Faridoon Shahryar (FS): We have with us the director who for the first time was a part of a music video. His beautiful wife, Kalki Koechlin, made a video for him on his birthday. In the company of his beautiful wife, even he was looking handsome and smart. So, Anurag Kashyap, huge pleasure to have you back on Bollywood Hungama and belated Happy Birthday to you!
Anurag Kashyap (AK): Thank You!
FS: You were looking very charming in that music video…
AK: Meri biwi ki energies mere upar aa jaati hai (laughs)!
FS: Yes, and it shows! You were blushing and it was going entirely with the mood.
AK: I am always blushing when I am with her!
FS: Ha ha! But she says that you don’t find time for her and she has to contact you on Twitter kyonki aap phone nahi uthaate!
AK: Kya kar sakta hoon? Kaam itna badh gaya hai. Do-do, teen-teen film release ho rahi hai
FS: And you’ve been travelling a lot as well…
AK: Yes. I love travelling!
FS: Tell us about ‘Aiyyaa’ because many people say that it’s not a regular Anurag Kashyap production in the first place. It looks like a full-on entertainer.
AK: It is and I think that even ‘Gangs Of Wasseypur’ was an entertainer. Also, regular is too limiting a term. When you say that something is ‘regular’, you are defining somebody’s body of work in very close brackets. It means that something needs to be done. Agar log mereko bolne lagenge ki ye regular Anurag Kashyap film nahi hai, to main bahut khush ho jaaungaa kyonki ‘regular’ word se bahut darr lagta hai. Agar koi ‘regular’ bolne lag gaya to uska matlab ki log mujhse ek hi cheez expect karne lage hai.
FS: You recently said on Twitter that ‘I love good indies. Good does not mean all indies. I am a filmmaker and not NGO for indies. There I said it’. In context to the tweet, there are certain groups of people who would want you to make certain kind of cinema…
AK: I have been fighting for my cinema. I was initially fighting to get them released. I was fighting to get them made. Then some people joined along. Unki film dekh ke achchi lagi to maine produce kar di. Abhi aisa ho gaya ki har aadmi ko lagta hai ki uski film main hi produce karunga! Aur har aadmi jo film bana leta hai, usse lagta hai ki main release karwa lunga! To mere office mein roz 7-8 log phone karte hai aur kehte hai ki ‘yeh meri film dekh lo’, ‘isko help kar do’, etc. Aur meri itni capacity nahi hai. Pichle 7 mahino se main promotions kar raha hoon ya release karwa raha hoon. To inn 7 mahino mein maine creative kaam nahi kiya hai. Hence, I feel suffocated sometimes. Mein picture banana chahta hoon. Mera koi ambition nahi hai ki main studio khada karna hai, bada aadmi banna hai ya paise banane hai. Mera ambition tha ki kuch picturein along the way I was able to help them, get them released, usme company bhi ban gayi, bahut kuch ho gaya. Par abhi suddenly market pressure aane laga ki company ko expand karo, aur filmein produce karo, investors bhi aa gaye. Mera filmmaker ka brain hai, producer ka brain nahi hai. Ek YRF khade karne ke liye Adi (Aditya Chopra) had to sacrifice filmmaking. Usne 3 filmein banayi hai ab tak, pichle 15-16 saalon mein. Main mar jaungaa agar mujhe aisa karna pada to. So I have to make that choice now. I have got Phantom Films, which is handled by people, who are enabled producers. But my love is making films and I want to start doing it.
FS: You retweeted ‘Ashim Ahluwalia is arrogant because he’s against Bollywood; Anurag is not because he’s a sellout’. So it’s like damned if you don’t do and doomed if you do!
AK: Absolutely. A lot of people have called me sellout and that’s okay because unko lagta hai ki Anurag Kashyap commercial hote jaa rahe hai. But the thing is, meri filmon mein hamesha se gaane the. Meri filmon mein hamesha kuch ek alag tarah ki cheez thi. ‘Aiyaaa’ to kisi ne dekhi nahi hai. To unko kya pata uske baare mein? ‘Aiyyaa’ apne aap mein ek unique film hai jo easily mainstream mein translate karti hai. Mere hisaab se film acchi hota hai ya buri hoti hai. Aur commercial film mere liye woh hai jo chalti hai. Aur non-commercial woh hoti hai jo nahi chalti hai. To mera definition hamesha se yehi rahi hai. I cannot have people who are fans. Fans often become fans upon seeing one or two aspects of you. I find that very limiting because baahar rehke maine jo dekha hai ki saare actors ka ek fan base hota hai. Aur woh constantly uss fan base ko khush karne ki koshish karte rehte hai. Their arguments begin with ‘my fans would reject me if I do so-and-so’ or ‘I am not going to disappoint my fans’. All this lasts for sometime. And then the same fans start getting bored with them and they complain that ‘why don’t you go out and do something else’? But by then, it becomes too late. So, I don’t want fans who’ll limit me.
FS: In fact, in a magazine interview, you were asked that you have fans who are absolutely zealous about you and it is these fans that you have to be wary of.
AK: I am fighting my fans, I am telling you. My battle with the industry is over. The industry has accepted me. My battle with fans has begun.
FS: Aap bahut imaandari rakhte hai in the sense whoever is associated with you, you don’t want them to lose money. And you have been relentlessly pursuing this concept post-No Smoking and it’s working as well. To usme burai kya hai? Bahut se log hai jo picture nahi, items banate hai. At times, it becomes vulgar after a point. They are selling items, concepts, stars and stuff like that. Aapka concept yeh hai ki aap imaandari se kuch cheez rakhna chahte hai. Agar woh entertaining hai, to usme burai kya hai? Agar ‘Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana’ entertaining hai, to usme burai kya hai? Why does it have to dark all the time?
AK: Absolutely, koi burai nahi hai. Jo bhi hai, woh natural aur organic hona chahiye. Main jo karna chahta hoon, woh main karoonga. Usko karte samay meri zimmedaari hoti hai towards somebody who has given me the money. Main nahi chahta ki uska nuksaan ho. That same philosophy applies to everything. That doesn’t mean ki ‘main ek tarah ki filmein banaunga’. Mujhe apne aap ko expand karne ki zaroorat hai.
FS: Rani Mukerji doesn’t want to make a dark film made by you…
AK: Rani will work in a dark film but not with me. Rani says that I’ll work in a dark film if a filmmaker who has never made a dark film before is making it. ‘Tere saath woh kaam kyon karu, jo tu dusron ke saath kar chuka hai?’ is what Rani said. She added that ‘Tu aur main kuch light karenge. Tu duniya bhar ke saath dark film karungi, par tere saath nahi’. I respect that point of view. But I also need to open my windows. Mujhe bhi apne safety zone se nikalna padega. Also, I can’t force it because if I do that, I’ll make a terrible film.
FS: You’ve written a ‘Shakalaka Boom Boom’ so…
AK: Woh to dialogues likhta tha. Dialogue likhna is not writing. Waise to maine badi-badi classics likhi hai. Aur aisi-aisi classics likhi hai ki achche-achche na likh paaye!
FS: You are also fighting racist remarks. People have alleged that aapne South Indians ka mazaak udaa rahe hai…
AK: I feel that people who are reacting to it are reacting from their own deep-rooted complex because I don’t understand that how can they accuse somebody based on one dialogue. It’s a matter of choice. It is based on how we are conditioned. Hum log gore aur kaale ko kaise dekhte hai. And this character is coming from there and speaking that line. So in a way, you are making fun of ourselves. Aur agar isko koi aadmi galat tarike se dekhta hai to uss aadmi ke long, suppressed issues hai. Agar koi aadmi intentionally keh raha hai ki mujhe gora log nahi, kaale log pasand hai, to baat alag hai. Iss character ka intention hi woh nahi hai. Aur India mein aaj kal aadmi jaldi react karta hai, bahut jaldi comment karta hai aur bahut jaldi opinion form karta hai. 3 minute ke trailer mein ek line ko dekhke agar koi object karne lag jaaye, to woh aadmi ka opinion matter nahi karta mere liye.
FS: But many a times, the filmmaker love these controversies and such controversies are in fact created…
AK: But my problem is, my career started with controversies revolving around me and my perception is that I am a guy who is controversial, who tries to create controversy, etc. If I have to provoke people, I would actually bring them into the theatre, provoke them and provoke their morality and not create a frivolous controversy of what they are accusing me of.
FS: Is it fair to say that Rani wanted to do somewhat different for Dreamum Wakeupam in context to Ooh La La…
AK: I don’t think so because Dreamum Wakeupam is a miniscule part of the film. It’s about a woman who doesn’t speak a word in Tamil. She watches Midnight Masala on TV and she started fantasizing about the song. The whole instruction of the song is that it should be in Tamil and the Tamil that a person makes up who doesn’t know the language. The film plays on the clichés that we have about everything. So I wanted a song like that. But the song should reach out and should not be gibberish.