Anurag Kashyap slams the scrutiny on his marriage, the social media and the new political scenario.
Who’s Anurag Kashyap afraid of? The media? Because somewhere he alleges that the media, Medusa like, cursed his relationship. But was the relationship so fragile that a few random quotes in the media tore it apart? Or is Anurag actually afraid of relationships? He confirms he’s best friends with his ex-wife Kalki Koechlin. So is Anurag a man who is a fabulous friend but not as fab a husband? In other words, does his commitment phobia come in the way of long-term relationships? We would never know. Consider his career graph. The maverick started off as a champion of story-heavy, star-less cinema. He still champions the cause but has stopped making such films. His latest film, Bombay Velvet has a budget of 110 crores and stars his one time bête noir Karan Johar. But through it all he remains a gentleman. Excerpts from a long rant…
Of late you’ve stopped interacting with the media. Why?
I’m fed up. Today, the media even enters your home. They view things in the way they see the world. If Kalki (Koechlin) and I have problems, (the duo is estranged) we will solve them. We had a problem in our personal life, so we issued an official statement explaining that. But the media jumped to the conclusion that if two people are separating then the reason must be a third person. And if they don’t find the third person then they just blame anyone. And if the couple wants to protect the third person, then that is also taken in a different sense. So what’s the use of talking to the media? They don’t want to talk about work. They are only looking for gossip.
So somewhere you have changed…
I haven’t changed, I am just tired. The media has become a business. When we were young, we were told to read newspapers so that we become aware of the world. But today, not a single newspaper comes home. I have stopped buying them. Everything has become an illusion. Reading news angers me and I don’t want to be angry all the time. When I met Kalki and we began working together on Dev D and later Shaitan, people started saying that the husband keeps on making films for her. Consequently, Kalki decided she would never work with me. Then, the media insinuated there was some problem between us. The media destroyed my personal life. That’s the steep price you pay for being a public figure.
Yes. Your personal life will always come under scrutiny…
That’s why I don’t want to be a public figure. I’m withdrawing from it all. I came here to make films and not to become a public figure. I didn’t come here to be famous.
But fame follows success…
When I came to Mumbai in 1993, directors were not so much in the public eye. Our society is partially napunsak (impotent). They have a herd mentality. Either they start following you like the crowd or pull you down as the crowd. Half of our country doesn’t know what cinema is. When I watch world cinema, I realise how mediocre a filmmaker I am. But I want to grow on the very land, which itself does not want to grow. If you think like this then either people consider you a genius or label you a fool. You wonder why you are stuck with people who don’t want to understand things. Their survival depends on this ignorance. A journalist’s survival depends not on understanding the truth but spreading gossip.
Okay what were the differences between you and Kalki?
There are no differences between us. We are good friends and we will remain good friends forever. We both separated because some things between us had come to an end. This is something between Kalki and me. There is no need for the world to know. Yes, we got married but now we have separated. Why should I discuss the reason and disrespect the person who was part of my life at one point?
Why did you flee Twitter?
I’m not a bhagoda (absconder). But whatever I wrote on Twitter became news the next day. Twitter, for me, was a platform to express myself, discuss and debate things with people and engage them. But if you use it as news and judge me then why should I give you that privilege?
If Kalki and you were not public figures, would you have separated today?
Everything has negative and positive aspects. Maybe, we wouldn’t have met had we both not been in films. I see things positively. I want to focus on work but main rasta bhatak gaya tha because of social networking. Now I’m back on path.
Your Facebook status says you’re not happy with the Narendra Modi government.
For the first time in the history of India, a clear winner has emerged. But after BJP coming into power, the hardliners of RSS have become active. Why is the RSS feeling empowered? The public has voted for the BJP, not the RSS. Why is the RSS behaving as though they can decide what is going to happen in this country. If that happens then it means that the BJP has cheated the public. People should feel free to express their opinions. There are progressive people in the industry. They should think about what their future is going to be like. I freely express my point of view. Bol ke lab azad hain tere. I won’t let go of that freedom at any cost.
What made you present Nisha Pahuja’s documentary The World Before Her?
This film (written and directed by Nisha Pahuja) is about two girls belonging to two different training camps – Ruhi Singh, who aspires to become a Miss India and Prachi Trivedi, a militant Hindu nationalist with the Durga Vahini, the women’s wing of the militant fundamentalist movement. I understood the ideology of Durga Vahini and stopped judging it. You don’t hate Prachi, you sympthaise with her. Releasing such films becomes difficult because you face problems with anything honest. But it doesn’t mean you give up. So I pitched in.
Will you continue supporting such small projects?
I did it earlier because I wanted this kind of cinema to come into the limelight. But now it’s been getting its correct place in the industry. Kiran Rao and Aanand Gandhi are supporting such films. I gave four years of my life to it. Now I have to go back to being a selfish filmmaker.
People are apprehensive whether you will be able to handle a 110 crore film like Bombay Velvet.
Let people say what they want. My budget is 110 crores because it couldn’t have been made in anything less than that. It’s not a usual 110 crore film. No stars have charged fancy fees. Whatever we have spent will be seen on screen. The pressure is in people’s minds, not in mine.
Rishi Kapoor blamed your brother Abhinav Kashyap for the failure of Besharam…
Abhinav made the film with full faith. He made exactly what he had narrated. There were many problems in his film. But why that gadbad happened, that’s important for Abhinav to know and he knows it. Abhinav learnt a lot from Besharam. Now he’s working on his next film sincerely.