'Actors are self obsessed and narcissist'
IndiaFM News Bureau
Posted online: Tuesday, September 13, 2005 at 1301 hours IST
Updated: Tuesday, September 13, 2005 at 1315 hours IST
Mumbai, September 13: There have been directors who have waited for number of years to get a break in Bollywood. There also have been directors who have waited for long for a movie of theirs to come out of a can. But seldom do you find a director who has been critically acclaimed worldwide but still awaits release of two of his movies (Paanch, Black Friday) stuck for different reasons.
Meet writer-director Anurag Kashyap in a holds-no-bar conversation with this writer who met him at an International Film Festival at PVR, Gurgaon.
Anurag, first and foremost a question that you would have been asked practically every day. What's the status on Black Friday
(Speaks with a wide grin) Yes, Black Friday is not coming in near future. The case is still in court. Earlier the hearing was slated for August but now it has been pushed to December. So I suppose any further updates would be only after December.
So currently what is keeping you busy?
I am working on Gulal and I am highly excited about it. In fact that's my focus now while I have Paanch and Black Friday behind me.
Can you elaborate further on Gulal?
Gulal is set in Rajasthan and is a fictional movie set a few years from now, though it is not too futuristic. It is a love story cum political cum thriller all rolled into one and is the journey of an honest man fighting a corrupt system. There is also a terrorist outfit angle in the movie. The movie was shot for a few days 3.5 years back [February 2002] but staled thereafter due to unavoidable circumstances. But I always wanted to make the movie and so there I am. Jhamu Sugandh is producing the movie. [Smiles] That's all I can elaborate at the moment.
So who all form the starcast of the movie?
My film primarily stars newcomers. Raja Chaudhary, Ayesha Mohan and Abhimanyu Singh play the lead protagonists. While Raja is surely going to be a man to watch out for, I can conveniently tag Ayesha Mohan as the 'female KK'. A bundle of talent, she is surely going to go places. In addition, there are also regulars like Kay Kay Menon and Aditya Srivastava.
How about the music aspect of Gulal?
Music of Gulal would be of the kind that you would have never heard before. It forms an important piece of the movie and is composed by Piyush Mishra, who also writes the lyrics. [Piyush is the same man who acted brilliantly in Maqbool and Matrubhoomi and scripted the recently released Yahaan]
Roughly what's the budget of Gulal?
It's Rs. 4 crores.
Coming back to Black Friday. You must be aware that the pirated CDs of the movie have flooded the market months back.
[Smiles again] Yes, I know. In fact on hearing about this news, initially I was very low and depressed. But then I started getting compliments for the work I have done. Also on watching the movie I realized that the movie was cut short by an astonishing 45 minutes. All key portions of the movie are cut from the print. So when the movie would be out in theatres, people would realize what all they have missed.
But how come the pirated prints came out in open at all?
It's obviously the mischief an insider.
What's your stance on piracy though?
You would be surprised but I am all FOR piracy. See all tall claims of filmmakers fighting against piracy go out of the window when the same people blatantly copy Hollywood films and call them their own. We pirate ideas so what's the big deal? After all isn't it "intellectual piracy"? In that case isn't it better to see your own movie been watched by millions, even if that's on pirated CDs?
What really made the release of Black Friday to be stopped after the case reached High Court? There were also reports of some of the bomb blast accused currently in jail not being happy with the content!
On the contrary it was the other way round. The accused appreciated the film and wanted it to be out. Even the judge praised the film and hailed the effort. But still the court wanted the release of the movie to be delayed for some time.
Do you think that when the movie eventually gets released, it may turn out to be India's nomination for Oscars?
Frankly speaking, I don't care. I only know that the movie has been made with a lot of sweat and blood and would strike a chord.
And how does the future of Paanch look like?
I am hopeful about Paanch getting released as well, though there have been multiple times when the movie came close to a release. With Boney Kapoor acquiring the movie and his No Entry being a major success, chances are higher that he may release Paanch soon as well.
In your low times were there any instances when you thought of venturing into so called mainstream cinema?
Never. Because I just can't relate to the kind of films being made currently. The day I feel that I can, I would join the league, but presently that day doesn't seem in sight. The problem is that even today number of film makers come to me with the DVDs of Hollywood movies and want me to remake them in Hindi. Sorry, but that's not my cup of tea.
So what are the kind of movies you watch?
I see very few movies and in recent times have seen My Wife's Murder, Iqbal and Dansh. Out of these, I liked Iqbal the most because of its honest approach and a great narration. Hats off to Nagesh Kukunoor for coming up with such a brilliant film. I feel he is the most honest director around and deserves all the appreciation. He inspires me as he is a truly independent Indian filmmaker. I liked Dansh too but then I had already seen 'Death and The Maiden' [Dansh's inspiration]. 'My Wife's Murder' was a disappointment mainly due to its harsh background music that just killed the movie.
Talking about Nagesh Kukunoor who got a good platform for his 'Iqbal'. Haven't you ever regretted not getting an opportunity to work with an established production house like Subhash Ghai's'?
It's easier for Nagesh to work with someone like Subhash Ghai due to number of "releases" behind him, but that's not the case with me as I am still without a release [smiles].
But then you have worked with Ram Gopal Verma with writing Satya, Shool and Kaun for him. Haven't you ever thought of directing for his FACTORY?
The thing is that in this case I don't want to work with him. He is a person who involves himself in all aspects of film making while I like to be completely responsible for my work. This leads to inevitable clash of interests.
At one point of time you were even poised to work with Anil Kapoor in Allwyn Kaalicharan. What happened to that?
Anil Kapoor is the most insecure guy I have ever met. One fine day he told me it's a brilliant script and was all excited about the movie. He even did a photo shoot. But just when the movie's shooting was to start, he backed out. I believe actors are the most self obsessed and narcissist as anyone can get.
Tell us something about your background.
I come from a small town called Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh. From the very childhood I wanted to be a good human being after I read moral science in my earlier schooling days. I did my graduation from Hansraj College, New Delhi. Even in those days, I didn't have enough pocket money to spend lavishly. That's the reason I could never even go out for a date [laughs]!
A section of media is constantly against you. Any comments?
Everyone has rights to talk about others' movie. Even I criticize movies made by others and hence expect others to do the same for me. Say anything about my movie, I won't mind that [smiles again]!
But even you have been famous for some of the articles written by you?
And what's wrong in that? In fact there has been a piece of mine that never got published. After all what freedom do I have when I cannot speak my mind? Can't I voice my opinion? Can't I say that I am discontent? After all I am not threatening to endanger a subject!