a lot of turmoil mentally but has been fighting all odds. Anyone else in his place would have crumbled,” says close friend Sanjaay Routray, the executive producer of Paanch.

Clearly, the man who likes his Kafka has already made a name in the Mumbai film industry for his films, which have been shown at private screenings. “From the look of it, Black Friday is a super film,” says director Sudhir Mishra. “Anurag, as a writer and director, always had talent. As a writer, he has brought about several changes and that was no mean achievement. In the years to come, he will prove himself as a director too,” says Mishra.

Kashyap had been doing screenplays for several years before he turned to direction. And though he wrote the dialogues for Deepa Mehta’s Water, he has mostly stuck to his genre: that of black cinema. He wrote the script for Ram Gopal Varma’s Satya and Kaun, the screenplay for E. Niwas’s Shool and wrote Yuva for Mani Ratnam.

“Anurag brought a great deal of flair and language when he wrote Yuva,” says Ratnam. “I do not speak the Hindi language well but Anurag managed to do the right thing by penning the dialogues correctly. I am sure his vision as a director helped him in this,” he says.

Audiences at large may not have seen his film till yesterday, but the industry had pinned its hope on their man from Gorakhpur. Which is why, despite all the hiccups that Kashyap faced professionally, producer Kumar Mangat wanted him to direct his film No Smoking — with John Abraham in the lead. “He is very talented and a great writer,” says Kumar Mangat. “And he will show with No Smoking that he is a great director as well.”

Kashyap, though, would be keeping his fingers crossed, because life as a director has not been an easy one for him. After Paanch got stuck, Anurag got busy with a film called Gulal. The film, shot in the backdrop of Rajasthan and student elections, starred Antara Mali and Jesse Randhawa. But once again the movie got stuck — this time because of financial problems.

And then there was Black Friday, shot in a chilling docu-drama format. When producer Arindam Mitra, who was then with Mid Day, approached Kashyap for writing the screenplay for a tele-documentary based on a book on the 1993 blasts written by Mumbai-based journalist Hussain Zayedi, Kashyap had his reservations about the format. “Why not a movie,” he asked. And then, once he had written and shown his screenplay, it was clear that it would be a film — and that he’d direct it.

And that is the essence of Anurag Kashyap. This, the industry holds, is not a man who believes in beating about the bush. He lays it straight, without any frills or trappings. People who worked with him in Black Friday say that he is passionate about cinema, and knows the pulse of the people, especially the youth. “He is not a stereotypical Hindi film director,” says an associate. “His dialogues are earthy and very real — and a far cry from the Javed Akhtar school of writing”.

Not surprisingly, critics are all praise for the film. “His films are stark and chilling,” says one critic. Yet, even as Kashyap received rave reviews internationally when Black Friday hit the festival circuit, he faced hurdles on the domestic front. The stay on its release came after some of the accused in the blasts argued that the film’s release would hinder their passage of justice while the case was still on. Now, two months after Justice Pramod Kode of the TADA court began delivering his verdict, Black Friday has got its deliverance.

And Kashyap, no doubt, is a happy man. “It’s a great feeling when people like your work,” he says. Or when they get to see the work in the first place.

In Conversation with Anurag Kashyap

In Conversation with Anurag Kashyap
April 23, 2006 @ 9:33 pm · Filed under Bollywood, Superhit Posts · Podcast

Film festivals can be exhausting. They can also be rewarding. Extremely rewarding. I’ve never been to a film festival before. Yesterday was my first. And I realized what I had been missing.

If you are a movie fanatic who’s attended film festivals, you’ll quite surely know what my experience may have been. It’s like stepping in a whole new world. Your world. People around engaged in conversations about movies, movies and movies. You are home. You are at peace. You are free to be you, simply you.

[Anurag Kashyap. He was walking in for the screening of “Paanch”, ran into him at the door, we started chatting, shocked that he reads Desi Train movie reviews… took this pic. This morning I check the pic and realized how awful I look. Cut myself out… I was on the right]

After an aggressive round of documentaries earlier during the day, you walk towards the cafe, for some rest. The first round of Newcastle relaxes you. The place is buzzing with energy, with activity. A bunch of volunteers are sprinkled all over the place. Names of Famous film and theater personalities are making the rounds in the open air cafe. Then theater director Firoz Khan (not to be mixed with Fardeen Khan’s father) walks into the cafe with Sabu Cyril (I may be wrong here).

Its almost time for the event of the day. The screening of Anurag Kashyap’s “Paanch”. His first as a director.

I got to meet Anurag Kashyap while hanging around the aisles of the screening hall. As mentioned in the last post, I mentioned to him that I had awarded him the unluckiest genius in Bollywood, and he shot back asking if I was from Desi Train (I had not mentioned the site name to him as yet). It was fun and well… honestly, an ego booster to know that Kashyap reads the movie reviews and opinions at the Desi Train, courtesy a famous Bollywood actress who introduced him to my blog. Don’t know who that actress is. Whoever you are, if you are reading this, Thank you from the bottom of my heart, for leading Anurag to this blog. (Guys - I can be sensitive too)

We spent a few minutes before the movie and after movie ended, where I got to speak to him one on one. There was also a question answer session after the movie “Paanch”

Following is a mix of Anurag’s interaction with the audience and his one on one discussion with me. I had to leave some stuff out purely because the speed at which I was taking notes made my handwriting fairly illegible.

On the making of Paanch

Paanch was written about 12 years ago, but he could not find anyone to finance the movie. The original version of Paanch, had Kay Kay’s character to be an imaginary one. None of those who read it, actually understood it. Then “Fight Club” (Brad Pitt) was released where Tyler Durden was an imaginary character in the movie. That’s the time when producers grasped what Kay Kay’s character was about.

But now Anurag did not want to make it. It would seem like a copy. (hear hear!!!) So Paanch was rewritten by him.

Now all the producers he went to found the ending very bleak. So Anurag rewrote it again. It took about 4 -5 rewrites before Tutu Sharma (Padmini Kolhapure’s husband and brother is law of Tejaswini Kolhapure who acts in Paanch) decided to back Anurag and produce the movie.

Somewhere around the time before Tutu Sharma picked up Paanch, Ram Gopal Varma was supposed to produce Paanch for Kashyap. On one condition : Write Satya for RGV after which he’ll produce Paanch for Anurag. So Anurag went about writing Satya which was made and released. Unfortunately RGV’s plan to make Paanch after Satya “fizzled out”.

The opening sequences while the titles are played have a jerky, vibrating and an energetic feel. About 4000 to 5000 stills of various parts of Bombay were taken and they were run one after another to achieve the desired effect.

The sets of Paanch were lit up by normal bulbs and tubelights to give it a realistic effect.

On the problems faced while making Paanch

Paanch’s shooting started 7 years after Anurag first wrote the script. But things weren’t smooth even after the shooting started. The financers objected to the bleak and depressing nature of the house where much of the movie was shot in. They objected to the depressing environment, the muriels on the walls, and other things. Flow of cash stopped and the movie shoot had to take a break till fresh flow of finance was turned on.

Then Tutu Sharma, the producer, left Paanch aside, and went on to make other bigger commercial movies. That resulted in more stoppages in shooting Paanch.

In the end, Paach was ready for release in the year 2000.

On songs in Paanch

The one prime condition set by financers to back this movie was : it should have songs.

Since the movie is based on a rock band, it was bound to have songs. Anurag had initially planned to have short snippets of songs (a couple of lines and cut to the next scene). But when the financers put in the condition of having complete songs in the movie, Anurag out of pure frustration pumped in five songs right in the beginning of the movie to satisfy the financers. The five songs later got reduced to three.

The last song in the movie was not directed by Anurag. According to him, the whole movie was made for an amount of One Crore and Twenty Lakhs (Rupees). When the producers decided to add another song towards the end of the movie, nine months after the movie was completed, they hired someone else to direct it. The money spent on just the last song was Seventy Lakhs.

On the cast and crew of Paanch

Most of them were first timers. Anurag was a theater actor before he came into movies. In Anurag’s own words “Kay Kay Menon, was my guru/teacher in theater. Kay Kay went through a lot of shit before reaching where he is today”. According to Anurag, Kay Kay would have been “in a completely different position in Bollywood” had Paanch released on time, even though he is now well known because of movies like Sarkar and other commercial hits.

The cinematographer of Parineeta began his movie career with Paanch.

Other actors too have moved on and now have featured in various projects in movies and television.

On the reasons why the Censors banned Paanch

It may sound very strange but following are the reasons the Censor Board of India gave Anurag, on why they could not pass Paanch.

- Too much hate in the movie. It is too stark. Not good to show to an Indian audience.
- Drug usage shown in the movie. The Indian public does not do drugs. Not good to show it.
- You can’t shoot in such a dim light. Its bad for the viewers’ eyes.
- This movie has no entertainment value.

Before Paanch

There was desperation and frustration with Bollywood. Anurag wanted to make movies but no one was interested in a non-entity. His desperation to make movies and earn an income led to him making various compromises courtesy the producers and financers.

On his other projects

Among the recent releases, he has written “Water” and “Mixed Doubles”.

Most of his time is spent doing films for people who are new and have no money (his own words).

On the other hand he’s offered obscene amounts of money by producers who approach him with Hollywood and Asian DVDs. They simply want Anurag to write copies of the originals.

Two of the copies he wrote for producers was “Main Aisa He Hoon” and “Kaante”

On the need for original writers in Bollywood

Bollywood does have many original writers. There is no shortage of talent. The problem is they have no “backing” and no financers who want to invest in new comers.

On where he learnt writing and directing

His main source for learning writing and directing was… movies and Batman comics. He did mention a few illustrators of comics, but I could not catch their names.

Anurag may have the largest personal DVD collection in India.

On how to write and direct movies

There is no definite structure he follows. “Just write” is his advice to writers.

He is a painter and he plays with space on the sets. He does not follow and adhere to any formal shot division planning.

On the observation that acting is of the highest quality in his directed movies, in Anurag’s own words “Instead of the actor performing for the camera, I let the camera capture the people…”

Well, that’s all I have on Anurag Kashyap. There were a few other things he talked about in the one on one discussion I had with him, but they were his very personal views and I would like to avoid putting them up here.

I was planning to write a review on Paanch after this, but am in a bind. I’m not sure if I should review an unreleased movie. It may not be right towards Anurag and the producers of Paanch to have my views out in the open on an unreleased product. What do you think …?

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Author : oz 4258 Views Email this post Home : Recent Posts 13 Comments » [ Post your comments ]
DesiPundit » In Conversation with Anurag Kashyap Said,
April 23, 2006 @ 10:07 pm

[…] Oz at Desi Train bumps into Anurag Kashyap at a film festival and strikes up a conversation about his directorial debut, Paanch. […]

Abhishek Said,
April 23, 2006 @ 10:16 pm

Dear Oz….
Convince Anurag to direct “The MBA Gang” for you…..
Here’s my cast….
J - Kay Kay
Neha - Sonali Kulkarni
MK - Aditya Srivastava
Atanu - Sushant Singh
Sumanth - Atul Kulkarni

Add in Shiney Ahuja, Rajpal Yadav, Manoj Bajpai and all the other guys who get cast in straight-jacketed roles…

Ok…The Censors will have a problem…Don’t Worry….Packi in an “Item Song” with Emraan Hashmi and sung by Himesh…That will work wonder…

By the way…keep up the good work…
I’m lovin’ it….

Pranshu Said,
April 23, 2006 @ 11:02 pm

AK had said in an interview that he had initially planned to makd Paanch with manoj bajpai & ravina tandon as the leads! Anyways, so whats the latest on paanch-any chance it being released, ever?! And what about black friday? Didnt AK say anythin about any new projects like Gulel…

Ravi Said,
April 23, 2006 @ 11:07 pm

About reviewing paanch? Nope, i want to watch the film first. I don’t know whether it ll happen anytime soon but i am a game to pursue for a copy for as long as it takes.

But i really want to read how you felt after watching it. Not the specific’s but the general reaction.

Also, wat abt ur choice of cast for the MBA gang?

Nirav Said,
April 24, 2006 @ 12:28 am

Hey Oz…

Did you get any dope on Gulal and Allwyn Kallicharan, and if they are going to see the light of day?

And given that even celebrities frequent your site p) it makes sense to not review the movie… seriously… good decision

Have been trying to get a DVD copy of Paanch in Sydney for a long time now… but to no avail.

Umrao Jaan Said,
April 24, 2006 @ 12:56 am

The reasons banning Paanch by the censors - FUCKING LAME…….can somebody beat up these guys please and help us relieve some scum from the earth!!!

My favorite was “…….the Indian public does not do drugs”. Surely, the censors must be smoking something illegal to come up with such lame excuses.

And kudos to the actress that reads your blog…..there is hope yet in Bollywood

Kim Said,
April 24, 2006 @ 7:22 am

Anurag is a brilliant Actor, Director, Script writer & Dialogue Writer. The man is a Creative Genius !
Had a wonderful workshop with him about a month ago. The guy’s knowledge on all things related to the film world whether Hungarian or Guatamalan is astounding. Also saw a preview of his unedited next movie. Read it up at
Haven’t been able to watch either Paanch or Black Friday yet, since they are both banned in India. Might just have to revisit the US, just to attend a Film Festival & watch these 2 movies : )

oz Said,
April 24, 2006 @ 7:48 am

- Abhishek, Thanks buddy. But me thinks Anurag has too many fine scripts of his own to even think about the MBA Gang…. Song by Himesh in the MBA Gang?

- Pranshu, I didn’t know that (Bajpai and Tandon)… Oh yeah I somehow missed telling you guys this -

Paanch has been cleared by the Censors. And will most probably be released in June. Anurag also expects Black Friday to release around the same time.

His new project (assuming it is Gulel) is again stuck. This time the producers have run out of finance.

- Ravi, Gottcha. Usually I avoid revealing anything in my reviews unless the movie is so shitty that one doesn’t care.

About my take on the cast of the MBA Gang… (ahem) lets say I want each of you guys to remember who you wanted to cast. When I reach the last chapter you can then review whom you had first selected. My selecting the cast at this time may give away many things in the plot that are about to unfold.

- Nirav, I think Allwyn Kallicharan is a closed chapter. It was supposed to be done with Anil Kapoor in the lead. But he walked away and Anurag simply closed the doors on this project. Gulel is stuck due to lack of finance.

- Umrao Jaan, It is good material for a standup. At the same time it is tragic to see how lives of real geniuses are destroyed by a handful of stuffy collars. Thank You, yes there is hope and there will always be hope.

- Kim, You are more luckier than us here in the US. You got to attend a workshop that had Kashyap and other talented artists! Liked the post very much.

George Said,
April 24, 2006 @ 9:26 am

awesome. As far as paid Dhaaps are concerned, did he mention Sanjay Gupta’s JUNG? That flick was bouncing from one controversy to another (star tantrums, screenwriting credits), and it turned out that even though Anurag K was credited, his brother had worked on the screenplay.

also, did he have anything more to say about MIXED DOUBLES?

yoyo Said,
April 24, 2006 @ 1:01 pm

ya no review bfore release pls.

hey what happened to ur hair?

Zero Said,
April 24, 2006 @ 10:28 pm

Absolutely great.

Paanch is going to come in June? Fantastic!

I read this post yesterday, but coming back to leave this comment.

oz Said,
April 25, 2006 @ 6:26 am

- George, He didn’t speak about Jung. That piece of what he was asked to copy was given to me in the personal discussion I had with him. Nothing more on Mixed Doubles, he mentioned that name to a question on what his recent projects were.

- Yoyo, Review coming up sorry. can’t resist. I’ve carried the shaved look for the past few months.

- Zero, Thanks! Yeah that’s what he mentioned. Paanch has been cleared by the censors. Infact we got to see the censor certificate (A) during the screening. Black Friday according to him too should be out around June/July. But then, that’s what he had mentioned last year, same time. I think Sahara has picked up one of the two movies. Well lets hope this time we do get to see atleast one if not both.

HoliDevil Said,
April 25, 2006 @ 8:17 am

Oz, U r in the list of Bollywood actresses nw

BTW did Anurag mentioned nethng abt the release of Paanch and Black Friday in India


Saturday, February 24, 2007

Anurag Kashyap collects accolades for ‘Black Friday’

20th February 2007
Anurag Kashyap collects accolades for ‘Black Friday’
posted in Bollywood Box Office |

His film had do endure a long delay before it finally released but Anurag Kashyap is still in the process of collecting accolades after the release of “Black Friday”. And to top this happiness, the talk is that Anurag Kashyap has been signed by business tycoon Ashok Hinduja’s dayghter Ambika Hinduja who produced the critically acclaimed ‘Being Cyrus’.

“I had signed Anurag before the release of Black Friday. I had seen the film a long time ago. I was very impressed with his work,” says Ambika. So what will be the result of two critically acclaimed brains’ work? The movie that is on card will have a modest budget of 3 crore but it will surely be an awaited one. “I have finalised the script, which I don’t want to disclose at his point to anyone. The film will go on the floor once I complete Gulaal,” Kashyap said.

Listen about Bollywood from Anurag Kashyap

8th February 2007
Listen about Bollywood from Anurag Kashyap
posted in Bollywood Celebrity |

The man behind Anurag Kashyap is the same bold man that we see through his films. And this time the man reflects on Bollywood itself. Mentioning about his experimental films and Big B’s unwillingness to work with him, Anurag said how fond he is of Abhishek and knew his talent and limits earlier itself. It was Bollywood that was unrealistically skeptical earlier and also unrealistically overboard now while talking about Abhishek’s talent. Referring to Guru, the director of ‘Black Friday’ said sure Guru saw a good performance from Abhishek, he surely wasn’t bigger than Amitabh Bachchan as the father boasts.

“That’s a desperate cry. The industry is laughing at them behind the backs. Everybody is laughing at them. That kind of hypocrisy is prevalent in the industry. It’s up to him if he can’t separate hypocrisy from honesty. That’s his problem. That poster where he said that ‘I will watch ‘Guru’ 100 times’ was a joke. Amitabh Bachchan doesn’t need to do that. He is worshipped in this country. It’s a shame these things have happened” said the director.

This entry was posted on Thursday, February 8th, 2007 at 4:25 am

Madhur Bhandarkar in awe of Anurag Kashyap

Madhur Bhandarkar in awe of Anurag Kashyap
By Joginder Tuteja, Bollywood Trade News Network

Anurag Kashyap Madhur BhandarkarAccolades keep coming in for Anurag Kashyap even as his first released film BLACK FRIDAY has been in theaters for around 2 weeks now.

The one to join the bandwagon of the film personalities who matter most in the industry, Madhur Bhandarkar, also has some fond things to say about the film and its maker.

"Anurag has done a phenomenal job with BLACK FRIDAY", he says, "I saw the movie first in US around 2 years back where it was screened. There and then I could sense that there was this terrific guy who would make a lot of news once his film would release."

What was so special that he found about the film? "Sheer honesty and integrity with which the film was made", he divulges, "The film was such an amazing cinematic experience as the turn of events just kept me engrossed throughout its length. Truly a marvelous movie."

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Does realism in film sell

Does realism in film sell? Until we try, how would we know?
Anurag Kashyap and Rahul Dholakia at the EXPRESS

Posted online: Sunday, February 18, 2007 at 0000 hrs IST

After having done fiery street theatre with the Jan Natya Manch in Delhi, Anurag Kashyap went off to make movies in Mumbai. He lived on the streets, picked up the lingo, and landed the screenplay and dialogues of Ram Gopal Varma’s mob classic Satya — the iconic Bhiku Mhatre, played by Manoj Bajpai, is as much Anurag’s creation as it is Varma’s. After years of writing, and doing what he calls “additional dialogues” for other directors, Kashyap made his first film, Paanch, which ran smack into censor trouble for being “too violent”. His second, Black Friday, a stark, uncompromising docu-drama on how the Mumbai blasts were planned, has taken over two years to release.
Rahul Dholakia’s first movie, a forgettable romantic comedy, bombed, but that did not deter him from a second coming. He was in the US when the Gujarat riots happened, and the images which leapt off the TV screens post-Godhra, shook him. So did the news that the young son of his friends, the Modys in Ahmedabad, had gone missing. The tragedy of those days is brought alive in his searing Parzania, which released after a relentless struggle over one and a half years to get it to theatres. It is still not playing in Gujarat, where it all happened.
Two very different filmmakers, united in the courage of their conviction. And in telling stories which need to be told. Both met the Express team over lunch this week. Some excerpts from the conversation.
Anurag: I was in Delhi in 1993. I saw films at the IFFI film festival, packed my bags and left for Mumbai. Mumbai was strange, it was a kind of city that I had never seen before. I lived on the streets, did theatre for Prithvi, started writing and the break came pretty soon, since I wrote a play that became a cult hit that somebody saw and gave me a short film to write. It was for Shyom Nayar, who eventually ended up directing Ahista Ahista. I wrote that short film on Auto Shankar. That got recognised and Ramu (Ram Gopal Varma)saw it and gave me Satya.

Shubhra Gupta: Ram Gopal Varma keeps saying that he doesn’t give people breaks but I think he actually does and only for his own good. So, what happened after Satya.
Anurag: Things kept happening after Satya. I wrote Kaun, Shool, started doing dialogues as pretty early I realised that when you write a script, it doesn’t remain the same when it goes onto the screen. To avoid that heartbreak I started writing only dialogues. I said I’ll only do dialogues and whatever else I had to do and to detach myself from the film. Then I was working on Water and Mission Kashmir simultaneously. There was a problem with Mission Kashmir. I disagreed with the whole politics of the film and I walked out . Then I did Water and there was some problem with it. It was a frustrating time.,
Rahul: I was into advertising, making documentaries, made a film called Kehta Hai Dil Baar Baar. While I was doing this the riots happened in Gujarat, where a friend of mine friend lost his son. I thought it was time for me to make a statement. After five years it has been released.

Unni Rajen Shanker: How old is your friendship with Dara Mody, whose missing son Parzania is based on ?
Rahul: In 1996-97 we used to hangout together in the US, he was a projectionist. He came to India for extension of his H-1. Every year, all friends would get together for flying kites in January. That January in 2002 he was there too. One month later the riots happened, and the next festival he was there, his son wasn’t.

Shailaja Bajpai: Both your films deal with question of violence. Do you feel that violence is the best way to express communal and social tensions or conflicts?
Anurag : Paanch was banned on grounds of excessive violence. My contention remains that sometimes violence is unexplained , unprovoked, sudden and very brutal. Unflinching violence when you see it on screen puts you off. Violence in Last Temptation of Christ puts you off. I have got the chance to put it out and see whether it has the same impact.
Rahul: We haven’t shown blood, just the whole sequence of riots. We wanted to make feel as if you were part of it and how they were feeling. After the film is over, people don’t come out angry, or wanting to take revenge they ask why. Then it becomes effective, it’s not glamourised.

Seema Chishti: Both of you have made very political films, rooted in recent, real life incidents. But how do you look at films like Babel, that play very tangentially on things. How do you compare both kinds of films?
Rahul : I didn’t set out for it to be a political film, it was straight from the heart. Of course, we were making a statement about the riot. The whole film is so much more about what pain people are going through. It had to do with, ‘Even though they were Parsis, they were attacked.’ It wasn’t the politics but the family story.
Anurag: Babel is completely different from what we trying to do film. One thing that was clear was that the film will stick to that statement by Mahatma Gandhi: “An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind.” We wanted to remain factual, most of the incidents didn’t have a balance, they were one dimensional.

Shubhra: Did you ever think of doing Parzania in Hindi?
Rahul: I was disgusted with my last Hindi film. Parzania was made was made during BJP rule, so the issue of censorship was already there, we thought it would never get past the Indian Censor Board. Also, I felt that an international issue needed to be addressed. For me, what Bush was doing was no different. But I am trying to dub it in Gujarati and Hindi. I didn’t start making the movie on film, some footage of the riots was taken from TV stations, but gradually the film became bigger and bigger.

Manini: Anurag, how did your years in Jan Natya Manch (an overtly left-leaning theatre group) that makes no bones about being political, impact on you as a filmmaker?
Anurag: I am very apolitical and the Jan Natya Manch had no impact. I have been very confused and still am. I read a lot of books. Films like Bicycle Thief, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow have impressed me a lot.

Manini: Both your films are political, and in Rahul’s case of the chosen family for Parzania, the latest issue of the RSS mouthpiece, Organiser, asks why not a film on the plight of a kar sevak or a Kashmiri Pandit family. Why do you both fight shy of being called ‘political’ filmmakers? Is it for reasons of art or commerce?
Rahul: I didn’t care about commerce, as far as art is concerned it was to the point of making the film..I am not afraid of being political, but I am not political! When making the film, nothing came in between. It was simply the passion of making the film.
Anurag: When you making a film and it’s remotely realistic, there’s a problem, it has to be step by step. We had no patrons, we were asked to change names. It was more on the side of humanity, I am very apolitical. Every party has its own agenda. Ideologies do not define political parties today. The film was more on human carnage, about the foot soldiers of the ideology of political parties who are left high and dry, who pay a price.

Aman Sharma (to Kashyap): Your film was banned on the grounds that it might affect the judgment of the case. Now that the judgment is out, do you think your film could have impacted the judgment?
Anurag: I don’t think so. If it does then we need to question the judiciary. The judiciary has to be objective. In the Nithari killings, everyone including the media has formed an opinion already. When news channels can dramatise and portray it, why can’t I portray it on film? In the US, they made a film called Death of a President, on the fictional assassination of President Bush...that’s freedom of expression.

Aman : Why didn’t you touch on Sanjay Dutt in the film?
Anurag: Sanjay Dutt was not part of conspiracy, the celebrity took focus took attention away from real issue. The idea wasn’t not to distract the audience. Sanjay Dutt was a peripheral issue.

Vasundhara Koshy: Your movie hasn’t been screened in Gujarat. Any comments ?
Rahul: The state government is scared of the Bajrang Dal. In spite of police protection they don’t want to screen a film that they think will create riots. Cinema is always the effect of riots and not the cause of riots. We need to question whether we have any freedom.

Coomi Kapoor: You are one of the new breed of filmmakers whose works are based on stark realism, do you think such films can be part of commercial cinema?
Anurag: It can be part of the industry, if you look at history of films world over, the films that defined cinema — in Korea films like Silmido, the Brazilian City of God, which were realistic and yet made money at the box office. The French cinema of the ‘50s and ‘60s defined and changed the way of living after that. Until and unless we try, how would we know? Cost recovery is possible.
Rahul: The notion of Friday deciding the fate of a film is not true. These kind of films need time. There are various avenues to make money — theatrical release, world rights, DVD rights. Parzania is going into fourth week and they have recovered the print publicity cost already.

Sonu Jain: The problem is, when we watch films like these, sometimes we aren’t able to differentiate whether everything that you show is based on facts or fiction.
Anurag: It’s realistic, not real. For examples, the chase sequence in Black Friday was done to cut the repetitiveness of the 139 arrests. It became a metaphor for what everyone had gone through. Badshah Khan was a fictitious name given as he was a police witness. What transpired in that room with Tiger Memon wasn’t known to anyone, no one spoke about it. Based on an interview with this man caught in Algeria and the references he made, I wrote this whole sequence of how it must have happened. The police brutality was also not the official story, it was from a book called Voices. We spoke to people and got their side of the story.

Unni Rajen Shanker: When you made the film did you think it would ever be shown in Gujarat?
Rahul: I didn’t think Parzania would ever be shown in India. The censor board in India isn’t the audience here. Luckily, now we have liberal people on board.

Namita Kohli: How do you react to the criticism that Parzania was made in English because you had one eye on the international awards scene and other on the so called local anti-Hindu activists?
Rahul: People do call me pseudo-secular, but I ask them what have you done for the other communities like Kashmiri Pandits, have you even put in dollar for them? When I started the film, I was working on 35mm, where does the question of international awards arise?
Anurag: One makes films that are close to your heart. Rahul isn’t in the business of making films on people of various parts of India. I have been asked questions like if I think Indian communalism is marketable abroad?

Shubhra Gupta: What films are you working on next?
Rahul: I am working on Navratri: Nine Days, Nine Lives, based in Gujarat.
Anurag: I am working on No Smoking, about a smoking addict who is emotionally cornered into joining a rehabilitation centre run by a quack called Babu Bengali. It’s a comic film about how he loses touch with what’s real and what’s not at the centre. I am also working on Gulal, a film which is set in neon light futuristic Rajasthan. Hanuman Returns, an animation film will come out by Diwali this year.

Kavita Chowdhury: Do you feel that films like yours point to the new wave of parallel cinema?
Anurag: I try to take the most serious issues and turn them into entertaining films. More than a new wave, I feel we are wanting to find our own platforms. For me, elements like humour and cynicism are important. That signifies my style which hopefully in sometime both actors and people will associate with.
Rahul: I am not trying to create any new wave, if there’s song then I would put it in. This is just the way I would express myself.

Shiv Aroor: What do you think of the Fahrenheit 9 /11 and Bowling for Columbine format?
Anurag: Fahrenheit 9/11 was released in India but Final Solution was not. Documentaries are very important and they should be screened in theatres for they will have a huge impact.
Rahul: In fact, we have already formed an Independent Films Association in Mumbai to try and screen such kind of cinema like the UGC cinema chains in the UK.

Abhay Mishra: Many books, movies etc have been banned in the past on the pretext that they pose a threat to law and order. What contents do you think that violate that freedom of expression? Do you think it was okay for the Danish cartoonist to sketch Prophet Mohammed?
Anurag: The cartoons were made in faraway Denmark, you would need to Google to get the cartoons...I feel the first person who raises a voice against a work of art, calling it ‘inflammatory’ needs to be immediately investigated — as he has something to hide or is himself a troublemaker. People who stand up and ask for bans are uncomfortable with those issues themselves. And that’s where the government should come in, but they don’t want to lose their vote bank. Content doesn’t originate from thin air, they come from somewhere. Sometimes the objections can be baseless also.

Unni Rajen Shanker: As a Gujarati Hindu yourself, Rahul, making a film on the riots, how did you observe the riots? What was the response to the film from your community?
Rahul: When the riots happened, I was in Mumbai. Besides TV footage, I met people, went to relief camps. When I was making the film, my immediate family was anti-me. But after watching the film, they said that maybe their attitude may not be appropriate and insensitive. Majority of the Gujaratis who were pro-Modi’s agenda come from a literate background but have a lot of hate within them. Though they accept that it is without a cause. The film is somehow making them question things.

Shubhra Gupta: Both of you are men of the moment, who got their movie out after so much struggle, but do you feel filmmakers like you are now gaining acceptance?
Anurag: A resounding yes. In the last five days many producers are more than willing to do films with me. Things are changing.
Rahul: We are still the same, our styles are the same. But there’s a change in their attitudes.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

"Surely you're joking, Mr.Kashyap."

"Surely you're joking, Mr.Kashyap."

All my hatred and envy was reserved for Anurag because I understood his work. My hatred was based on respect. My hatred was based on love. Of course, I didn't know it then.
Aug 16 2001 12:00AM

You carried the torch, my naïve friend. And they pissed on it.

Remember that silly high jump contest in school, where you had to jump and make a chalk mark on the wall? You were my wall. A wall for me to scale. Every achievement of mine was secret chalk mark I made to gauge my efforts against yours. And now, there are crimson spittle stains on the wall.

Eleanor Roosevelt carried this prayer in her purse during the Second World War:

Dear Lord
Lest I continue
My complacent way
Help me to remember
Somewhere out there
A man died for me today
-- As long as there be war
I then must ask and answer
Am I worth dying for?

There is a war being fought today. A war that few know about and even fewer care about. It is the war to preserve a modicum of intelligence in Hindi cinema. It is the struggle to nurture the remnants of creative integrity and expression in the largest film industry in the world. The warriors are the people who dare to defy market bromides, formulae and mantras, who dare to create and express on their own terms, for their own desperate, passionate need to make films.

Films, not proposals. Films, not marketing vehicles. Films, not an ensemble of stars performing an elaborate music video.

The enemy is an Axis of omnipotent but anonymous allies.

When Manmohan Desai asserted that his formula was one 'item' every ten minutes, was he aware that he was playing Frankenstein? Did he recognize the monstrosity he was unleashing upon the industry he so loved and came to symbolize?

The inheritors of Manji's legacy forgot that 'items' are mean to garnish and enhance the content of a film, not replace it. They replaced it. 'Fight scenes' replaced human drama, 'melodrama' replaced motivation, 'songs' replaced exposition, 'comedy tracks' replaced comic insights and Hindi cinema was reduced to a rugby joke.

The Axis also involves the Viewer. Reluctantly and because they were offered no alternatives, the Viewer gave up. He not only got accustomed to the repetitive inanities of Bollywood, he actually came to enjoy it. But this ally of the brain-dead retained a conspiratorial connection with the Light Brigade. The fathers of mainstream cinema scratched their heads in confusion when Ardh Satya ran for twenty-five weeks and Ankush opened to full houses. And how could Shyam Benegal keep making films? Obviously, someone was paying money to watch these films, but who?

The answer was never revealed. The Resistance stayed underground, surfacing every odd Friday for a guerilla attack on benumbed sensibilities.

Slowly, the Resistance gained in strength, putting up their posters openly and actually releasing films like Parinda, Roja, Satya, Hyderabad Blues, Terrorist and Zubeida. The enemy panicked. The Viewer was of course the principle ally. If the Viewer once again got used to intelligent films, where would that leave us: We, the Showmen? We, the Dream Makers? We, the Sellouts?

But the Axis had one more ally. More powerful than any other. An antediluvian monster that forgot to die, and was institutionalized by the moral brigade. The Censor Board.

An image from 'The Fountainhead' has always haunted me. You are locked in a room with a malevolent monster, diseased and salivating and vicious. He is going to kill you. You have no weapons to fight it. Your only hope for survival is to appeal to its reason, to its intellect -- to explain to it that it will achieve nothing by killing you. But the monster has no faculty for reason. It has no intellect. It will kill you.

I met Anurag Kashyap in 1995 when I was working part time in Crest Communication and instantly hated him for having started writing before me. I played safe: I worked as a copywriter for a year and as a creative consultant for a TV company, while all the time dying to write movies. Anurag shrugged at such notions of financial security. When I finally took the plunge, Anurag had already written Satya, Kaun and Shool.

He was actually writing the kind of subjects that I dreamed and fantasized about. People were paying him money to write them, making films based on them.

I watched his films with vicious intent, rejoicing everytime a line sucked or scene fell flat. I didn't care about more successful or better known writers. All my hatred and envy was reserved for Anurag because I understood his work. My hatred was based on respect. My hatred was based on love. Of course, I didn't know it then.

Imagine, then, my chagrin when Anurag was signed on to direct a film even before I had had my first release as a scriptwriter. And fathom my frustration when he signed me on to pen the lyrics. The gumption of the man! I was so angry, I wrote the best damn lyrics ever in my life, determined to outshine the brilliance of the director with my poetic heroism, like a desperate sub-plot trying to distract from the main narrative.

I expected to be thrown out after the very first attack. But every assault of mine was met with enthusiastic -- no, excited -- deliriously excited reactions from Anurag. He loved every song I wrote. The courage of this man. The heroism!

Until I realised, one day, that it was not courage at all. It was innocence. An innocence that was completely unaware of my intentions. He wanted to make a film, a good film, a great film if possible, and he saw my vicious attacks as genuine contributions to the film's welfare. Childlike in his intentions, he suspected no malice in mine. How do you defeat a man who is unaware that you are raging a battle against him with everything that you do, everything that you have? I gave up. Anurag almost won.

Almost. At the last minute, the Censor Board launched its secret weapon.

Anurag screened Paanch for this Jurassic wonder. At the end of the screening, a man who I believe is a primary school teacher called Anurag in and asked him what cinema meant to him. Anurag asked in turn what it meant to him and the man replied, without blinking an eyelid, that it meant 'healthy entertainment'. Healthy entertainment, according to Masterji, was absent in Paanch. He asked why there were no 'positive characters' in the film. Obviously it would have been a complete waste of time to explain the concept of a noir film to the gentleman; Anurag explained instead that all the characters were to him positive to some degree.

The gentleman then suggested that the film was too violent.

I have seen Paanch. Its wizardry lies in creating a sense of violence without its explicit depiction. The film gets under your skin, creates the kind of dirty residue that normally remains in the aftermath of a street fight. Instead, Teacher Rex felt that this film glorifies violence. Anurag asked for specific scenes that had bothered the Board, which he was willing to defend and delete if necessary. No instances were forthcoming; the man was too busy objecting to the language now.

Then came the piece de resistance. The man said that the film was too long for a thriller. He arbitrarily asked Anurag to trim it by forty minutes! Too long for a thriller. Oh Anurag, I wish I had been there to see your face. The joy it would have given my aching heart to see your initial lack of comprehension, then the rage and then the helplessness; the intense desire to ask this gentleman where he kept his cane so you could put it where it belonged. Too long for a thriller. Marvelous!

Maybe Once Upon A Time In America should have been cut down from four and a half to two hours. Oh wait a minute, they did. And reduced a classic to a schizophrenic collection of visuals. Isn't Bertolucci's 1900 too long for an epic? Well, it does encompass the story of a century, so I guess it can stretch to five hours. And thank God cricket matches last an entire day, or else Lagaan would have had to be trimmed by an hour or so.

But a thriller! What in a thriller justifies two hours and forty-five minutes? Your story? Your development of characters? Your plot? Your choice?

Surely you're joking, Mr.Kashyap.

At the end of it all, Anurag Kashyap was refused certification for his film.

Fortunately, he reserves the right to appeal to a Revising Committee and subsequently even to the Judiciary. I hope that the idiocy that characterized his recent ordeal will not mark the subsequent process of rectification.

Is Paanch too long a film? I think so. Anurag doesn't. Is Paanch a great film? I don't know. Who decides?

The Viewer. Only the goddamn Viewer and no one else.

I have seen the herculean effort that went into creating this film. I have seen the heartbreak, the conflicts, the highs and lows, the delirium and the genius that marked the process. I was present in the studio when Anurag kissed everyone in sight, including myself, because he had no other way of conveying his delight at the song. I was present when Anurag kept pushing his agitated cinematographer to attempt a scene with almost no lights. I was fortunate enough to share the ride without running the risks. Anurag ran the risks. Paanch is a year of Anurag's life.

And today, with the checkered flag in sight, a frustrated referee with no concept, no awareness of the medium is signaling an indefinite pit stop.

Let us not even dwell on some of the inanities, the obscenities and the regressive outrages that the Board has passed to date. These are not the reasons Anurag's film deserves a certificate.

It deserves a certificate because he made a film with passion and with love.

If today, no voices are raised in protest, in defiance of this murderous monolith, then we lose forever the moral right to complain about the lack of intelligence, the absence of imagination and the dearth of heroes in Hindi cinema.


When Bollywood shits on Exceptional Talent…

When Bollywood shits on Exceptional Talent…

April 6, 2005 @ 10:40 am

Anurag Kashyap. The usual question shot back on mentioning his name – Who the fuck is he? Well that’s what I’ve been meaning to find. Who is Anurag Kashyap? - and why am I so excited to watch his work and then beat my head on my desk each time his work is pulled back or stopped by actors, producers and wow – the Censor Board – ironically from our democratic country.

Kashyap, originally from Delhi came to Bombay, I suspect attracted to the theater rather than movies. The usual Bombay grind saw him living on the streets before he started working at Prithvi. Writer of television serials like “Auto Narayan”, he got noticed first by Manoj Bajpai and later was introduced to Ram Gopal Varma. And the train was given the green signal to start moving. And Kashyap did move…

It started with one of the most terrific films made in Bollywood on the mafia. “Satya”. Written by Anurag Kashyap. It is what RGV needs. No, not hits. But genuine, intelligent and creative script writers WHO CAN TELL A GOOD STORY. But fuck, does anyone have the time or inclination to pay attention to such a simple thing? Each time RGV or for that matter any other director with quite a few hits in their kitty, has flopped, you will identify the BAD STORY as the real cause of the failure for that movie. RGV had found a good story teller in Kashyap, and I wonder whether its his large ego or bad judgement which has not made RGV use Kashyap more extensively.

I think it may have been the flop of “Kaun?” RGV and Kashyap’s next joint venture which may have put RGV off Kashyap. But how many flops has Ramu given so far that one flop from Kashyap’s writing pad has put RGV off. “Kaun?” was an interesting experiment which failed but it was a step in the right direction. 3 characters all throughout the movie, no songs, no 3 hour length and though it failed, it wasn’t made on a big budget. The team right from day 1 knew it was an experiment and they handled the budget accordingly.

But what I badly, so badly wanted to see was Kashyap’s next creation – Paanch – written and directed by Kashyap himself. “Paanch” was up and ready by 2002/2003 and by the looks of the story and the details which went into defining the 5 characters of the movie, just by reading that, I was gripped, sitting straight, pointing my nose so close to the monitor so that I did not miss a single word of the story and character details in my 15th read of the article. Paanch revolves around 5 wannabe rock stars that get sucked into crime and murder and deception which ultimately destroys each of them. Sadly the movie seems to be too gory and violent for our Censor board to digest. It is stuck in the censors for the last 3 years and the result – quite a few unique elements used in the movie have been lifted and copied into other movies released between 2003 and now. As per Kashyap’s latest interview on, Paanch has now been bought by Sahara and may be released in two to three months.

The other Kashyap project that made me sit up was the announcement of the project “Alvin Kaalicharan”, starring Anil Kapoor. Kashyap gave Kapoor a totally different look. Unfortunately it seems Kapoor didn’t have too much faith in Kashyap and the movie could not take off. Again, the copycats in Bollywood lifted Kapoor’s different look and used it on Kapoor in his last movie “Musafir”. I hate this lifting, especially when the idea was from a highly creative person and for a man – Kapoor – who stops Kashyap’s movie and goes and uses that look and get up in a more commercial movie which he thinks has chances of a bigger success.


And by the looks of it, many of the “talented super fucking stars” who often speak in bold print that they want to do “INTELLIGENT CINEMA” are the ones who have turned down Kashyap time and again. Kashyap’s latest interview shows some of the hidden frustrations of this talented writer.


But Kashyap has his moments to savor too. Like working with Mani Ratnam on Yuva, where Kashyap wrote the dialogues in Hindi. The link to the interview shows you how much Kashyap enjoyed and relished working with Ratnam and how it helped him evolve further as a thinking person and writer.

For one, it is clear this man is creative and has a wide span vision, writing about the mafia in “Satya”, to a suspense murder mystery in “Kaun?”, to writing and directing about the real life Pune killings in “Paanch”, to writing and directing about the aftermath of Bombay riots….here’s a well read guy who loves to research extensively on the subjects he is passionate and wants to write about…unfortunately the Bollywood superstition comes into play now where people in Bollywood look at him as jinxed – what with his directions “Paanch” and “Black Friday” stuck and unreleased.
You can have zero talent and run business on superstitions and have 2% hits in a year (Bollywood hit record for the last many years) or you could bring in exceptionally creative talent and make movies which are appreciated and loved by cinema lovers which increases the hits probability manifold. Unfortunately for Bollywood it has, like always, chosen the former….


Thank God it's Black Friday!

Thank God it's Black Friday!

Anurag Kashyap talks about the insecurities he's feeling now that Black Friday is finally releasing on February 9

Posted On Thursday, February 01, 2007

Sonia Chopra

A still from Black Friday
• Has it sunk in that Black Friday is finally releasing?
No, it's still sinking in. I know it's releasing for sure. But I am feeling very insecure. The insecurities are beyond whether the film will do well or not. I've seen how the world functions. People trying to pull you down; people using the film to their advantage... It started with Water, where I was the dialogue consultant.

• Are you referring to the protests that lead to the ban on Water?
What protest? The entire fracas with Water happened because of one single person called Rakesh Manjul who was asked to leave the film. He was the cultural representative of the government so he used his position – he took things out of context and got them published in the papers. The political party that protested against Water did not exist a day before it all happened. The party Kashi Sanskriti Raksha Sangharsh Samiti (KSRSS) was formed overnight. There were only 20 people protesting the entire time, and they got the film banned. We ended up being the targets.

• What happened with Black Friday?
A case was filed against us by the accused. They charged us with judging them before the verdict was actually out. So our film was not banned, it was postponed. Now the verdict is out, and the accused have been found guilty. We sent an appeal to the Supreme Court, so the film could be released. The film got cleared on October 29.

• What did you do when all your films from Paanch to Black Friday to Gulal got stuck one after the other, and people started calling you unfortunate and jinxed?
Either you get depressed, or you fight back, or you start afresh. I didn't fight back; I first got depressed and then started afresh (laughs). I had three anxiety attacks in three months and had to be hospitalised. I thought I was going to have a heart attack. But I am a survivor. The more the adverse the circumstances, the stronger I emerge. I became like that in my late teens. I've been abused as a child. I've had a tough life.

• But the money must have got stuck too?
Yes, that's when I started taking up projects for money. Now, I do one film for money. Like Main Aisa Hi Hoon, and now Shaka Laka Boom Boom. Others I do for myself – like Water, The Pool, Mixed Doubles, Meridian, and Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd. I don't even discuss money for these films. To compensate, I work very hard.

• In a way aren't you glad Black Friday is releasing now as opposed to 2004. The audience has changed now, and there is a sense of activism post Rang De Basanti.
I am just happy that Black Friday is releasing. But it should have released when it was made. I feel the audience would have accepted Black Friday even then. Yes, the activism fervor started with RDB, but it could have started with Black Friday.

• Is it true that Black Friday is being made into a TV series?
Yes, there is a plan. But it's not concrete as yet.

• You're editing No Smoking these days. How's it turning out?
It has turned out to be my most stylish film. The film is very much in the territory of Charles Kaufman. No one has ever attempted this kind of a script in this country. It seriously screws around with the audiences' mind.

Anurag Kashyap
• Is it on the lines of The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind?
Absolutely, it's completely in that genre. But No Smoking is a thriller/comedy. It's a state of mind.

• 2007 will be a very important year for you.
Yes, this will be the year of clearing my backlogs. Most of my stuck films will be releasing this year; and in 2008 I want to start afresh. About 19 films that I have been involved in will release this year, including Paanch and Gulal! I am the writer and creative director for Hanuman Returns – that is also something I am looking forward to as I think this film will take animation to the next level.