Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Indians don’t like to give credit to people for their work

Posted by Sid
April 11th, 2007

Anurag Kashyap definitely needs no introduction. The man behind Black Friday and a hoard of other films is undoubtedly the most known and credited scriptwriter in the industry today. Despite being a busy director, he still finds out time to write films and is exploring new avenues as a screenwriter by writing the narration for the Hindi version of the Oscar winning documentary film ‘March of the Penguins‘.

IndiaFM had a tête-à-tête with him where he spoke about his experiences on this film and his other projects as well.

While writing the narration for ‘Penguins: A Love Story’, have you just translated the French version in Hindi or added a lot of your own to the narration?
There is a lot more that has been added. The French version has been used as the basis at large. The sound track and everything is from the French version and not the American one. The American version doesn’t use the original sound. The narration was written because it was to be voiced by Mr Amitabh Bachchan. Keeping that in mind it was completely approached like that. It has a lot of details of the penguins. The narration is not very detached like the American version which has Morgan Freeman’s voice. It is more like documentation, it’s more personal. Mr Bachchan’s voice is more intimate and more personal. His voice is not used in the way that it is normally used. It reaches out to you. It’s more off a spoken language, broken down.

The narration by Amitabh Bachchan is not very detached like the American version which has Morgan Freeman’s voice.
Even for Water, you were credited in the titles as ‘Hindi translator of dialogues’. So was your role in this film similar as that of Water?
I wrote the dialogues for Water. It was one of my earliest films and I got credited this way. I guess I was a fool then. In this film my role wasn’t similar. I wrote the narration for this film. In a documentary there is only a narration. So all you can do for a documentary film is write the narration. All the information was already provided and the film was already shot. So it was far more easier to do this. The only difficulty was to find the spoken quality and a voice which is suitable.

The film is released in India with Amitabh Bachchan’s voiceover in Hindi and English languages. Have you written the script for both the Indian versions (Hindi and English)?
I wrote the script for the Hindi version. The English version was an adaptation of the Hindi version. And both the Tamil and Telugu versions were adaptation of the Hindi version.

In fact the English narration by Amitabh Bachchan for the Indian version is preferred by the French producers over the English narration by Morgan Freeman in the American version. Even for the DVD of the film, Amitabh Bachchan’s voiceover has been selected over Morgan Freeman’s for the English language. The French producers endorse this version over the American one.

Amitabh Bachchan makes anything sound incredible. It gives you a feeling that you are a good writer.
Since you might have obviously seen the film, how did you like it?
I loved it. I am not yet objective about the film but very subjective about it. Half the time I was in love with hearing Mr Bachchan speaking my lines.

So you think Mr Bachchan has done justice to your script?
He makes anything sound incredible. It gives you a feeling that you are a good writer.

The best producers for your work are those who respect your copyright and respect your work.
Would you like to write for an Indian documentary, if given a chance?
It depends on the subject. Documentary is not something that I would want to do as in looking out for a subject. If I come across a subject that moves me I will definitely do it.

Since you and Amitabh Bachchan are the only two people involved in the Indian version of this Oscar nominated film, does it feel great?
It has won the Oscars even before we were involved. However, it’s a great feeling to be a part of a film which has won so many accolades. The good part is that the French producers respect the copywriters. Like you took the example of Water, the amount of work I put in, how I wrote all the dialogues and hell of a lot of things were re-written. But I was credited as translator of Hindi dialogues because I didn’t sign a contract. They could not have managed to do that with Fire or Earth because they had senior writers. While doing Water I was only one film old with Satya. The best producers for your work are those who respect your copyright and respect your work. Water was a terrible experience, which reminds me I also did a film called ‘The Goal‘ where I hardly collaborated a day or two and my name is officially credited as a consultant. But you realize when it comes to India, Indians are the cheapest people the world over. They don’t like to give credit to people for their work. And I saw that a lot in Water with Deepa Mehta. A.R. Rehman is also unhappy with Deepa Mehta by the way he is credited in the film. It’s the fellow Indians who treat Indians like shit.

After writing avant-garde scripts, do you think you went the conventional way by writing dialogues for masala films like Shakalaka Boom Boom?
Shakalaka Boom Boom is the pits of my career. I got involved with the film and wrote for the film. But half of the things I wrote aren’t even there. For me the biggest lesson I learnt from it was that never ignore the instinct. My first instincts were not to do the film. I told myself that when I do something like that I will charge a lot of money. The money promised to me never came my way. There were various other people in the film that I counted on and depended on and in the end got the most flak for it and I can’t get away from it because I have done it. All I can do is apologize to the audience and to myself and make sure that next time I do it I get paid Rs 50 lakhs for it.

Shakalaka Boom Boom is the pits of my career. My first instincts were not to do the film. But I ignored my instincts
You are also writing dialogues for the sequel of Hanuman. Is it any different, writing dialogues for an animated film?
No. The film is animated after you have written the script. I am just doing the dialogues. There are other people also involved. There is Amit who has worked with me on the script. There is VG Samant who has created the character. There is Abhilash and Upendra from Percept who are animation film directors. So there are a lot of people involved to make that one animation film happen. In the end I might get the most credit for it but it also involves a lot of other people as well.

Does the film have 2D or 3D film animation?
Both, its 2d and 3d. Its very high quality work

Is it a mythological episode like the prequel or contemporary?
It’s more contemporary. Hanuman in the modern world.

What do you think is the future of animated films in India?
I think the future of animation films is just like any other films in India. Animation is the future. Lots of films are being made on animation. It’s not only about Mandrake or Phantom. Cinema is changing, the world is changing. Everything is changing. At a time of globalization, anything that is good will work in the world.

Finally what is the status of for directorial venture No Smoking?
The shooting is over. We are looking for the release somewhere in August or September. I cannot decide because I first want to ready the film

Anurag Kashyap On The Upcoming Indie Movies

Tanya Palta April 10, 2007

Director Anurag Kashyap’s blog Passion For Cinema always make for an interesting read. Here are some excerpts from a recent article by the talented director and his take on some upcoming "Indie” movies. Go here for the full article.

MANORAMA-SIX FEET UNDER, India’s first truly original noir set in a small town reminds me of TAVERNIER’S “COUP DE TORCHON“ reminds me of jim thomson and the way he looked at how NAVDEEP “NOPI” SINGH looks at his lakhot..from the way its written, sparse, moody, from the protaganist’s POV, a failed pulp novelist,now contributing to manohar kahaniyaan, wanting to be a detective played by always brilliant Abhay Deol..getting himself into a situation he can’t get out of..the entire noir thriller set in a sleepy town..where neighbors are more interested in the other ones life..where everyone wants a break from daily mundanity..where every one has all the time and everybody works for the government..extraordinary performances from Gul Panag, Sarika, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Vinay Pathak,Raima sen, Nowazuddin And Jogi..the control and the restraint from showing off and sensationalising elements, the attention to detail by this director makes you relook at what you have not been made me feel inadequate..however much i want to discuss this film i can’t because its still in post production and its not my film..but its so bloody brilliant that i am ready to put my ass on line..its one of the best i have seen..

BHEJA FRY-the entire audience in the theatre was rolling with laughter..i could not do this one..infact i didn’t do this one.. i grossly underestimated it..and i am so bloody happy that i was dead wrong..SAGAR BELLARY proves it that i am an ass..and i wonder how does the rajat kapoor gang always does it..making a film for sixty lakhs with so much talent and original songs and non stop fun..sunil doshi and rajat kapoor i guess are the only bonafide independent filmmakers we have in this country of so much that calls itself independent and is far from the film, a comedy of manners.. an extra ordinary vinay pathak, who fancies himself as the true K L Saigal follow up.. a man who imagines his life is devoted to music , looking for that elusive break gets invited for a dinner by a music producer and all hell breaks loose.. based on a french comedy..this is a through the roof rollercoster..and the fun just becomes completely multiplied when Ranvir shorey enters the scene..this film and knowing what he has done in my film, i can say that Ranvir Shorey is the single most versatile actor we have and bloody brilliant and underrated.. all these familywalas who keep nominating there friends and sons and lovers and ignore this brilliant actor..i want to see how long can they ignore him.. like that dialogue from Goodfellas.. the guy will keep coming back and slam you with performances one after the other that you will have to be dead to ignore him .. uday chopra nominated for comedy for dhoomX, in his ten lives and all the money is not a split end of a hair on this man’s talent..this film is seriously ha ha and bloody celebration of low budget cinema.. it makes one feel that its not so bleak out there.. if you want to, you can, and how..

Monday, April 9, 2007

“I was always confused,” says Anurag Kashyap

[Interview by Faridoon Shahryar]
Monday, February 05, 2007

He is a maverick writer whose work you appreciated in films like ‘Satya’, ‘Yuva’ and ‘Nayak’. He was also the consultant on ‘Guru’ and ‘Water’. His stint with direction is going to see the dark confines of cinema hall as ‘Black Friday’ (A film on Mumbai Bomb Blasts of 1993) releases this Friday. His yet unreleased works ‘Paanch’ and ‘Gulal’ may also find a release this year as he is getting on with his next directorial venture ‘No Smoking’ with John Abraham. Meet Anurag Kashyap as he talks in a bluntly honest interview about ‘Black Friday’, why Mr Bachchan is making a fool of himself and why he shares ‘creative differences’ with Mani Rathnam on ‘Guru’.

How do you feel about your first release ‘Black Friday’?

It is my first release. I don’t know what to feel. It’s been so many years of excitement, ups and downs. I am excited but I can’t express it.
You had done a lot of research, the locations, pulse of people….

We shot the film on all the real locations. We had a team of three people who went everywhere and collected all the material. They got in touch of all the real people, the victims of the blasts to police officers. I personally met Rakesh Maria (the police chief who cracked the case, attended the TADA Court, we got video interviews, press releases, newstrack interviews, got the photographs from the press photographers, read all the published materials, NFDC news reel….Lot of work went into it…
Apparently the High Court stay happened because the film was passing a judgement….

The High Court said that before the Tada Court has announced its verdict, the film should not give its verdict on people who are accused. We postponed the release. The moment the verdict came out, the producer appealed in the Supreme Court and we were cleared.
‘Paanch’ couldn’t see the light of the day, then ‘Black Friday’, did you get used to it….

(Laughs) Nobody can get used to it. After ‘Paanch’ I didn’t do anything for two years. Couldn’t understand why it’s happening. But after ‘Black Friday’I started writing other stuff. I didn’t give myself time to think.
Vijay Mourya has a striking similarity with Dawood Ibrahim…

Vijay Mourya wanted to play Dawood Ibrahiim from the beginning. I know him as he is my friend. He was also part of ‘Paanch’. But you tend to take your friends for granted. I said no, this is a serious movie, we are not doing ‘Paanch’ or something. He didn’t speak for me for one month. He kept at home, didn’t meet anybody, he grew a moustache and gave me a screen test. He arranged the whole attire. That’s how he got the role.
What about Pawan Malhotra as Tiger Memon?

He is brilliant in the film, simply superb. Probably he is more Tiger Memon than Tiger Memon himself. That’s how good he is. And he also auditioned for the role. KK didn’t audition because when I was writing the film, I only had him in mind. And KK has a striking similarity with Rakesh Maria.
Black Friday is based on Hussain Zaidi’s book….How did you adapt from the film?

First I read the original manuscript. I’ve read the book twice or thrice. Then the process was what to keep and what not to keep as the book is lot more in detail. We decided to go with the central case….the blast and the investigation…And only go with those people who planted the bombs, were part of the conspiracy and what the conspiracy was.
Have you ever received any phone calls from underworld?

Not yet. I’ve not been threatened. I’ve only been warned by friends, but kuch hua nahin.
Did you always want to be a director or a writer?

(Laughs) I was always confused. When I came here I wanted to do theatre, I wanted to do something with cinema, I didn’t know what. Then I started writing. I wanted to make films but that was just a desire. But I also wanted to run a cinema hall. Now, I want to write and make my own films.
Even though ‘Paanch’ and ‘Black Friday’ didn’t release you kept writing for other directors. ‘Satya’, ‘Yuva’, you were a consultant for ‘Guru’ etc….

I kept writing. I still write stuff that I believe in. Either I write for money or my passion or faith in the work or the film. So, I’ve continued writing and I shall write time and again. All the work that is coming out is what I’ve done over eight years.
How do you plan to strike a balance between commercial and serious artistic cinema?

I think I am very commercial. I don’t want to bore people. Either you are doing something completely for artistic reasons, then there has to be a clarity that you are doing it for artistic reasons and don’t try and sell it in the commercial market.
Can we see you doing escapist cinema?

I don’t know how you define escapist cinema. According to me, ‘No Smoking’ is an out and out commercial, escapist cinema