Anurag Kashyap: The Maverick Director

By Deepanshu Kaul Philip, Batch of 2016

“School had been nothing less than hell for Ajay. Being new and weak in school, he became prey to the class bully. His other classmates were oblivious to his sufferings. Dejected, he would sit beside the mango tree and aim for the mangoes, every day. One day a stone hit the bully, who happened to pass by. Poor Ajay and the crying bully were summoned to the principal’s office. They eventually let Ajay go, as his other classmates testified and called this his daily habit.” A simple story? Here comes the Anurag Kashyap twist-“The boy was actually practicing everyday to miss the mangoes and hit the bully”.

He is considered as a pioneer, of the alternative and surrealistic cinema that is now emerging in Bollywood. His bold narrative cinema has frequently run into trouble with the censorship board. His cult cinema too, explicit for a certain audience, is nevertheless impactful.
Anurag Singh Kashyap is an Indian film director, producer and screenwriter, who has influenced the Bollywood with noir cinema. Paanch, his unreleased directorial debut received a straight NO from the The Central Board of Film Certification. While Satya got him the Best Screenplay award at the Star Screen Awards, it was Dev D, Gulaal, and the epic duology Gangs Of Wasseypur, that got him commercial success and critics’ acclaim.

Anurag Kashyap has come a long way from struggling and sleeping on street corners to being included in the league of directors who have contributed hugely to the evolution of Indian cinema. His twin banners, Anurag Kashyap Film Production Limited (AKFPL) and Phantom Films, have a dozen films in the pipeline right now. His focus is on strong scripts that succeed to entertain in an unusual way. His own genre being dark and intense, has been typified by the films he has directed, produced and scripted in the past. While his films seem to be grotesquely real, this offbeat artist has marked a territory of his own in filmmaking.

Sexually abused, bullied as a child and often at the receiving end of severe ragging, he brooded over his anguish for years. During his college days, he was into drugs, alcohol, college-fights and even went through a heartbreak. His movies revolve around themes pertaining to societal negatives such as alienation, drug and alcohol abuse, excessive smoking, teenage angst, clinical depression, emotional and mental abuse, arrogance and above all, self-destruction. These are traumatic reflections of his personal life in conjunction with realistic scenarios and excerpts from scandals in day to day life (e.g. the Joshi-Abhayankar Pune murder case reference in Paanch (2003), the 1993 Mumbai blasts in Black Friday (2004), the Black BMW accident and MMS scandal in Dev D (2009), teenage aggression in Udaan (2010)).

A keen observer with an innate ability to analyse human behaviour, Anurag’s sustained exposure to global cinema helped him push the envelope in a conservative Indian film industry. He believes that Indian society, in itself has a lot to offer in terms of captivating stories, Gangs of Wasseypur and Gulaal being examples.

SnorriCam in action.
SnorriCam in action.

He employs innovative directing and shooting methods that give him an edge as a director. The SnorriCam, handheld camera, L cut in transformations and the dubstep background during Gangs of Wasseypur’s scenes are some of them. Kashyap feels that the first-film directors make the most unadulterated and honest films, before they are corrupted by the demands of the audience or commerce. He has an uncanny sense of justice and fair play, when it comes to choosing his film’s directors, actors, music composers etc. A democratic, a visionary and a mentor, he empowers everyone around him. He is the most unalloyed form of a movie lover. His only agenda is movies – to watch them, make them and let others create them too. The latest from his production house- Queen has already received applause and with Bombay Velvet in line, Anurag has certainly got a lot in store for us to look forward to.

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