Amidst the glamorous world of Bollywood show business, there is one name that stands out. This name is a part of the industry and yet remains a mere spectator, this filmmaker thrives in Bollywood but doesn't follow the typical rules set here. This filmmaker and the flag-bearer of Indian Noir-Cinema, Anurag Kashyap celebrates his 46th birthday today. A name often associated with 'dark', 'political' and uneasily 'real', Anurag is more than what meets the eye.
The new age noir filmmaker rose to recognition first, with Ram Gopal Verma's Satya as a co-writer. He then went on to begin his quest as an independent filmmaker with Paanch, which remains yet unreleased, and Black Friday, which brought him into the public eye because of his guts to tell a story like it was. Things did not fall in place even with his next films like Dev.D and Gulaal. It was only after the release of his gangster-drama series Gangs of Wasseypur that Anurag Kashyap was honoured with the fame that he, as a new wave cinema auteur, deserves.
A favourite among the critics for his boldness, darkness and honesty, Anurag refuses to cite himself or his movies to be dark. He calls them 'Pink Cinema', "When you compare my films to Hollywood’s, they don’t seem so dark. I’m a realist and that’s what I try to portray in my films – and realism includes sarcasm and humour. I enjoy that." Clearly, the man is made up of a lot more than what the audiences witness. A close look at his filmography will prove that his genre isn't explicitly about making people uncomfortable but also of light-hearted entertainers.
The film redefined the quintessential Bollywood comedy-drama. There was still a protagonist and a love story, making up the basis of the plot. But its lead actor wasn't a perfectly-built Hindi film hero. Instead, it was a Punjabi girl (played by Kangana Ranaut), both clumsy and underconfident. It was directed by Vikas Bahl and produced by Anurag Kashyap along Vikramaditya Motwane and Madhu Mantena under their banner Phantom Films.
This Shahid Kapoor-Alia Bhatt starrer still manages to remain a musical-hit, in spite of its lukewarm box office collection. The same filmmakers joined hands to bring out this romantic-comedy, a first of its kind, Shaandaar used the art of animation into a regular film, bringing the best of both worlds.
THE LUNCH BOX
With two mainstream Bollywood actors, Irrfan and Nimrat Kaur, The Lunch Box was the beginning of incorporating art cinema into the Bollywood bracket. The film's open end was a classic move that brought success to it. After having seen spoon-fed climaxes over the years, a norm in Bollywood, The Lunch Box came as a breath of fresh air.
An anthology film, Bombay Talkies was a tribute to 100 years of Hindi Cinema and was directed by Karan Johar, Zoya Akhtar, Anurag Kashyap and Dibakar Banerjee. Swaying away from the regular 'dark' material, Anurag's film was about a son wanting to fulfill his ailing father's wish to feed Amitabh Bachchan half a 'Murabba' and eat the other half.
A bitter failure, Bombay Velvet was Anurag Kashyap's first attempt at making an out-and-out commercial Bollywood film. The film had big stars, glamour, glitz, action, drama, music, dances, costumes and more. Made on a budget of Rs 120 crore, this commercial film grossed only Rs 43 crores.
If you think making films was the only talent Anurag Kashyap has, lo and behold! He debuted as an actor in Sonakshi Sinha's action drama Akira. In the film, he is seen as the bad cop with a funny accent. Director AR Murugodoss said, "I have seen all of his films and never thought about him as an actor. But he has great screen presence. I didn’t expect him to be such a good actor"
The latest addition to Anurag Kashyap's varied collection is Manmarziyaan starring Abhishek Bachchan, Taapsee Pannu and Vicky Kaushal. The filmmaker describes this romantic drama as "messy and chaotic. Because that is how love is." Manmarziyaan is already making all the right buzz. It is slated to release on September 14.
Here's wishing the multi-talented cinephile Anurag Kashyap, a happy birthday!