chat as Anurag Kashyap spreads his wings, he says that becoming a brand should be liberating and not limiting
This past week I saw a different side of Anurag Kashyap. In Delhi to promote his production Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana , he could be seen playing to the gallery for the electronic media. Usually reluctant to engage dumb queries and repeat himself, here Anurag was in a mood to pamper one and all. “The film is releasing on Karva Chauth. You can’t have the real chicken so make do with the filmy one,” was one of the cheesiest lines. Is it the theme of the film, or is the boy with alternative ideas desperate to go mainstream? “Like every normal person, I had both the sides but somehow my serious side came out first and the media lapped it up,” says Anurag as he takes a deep breath after the ‘circus’. “I am being made into a brand but I am not comfortable with the idea. Brand should be liberating, not limiting. I see it as an attempt to limit me and I don’t want to be bracketed.”
But it seems he is falling into the trap. The film is directed by debutant Sameer Sharma, who was conspicuous by his absence but nobody, including most of the media, was missing him. Would the old Anurag have liked the situation if his producer cornered all the glory? “Sameer is busy with post production of the film. So I was asked to promote the first look, but I agree it is not an ideal situation and I would not have liked it if it had happened with a film I was directing. The film belongs to the director.”
A quirky romance, where the protagonists are after a secret recipe called chicken Khurana, the film, maintains Anurag, is not based on any one particular Delhi restaurant chain specialising in a chicken dish.
“There are many examples. In Ludhiana there is a shop which sells malai meat. Nobody knows its recipe and they don’t tell it to anybody. The owner tells it only to his son and this is how it passes on. They don’t even tell their close relatives. In Delhi there is a kachori wala who stands on the Rajpur Road. Nobody knows its recipe. He has made a lot of money but he still comes on a rickety cycle. It is a sort of trade secret.” Starring Kunal Kapoor and Huma Qureshi, the film marks the return of good old Vinod Nagpal as Khurana. “I was not much of a Hum Log fan but I liked his performance. Sameer went to convince him and he easily agreed.”
Like every year, a film has been selected to represent the country at the Oscars and like every year there is disagreement in the media and the film fraternity.
“My film ( Gangs of Wasseypur ) was also in contention so I am no one to comment. You can’t criticise the ‘taste’ of the jury. If you have a problem you should aspire to reach a level where you could change the system and become a jury member.”
Also, he adds, nobody can predict what will work with the Academy Awards’ jury.
“The only thing is I could guess that Barfi would be our entry to the Oscars the day it was submitted before the jury, because it is the Oscar type.
“If The Artist had not won last year, Barfi! would not have been selected. In the current mood a violent film can’t be selected. So instead of dissecting the film for its inspiration we should support the film.
“After all most people liked Barfi! when they first watched it and the film got many favourable reviews.” He continues, “My problem is if the film releases in the stipulated period it should automatically qualify for the jury’s consideration. Why it needs to be submitted, why one has to pay Rs. 50,000 as fees, I fail to understand. Here I agree with Shoojit Sircar whose Vicky Donor was not even considered.”
But before Luv Shuv… , Anurag is supporting another unusual tale in the form of Aiyaa .
“I support a film when I like the script or the genre and the director. It is about a Marathi girl who falls in love with a Tamil artist because he smells good. It is a wakda (crooked) comedy where most characters are filmy. Sachin Kundalkar came with the idea and the request to cast Rani Mukerji.” He says Rani didn’t go away — it was just that “she wanted to do films which were built around her. She has given it one-and-a-half years.”
But the big find of the film could be Prithviraj, the Malayalam star who is making his Hindi debut with Aiyaa . “He is outstanding and his Hindi is very good.
“It is early to compare him with others but he is going to make an impact.”