He is 50 shades of black, and suspects all those who are constantly bright. Anurag Kashyap tells Shubarna Mukerji Shu that he will eventually do everything he wants to do.
“I don’t do magazine interviews, you all make everything into gossip!” he grunted while asking me to sit comfortably. For a man who hates to be typecast, Anurag Kashyap is quick with his opinions and pretty judgmental too, one would say… But he isn’t sticking to his prejudices, and neither should we. With Bombay Velvet done and dusted, he is coming up with more films, some that you expect from him, some that you don’t.
Raman Raghav 2.0, a film about a serial killer…. Do you realise that you are now forbidden from making anything that’s not dark? …Having fought so hard to remain a non-conformist that you now HAVE to conform to being a non-conformist?
That’s the irony of it all. You nailed it, hard on the head. I have become typecast. I don’t know what I should do to not be typecast. I have always done what I wanted to do; I will always do the same. For me, I am fine when they say ‘All your films are dark’ – that is okay with me. They are dark but they are all very different. UGLY is very different from say, Gangs Of Wasseypur, which is different from a Dev D, or a Gulaal. Yes, they are all dark films. If you are going to talk in terms of black and white, they are all black but they are varied. So call my films dark and leave me alone, I am fine with it.
That said, you still have to play to the gallery…
Yes, but my gallery is very small, my audience has increased but they are still a small section as compared to the others. I have had my own realisation when it comes to people who like my movies – most of my audience download my movies, the others are usually educated working people who enjoy my films but they are not the first day, first show audience. They will see the film when they have time, they are working people. So my films will not get an opening. People will eventually see them but by then it becomes a non-revenue model. They mostly see it on DVD. One day when the streaming becomes strong, I will probably make more money than the others, until then I will have to work backwards.
How comfortable are you working backwards?
I have always been comfortable doing it! I have never had money to make my movies; I have always worked with a budget. It is a habit; I am totally trained to work on a shoe string budget. There are times when I feel like I could do with a bigger house, when I tell that to Madhu (Mantena) he promptly tells me to make another WASSEYPUR…!
And you wouldn’t do something as predictable! However, for someone who has created a niche, has it always been easy guiding people towards your vision? Answering their questions, giving them what they need…?
It has been 23 years for me, in this industry. As a filmmaker the first thing I have learnt to do is not to cater to other peoples’ expectations. If people are looking for an answer, that’s their lookout. The responsibility is not on me, I don’t HAVE to answer. They have to figure out their own answers. I am very good at abandoning people; I started doing that a long time ago. If people are any good, I abandon them. Assistants, people I care for… I abandon them. I make them go out and make their own journey. If they cannot stand on their own feet, there is really nothing I can do about it.
I cannot have them forever dependent on me, they will be a burden.
Even my fans… I am not a big fan of fans. In the sense that fans limit you, they put shackles. You make a DEV D, they want you to make it again, you make a WASSEYPUR; they want sequels. These people will not let you grow. It is the fans who do not let the stars grow; they are the reason why actors have stunted growth. They do not allow room for experiments. It is best to ignore fans. I want my journey to be about me, it cannot be theirs, so I have to continue on my own.
That’s a double-edged sword….
It is! And I can control that double-edged sword if I control my budgets. I couldn’t do that in Bombay Velvet! If my budget is less it doesn’t matter if people come to see my film or not, my budgets are so low that I do not need them. So I don’t have a problem as such! When I went with Ranman Raghav… the first question I was asked was who will be the stars in it. I said, ‘Why are you asking me that?’ They were like, ‘It depends on the stars you want; that will determine the budget of the film’.
I told them to give me a budget and I would make it in that. Madhu asked if I would make it in Rs.3.5 crore (which is less than the budget we had for UGLY). I have made Raman Raghav 2.0 in less than that. It is a little more than Rs.3 crore.