Chat Anurag Kashyap on the inspiration behind Bombay Talkies

Anurag Kashyap was an emotional bundle when we caught up with him to discuss Bombay Talkies and why he loves to hate Amitabh Bachchan. “I had this story about a guy who idolises Amitabh Bachchan, which is just about everyone’s story in India. When we thought of making Bombay Talkies , I told just about everyone to direct this film – Dibakar (Banerjee), Imtiaz (Ali) and even Raju (Rajkumar Hirani). Everyone told me that this one just had to be directed by me,” he says.

Anurag comes clean on why he was persuading other filmmakers to film his script. “There was a lot of silence between him and me,” he says, constantly referring to the Big B as ‘him’. There have been regular pow-wows between the Bachchan clan and Anurag over the delayed release of the latter’s co-production Chittagong reportedly due to the release of Abhishek Bachchan’s Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Se (2010) on the same subject and the director’s criticism of Amitabh’s acting in Black . The director says that he once got into a Twitter fight with one of Amitabh’s biggest fans who told him that he puts on a façade of hating him because he himself is a big fan of the actor’s work. “It hit me bang on the head.” Then one night, when he was two drinks down, he sent an angry SMS to Amitabh saying he had ‘issues to sort out’, hardly expecting a reply. “He replied in the most serene manner and told me that he would be glad to speak to me. I went across to his home and there he was – the most genteel person I’d ever met. He addressed my issues. I asked him impromptu about this short film. He agreed. And that was it.”

Bombay Talkies is an anthology of sorts created by four filmmakers on the centenary of Indian cinema. Zoya Akhtar, Dibakar Banerjee and Karan Johar are also part of this omnibus of four short films dedicated to the cinema fan. Anurag’s film is about a young man who comes to Mumbai from Uttar Pradesh to fulfil his ailing father’s last wish, which he believes might save his life. The film has been shot largely outside Prateeksha, Amitabh’s house in Mumbai.HARSHIKAA UDASI