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Interview Hindi

Anurag Kashyap: Like Mukkabaaz, all my films are very conventional

The filmmaker gets candid about his upcoming film, CBFC and why one just can't escape politics. 

Keyur Seta

Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap is known for dealing with dark, edgy subjects and for having a knack of telling them with his own brand of humour. But with his upcoming flick, Mukkabaaz, he seems to have gone on a more massy or conventional path by telling the story of a boy falling in love with a girl and the two facing opposition. 

During an exclusive chat with Cinestaan.com, Kashyap says that he believes all his films so far have been massy or conventional in nature. He speaks more about Mukkabaaz, the reason for including caste and beef issues in the film and the decision of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) of appointing historians to certify Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavati. Excerpts: 

Is Mukkabaaz a typical boy-meets-girl film? What exactly is it about?

It is actually that kind of a film. There is a boy and girl who meet and fall in love. Then there is a villain and lines are drawn. And in between the journey lies the whole film. 

Those who have seen the film feel it is not a typical Anurag Kashyap film. They feel it falls more into the commercial or popular zone. 

I think I have always been in that zone. I feel all my films have been in the popular or commercial zone. People's definition of massy is different. They feel it shouldn't be uncomfortable. If there are no cuss words, they feel it's massy. 

But whenever one thinks of unconventional films in Hindi cinema, the first name that comes to our mind is Anurag Kashyap. 

I feel all my films are very conventional. For me, cinema is not limited to India. When I look at cinema from different regions, I feel my films are very conventional. I feel our mainstream is very unconventional. Go and ask outside. People will tell you our mainstream films are experimental and unconventional. 

The film also has an angle of caste and beef politics.

There is no specific angle as such. These things automatically come to the plot. You can’t escape politics. Even the packaged water you drink has politics in it. Do you know how many protest at the site where it is created? The cola bottle has politics in it. The price of vegetables going up has politics in it. The price of dal has politics. So, how can you be away from politics? 

The two characters in the film are from different castes in UP, which has still not gotten over the caste thing. Over there people still ask, what is your gotra (family lineage)? These things are there on a daily basis. It's just that they are not in films. Our films have people who are rich or poor. They don’t talk about issues like religion and caste. 

Is there an attempt to make a strong statement in today’s times?

I don't think a filmmaker's job is to be an NGO to make a statement. I am not an NGO. My job is just to show the mirror. It is up to the people as to what they want to see in it.  

Do you foresee any problems with the CBFC?

No, I feel my film is very clear. I am very clear about what I am trying to say through the film. I don’t see any problem arising.

What is your take on the CBFC move of appointing a panel of historians to review Padmavati for historical accuracy?

I wonder why do we need to do that. It is for the I and B Ministry and CBFC to answer this. And who are these historians? What makes them historians? Just because they teach history? Even historians may have their own point of view. So, what if they don’t approve the film? Will you not let it release? 

Then all films are false. No film is accurate. Not just a historic film, but any film for that matter. Can you name one film which is accurate? You can’t. Then they should shut What's App too. A lot of false stories come from there. 

You have been one of the few Hindi film celebrities who fearlessly post their opinions on Facebook, even if it means criticizing the government. But not many people from the industry do that. 

That's unfortunate. People should feel free to say what they like. There's a general fear in the atmosphere because a lot of people don't like listening to contrary opinions. 

How did you take forward the idea of Mukkabaaz brought by actor Vineet Kumar Singh? Any particular reason for having boxing as a sport to convey the point? 

Vineet came to me with the idea. I liked certain things in the script. I disliked certain things. I retained things I liked in it and worked around it. I told him, I will make this film and you train to be a boxer. But in the process of him becoming a boxer, the film kept changing. The deeper you go in the world of sports, the more you realize what films and newspapers don't tell you. 

I wanted to pick up a neglected sport like boxing or wrestling. When Vineet brought the idea to me, it already had boxing in it. So, we went ahead with it. It is about how the system treats the sportsmen of the country. The politics of the place it is set in has to be a part of the film. 

How much are you thinking about the film’s box office prospects? Few other films are also lined up to be released on 12 January 2018. 

No, I am not at all worried thinking about the box office. When you make a film in such a low budget, it isn’t a worry. You get worried only if your budget is high. Yes, it feels good when your film is a hit.