I am told I’m not commercial enough: Anurag Kashyap

As filmmaker Anurag Kashyap gets ready for yet another trip to Cannes with four movies.

Written by Alaka Sahani | Published: May 1, 2013 1:05:13 am

As filmmaker Anurag Kashyap gets ready for yet another trip to Cannes with four movies,he talks about the need for this platform.

Anurag Kashyap had his first brush with the razzmatazz and marketing hype of Festival de Cannes in 2010. Udaan — the coming-of-age story of a boy,produced by him and directed by Vikramaditya Motwane — featured in the “Un Certain Regard” section and got a warm reception. Two years later,his ambitious coal mafia saga,Gangs of Wasseypur I and II,directed,co-written and co-produced by him,was screened as part of the Directors’ Fortnight amidst much hype. The same year,Mumbai-based crime thriller Peddlers,directed by Vasan Bala and and co-produced by him,was chosen for the Cannes Critics’ Week.

However,it’s the upcoming edition of the festival,which opens on May 15,that’s going to register strongest presence of the Kashyap camp. “We are all very excited over four of our movies being selected for Cannes,” says the director. Among India’s list for Cannes is ensemble movie Bombay Talkies,for which Kashyap has directed one of the four segments; kidnap drama Ugly written and directed by him; and his two co-productions Lunchbox and Monsoon Shootout.

For Kashyap,taking his films to Cannes is a well-planned move. “I went to Cannes because I needed that platform. My films were not releasing in India and I was told that I am not commercial enough. I wanted to find an audience that wants to watch my movies,” says the filmmaker,known for his candour. His Cannes plan paid off as he believes that once his movies were screened there,he got an eager audience in India. “I have come in from the outside. So,I can’t ever abandon the outside,” he says.

Taking his films to the festival has also opened doors for co-productions. Kashyap cites Lunchbox,directed by Amit Kumar,and Monsoon Shootout,directed by Ritesh Batra,to prove his point and says that money has come for these movies on the basis of their script. His presence in the international festival circuit,coupled with selection of interesting projects and marketing plan,has put the producer-director in a self-described “enviable space”. “Today,I get to make the kind of movies I want to make,” says Kashyap,who is at present giving finishing touches to Ugly.

One of the secrets of his current happy and creative space is the support system he has. And this is largely because of the role of “an enabler” that Kashyap has taken up for several talented people in this field. “We are not a lifestyle company. People who work here are workers. We are like ants. In the larger scheme of things,we don’t matter. But within it,there is a colony. And there is no queen bee here. We make our own decisions and mistakes,” says Kashyap,who is part of three film companies — Anurag Kashyap Films Pvt Limited (AKFPL),Sikhya Entertainment and Phantom. Working with talented people,he believes,has benefited him. “They are so good that I draw inspiration from them. As long as I am surrounded by genuinely good filmmakers,I will remain a reasonably good filmmaker,” he says.

Once back from Cannes,Kashyap will travel to Sri Lanka in search of the ’60s Bombay. His next,Bombay Velvet,an ambitious period drama featuring Ranbir Kapoor and Anushka Sharma in the lead,will be shot there. “We need to create Bombay of the Sixties with Art Deco buildings around. Anywhere you look in Mumbai,construction work is going on. There is no footpath and buildings are all around,” says Kashyap,explaining his choice of location.

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