Saturday, 03 November 2012 00:00 pioneer
The filmmaker is making a biopic on famous Hindi poet and working on Tamil and Marathi projects. The producer, director gets candid about ‘his kind of films' with The Pioneer team
Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana is not a typical Anurag Kashyap film. There are no abuses or violence, no one dies in the film and it’s not even dark. Actor Kunal Kapoor puts it this way, “It’s a Kashraj film. Anurag has added his style of filmmaking to the Punjabi tadka that we wanted to serve, in a way of a film.” Producer of the film, Anurag Kashyap, gets candid about the film and his future projects. Excerpts from the interview.
What is Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana all about?
It will remind people of the Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Basu Chatterjee films. It’s a good mail train. A happy quirky film. It’s not racy thriller like the Shatabdi or Rajdhani. But it builds up and is satisfying — like a regular mail train. It’s not a passenger train either. Director Sameer Sharma had this idea and it was co developed by Kunal Kapoor, even though he has not been credited for that.
What are your other projects in pipeline?
There is Ugly, a film about people in their 40s. It presents how ego plays a central part in wreaking havoc in people’s lives, keeping them away from achieving what they should in their lives. I have been working on it since 2005. It is a deconstructive film, peeling emotions layer by layer. Then there is Bombay Velvet — which has been there from 2006. I am working with Ranbir in that film. It’s about how the city of Mumbai was made, a heady cocktail of policy makers, politicians and corporates much before the underworld took over.
Ranbir seems like an unusual choice for you...
He is the only actor who has not been typecast. He doesn’t have a signature gesture or a look. And he was the one who was very enthusiastic to do the film. I had been following him since Rocket Singh and Wake Up Sid. I gave him a call and said, ‘Boss mere ko tere saath kaam karna hai. I don’t have a script for you but still I want to work with you.’ By coincidence Ranbir got the script for Bombay Velvet and he called me up to say that he wants to do the film. He has taken risks, which no other actor has. The success of Barfi is phenomenal and special. Garnering `100 crore just through word of mouth publicity is amazing. Also you need to keep in mind that other movies that earned business in crores were big budget films, marketed on a huge scale. But Barfi was released with a smaller number of prints, 750 compared to 900 prints of Gangs of Wasseypur. Can you imagine the gains it made?
you getting sufficient money for making your kind of films?
People give me money for two reasons — they think that I am stupid and I don’t understand the logistics of filmmaking. The other set thinks I am economical and they can build profit out of it. But I don’t make movies for money. I make Cadbury ads for money (laughs). So how does my business model work. AKFPL has grown organically. It all started with setting up a backend support system for Dev D, that became a cult hit. That’s when UTV’s Vikas Bahl propped me up. Vikram Motwane came to me with Udaan, having roamed around with the script for seven years. Then we formed a company called Phantom with Bahl, Motwane, Madhu Mantena and myself. We raised money over Facebook to make That Girl In Yellow Boots. I am a nachaniya desperate for an audience and will go to any extent to find it.
I took my films abroad. I was told the Indian diaspora was not interested in them so I took them to festivals and flooded non-diaspora markets. Then once the audience was created, the films garnered a name for themselves, they did well, so that when we released them in India, they were risk-free. We had already recovered the money.
you satisfied with your present way of filmmaking, given that you are involved with about 8-10 projects?
I have created a space for myself and I will do whatever I want with it. I am making films with 40-year-old newcomers. And the way I make films, the process starts a long time before it actually goes on the floor. The research and logistic planning happens much before the actual shooting begins. I work only on what I am shooting. But I need to know everything that’s part of the film. I might not have shown all of Dhanbad in my movie but I know all about the town. Same for BombayVelvet. I will make sure that I know all about Mumbai before it’s made.
Have you ever thought about working on a biopic?
I am making one on the revolutionary Punjabi poet, Pash, Avtar Singh Sandhu. It’s still early to talk about the project but I am working on the script and researching. I came across Dhoomil, famous Hindi poet, when I was making Gulaal. That’s when I got to know about Pash. He was shot dead in Punjab in 1988. Punjab has a rich culture of interesting literature.
If you look at the progressive writers’ movement, there is a strong influence of Punjab in it. The strength of Indian literature lies in the regional languages. The poetry is so strong in the regional languages. In Hindi the problem is with the grammar, as and when it’s translated into English.
So are you working in regional cinema as well?
Yes. We are working on a Tamil Project and a Marathi film. The regional aspects of our literature and cinema haven’t been explored.
There are also talks of you making Doga, the famous superhero of Raj Comics.
We grew up reading Doga. He is a superhero with no superpowers. He doesn’t fly. He gets angry and then suffers because of his aggression. In ways Doga is very akin to the Dark Knight.
Will a journalist ever become an actor in your films?
I don’t look for actors but I am open for story ideas from everyone. I am currently working with Gaurav Solanki who used to work with Tehelka.