Anurag Kashyap talks about his reluctance to work with stars, working in his comfort zone, and how the success of Gadar 2 helps smaller films.
Anurag Kashyap’s brand of cinema has always been more about content and less about the faces. From his humble beginnings with Paanch and Black Friday to more recent outings like Kennedy, stars have hardly populated his films. In a recent chat with DNA, the filmmaker spoke about his reluctance to work with big names and why the stars’ fans can sometimes be their ‘enemies’.
Kashyap says he is averse to formula in storytelling and repeating things. “Formula is the worst thing. If you have found your formula, your downfall begins then,” he says. Kashyap recalls the one time he tried branching out into ‘commercial formula’ when he made Bombay Velvet, a big budget film with stars (Ranbir Kapoor and Anushka Sharma). “I tried making a big film with stars and big budget thinking main phod doonga (I will smash it),” he recalls.
Alas, Bombay Velvet ended up being a commercial failure, something Kashyap mentions, tongue firmly in cheek. “But I could not. Main khud phoot gaya (I got smashed myself). So, I decided to stick to what I knew better. Now, I am content,” says the filmmaker with a smile on his face.
But Bombay Velvet’s commercial failure is not the only reason that keeps the filmmaker away from stars, he shares. There is also the fans’ expectations that come along with a huge star. “I avoid stars now because with stars come their massive fan followings. They are fanatics. You will have to cater to them. If you go against the expectations they have from their stars, you and the star both will be cancelled. I equate this with cricket. I Kohli gets out on 96, people won’t be happy about the 96 he scored but be sad about the four he could not make to reach his century. People have reverse mentality,” he says.
Kashyap adds that sometimes, without wanting to, fans end up being their idols’ enemies as they hinder growth. He explains, “Fans actually make you but unknowingly, they are your enemies too. They don’t let you grow. So, I feel very fortunate that I am in a space where I can make the film I want when I want, if I stay in a limit.”
Although the filmmaker’s films have often made money too, he has stayed away from focussing too much on the box office. He says he does not believe in the competitive nature of the box office. “There is no competition in art. They create this competition by saying ‘this film made this much while that film made that much’. I am saying it’s a good thing that films make money. Gadar 2 will make money, which goes to Zee Studios, which puts that money in films like Haddi and Kennedy. You are reaping the benefits of all that. Why should I compare,” asks the director matter-of-factly.
Anurag Kashyap was most recently seen sharpening his acting skills as the antagonist in Nawazuddin Siddiqui-starrer Haddi. He is also set for the India release of his acclaimed film Kennedy, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. The film features Rahul Bhat and Sunny Leone in pivotal roles.