Anurag Kashyap on why he does not want to release his film Ugly with the anti-smoking disclaimer on it
Trust the fiercely independent-minded filmmaker of No Smoking to do this. Anurag Kashyap does not want to release his latest film Ugly with the anti-smoking disclaimer on it. Challenging the Health Ministry’s directive to the Central Board of Film Certification to ensure anti-smoking disclaimers are run during drinking and smoking scenes in films, the filmmaker is going to court.
“I don’t want my audience to get distracted and my film is not an advertisement hoarding for social service messages,” says Kashyap, after screening the film for select journalists in Mumbai recently. “And I as a filmmaker will not take on the charitable stance of ridding society of all its ills. And the health ministry can't do both: take revenue from the tobacco industry and make it my responsibility to educate people about why they should avoid tobacco. I take my films seriously.”
Ugly, a dark drama thriller about the ugly side of people in the face of adversity, is Kashyap at his very best. The film kicks off when a child is kidnapped in broad daylight on a Saturday and the investigation brings in twists and turns with every passing day, revealing an ugly side of every party involved. Ugly holds back no punches. It hits you hard, provokes and disturbs but also makes you smile when you least expect to. “It is actually a drama in the garb of a thriller,” the director says.
The big reveal in the end would be ruined just because of the distracting disclaimer. “I will not put the disclaimer. I will fight it out, no matter how long it takes. I can afford to do this now.”
Ugly premiered at the Director’s Fortnight at Cannes earlier this year and received a standing ovation and rave reviews from critics internationally. The film was scheduled to release in the first week of November.
“I had reached a certain comfort level with my team that I didn't even have to tell them what to do. They all knew the script. They would set up the shot because they knew what I wanted,” Kashyap explains working with a very different team, having replaced his regular director of photography Rajeev Ravi with Greek cinematographer Nikos Andritsakis who shot Shanghai and Love, Sex Aur Dhokha, just to reinvent his style.
“I had to do this before I got into Bombay Velvet,” says Kashyap, who is halfway through shooting his 90- crore dream project in Sri Lanka, reuniting with Rajeev Ravi, for his most expensive film till date starring Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, Manish Chaudhary and Karan Johar.
How was it shooting with a bigger budget?
“I spent most of the money on production design to make it look like the Bombay of that period, but otherwise I shoot like how I do. I treat the set like a real location. I hide the cameras and capture the action from far, so my actors don't know where the camera is. The lighting budget for Velvet is less than what it was for Paanch,” he reveals, much to our disbelief, as he gives us a sneak peek at the spectacularly shot rushes.