June 29, 2022 1:14:57 pm
Written by Vidushi Lal
Director-producer Anurag Kashyap holds forth on his prized DVD collection.
When did you start collecting DVDs?
I started collecting DVDs in 2000. Those days, I was working for filmmaker Vidhu Vinod Chopra for Mission Kashmir (2000). Like every producer, he told me that he would give the signing amount at first and then would pay the rest after the film is done. I asked him to give me a DVD player, which used to be expensive then, instead of the signing amount. He bought me my first DVD player which cost Rs 22,000. When I was working on Hindi dialogues for Water (2005), Deepa Mehta (Indo-Canadian filmmaker and screenwriter) gave me my first six DVDs including The Wild Bunch (1969), Taxi Driver (1976), and Mean streets (1973).
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After that, whenever I had the chance to buy DVDs of films, I would buy them. I collect films from across the world, in all languages. I bought a whole Criterion box set from Chariot Library (a store in Mumbai’s Bandra West that has now shut shop). I didn’t have a lot of money at that time. It cost me Rs 1.5 lakh and I paid the amount over three months.
How many DVDs do you own?
I lost count after 10,000. DVDs have anyways changed to Blu-rays, so I collect them now.
Why do you still collect DVDs?
I collect DVDs because I fear that because of the OTT platforms they would stop publishing those films after a while. Right now, I’m collecting old classics, silent films, and anything else I can lay my hands on. I collect movies in a physical format, mostly in Blu-rays, because not all are present on OTT platforms. Other than that, I want to create a home theatre with a proper sound system, acoustic curtains, and everything.
Do you have any interesting stories regarding some DVDs that you bought?
Once I had gone to the UK for a shoot, and I spent all the money that I was paid at a DVD store. Everyone there was horrified.
With so few places selling DVDs, how do you still manage to collect them?
I don’t buy any DVDs from India. You barely get them here anyways. Whenever someone I know goes to some country and if I want a DVD of a film from there, I ask them to get it for me. For example, Vikramaditya Motwane was in Los Angeles recently. I asked him to get me DVDs from there.
How has your collection changed over time?
I only buy films that I am curious about or films that I’ve already watched at a film festival and liked. That’s my way of paying back to the filmmaker.
How do you take care of your collection?
I know how to clean discs. I usually clean them every two years. They start getting spoiled because of moisture after 4-5 years.
Do you think DVDs will ever come back?
DVDs are now gone, but Blu-rays are here to stay. We even have 4K now. In some form or the other, I think they should stay because a lot of people do want physical copies.
What are some of your all-time favourite movies?
I have a lot of silent-era films that are precious to me. I have rare films by Japanese filmmaker Kinji Fukasaku.
Do you lend your DVDs?
No, I don’t lend anyone anything. DVDs never, no way.
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