India Masala

Bollywood and culture in an emerging India

Anurag Kashyap – the industry ‘outsider’

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Mumbai, (Reuters) – Anurag Kashyap hasn’t slept in four days. He’s been writing his next film and doesn’t want to stop till it’s done. When we walk into his suburban terraced apartment he’s beaming because he’s just finished writing the climax, which he informs you, before he’s even been introduced to you, he is very happy with. He offers you some tea, shows you clips from his new film “That Girl in Yellow Boots”, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival, all the while chatting animatedly with his assistants about shooting schedules and movies. In an industry where it’s all about being politically correct, Kashyap is delightfully candid, speaking about himself and the world he inhabits with an honesty that is difficult not to appreciate. Not that, that should come as a surprise – he is after all the “hat ke” film maker of Bollywood, the rebel, the one who is out to change the way the game is played. “Dev D”, his modern adapation of Sharat Chadra Chattopadhay’s classic Devdas was what many critics termed a turning point for Bollywood and the way it makes films. Anyone else who hadn’t slept for four days would barely be able to stay coherent, but Kashyap is buoyant, alive and itching to move on to the next task. Can you really write a film in four days, I ask him? “Of course you can,” he tells me gleefully. “I think about my films for a long time, maybe years, but I write them in days. He shoots them in days too, apparently. “That Girl in Yellow Boots” was shot in less than thirteen days, in an industry where it takes longer to shoot a song sequence. “That’s because I am an economical film maker,” he says. “I shoot one scene in one way and don’t make any changes. That way there is less wastage.” That is evident from the minimalist feel that most of his films exude. There are no extravagant dance sequences, or magnificent sets, long monologues where the protagonists rue their lot in life. Instead, the milieu is everyday, as is the language. “I think it comes from the fact that I am from a small town and everything there is so normal. I think the perspective that small-town directors bring to films is very different,” he says. That perspective is now going into other films. Kashyap turned producer this year, with “Udaan”, a coming of age tale set in small-town India, which was an official entry at the Cannes film festival this year and opened to rave reviews in India. ““It is an entirely selfish decision to turn producer, because I want my kind of cinema to last and flourish, and helping young film makers make those kind of films is the best way to do it,” he says. Born in a small town in Eastern UP, Kashyap first came to Mumbai to write scripts for serials, and then turned to making films. The place took a toll, his marriage crumbled and he was left with no place to stay. “As far as I was making serials I was the king of this place. Making films, “Paanch” not being released and having to sleep on people’s couches, really straightened me out,” he says. Perhaps that is why one of the first things he does when he is starting out on a film is ensure that everyone involved has a place to stay and the promise of a meal. “I have booked a guesthouse with a kitchen for all of you,” he tells an assistant, and turns around to tell you “once their food and boarding is taken care of, they can concentrate on the film.” Not a lot of producers in Mumbai would do that, and I tell him so. I am not from this city, he says, flipping through a book. I crane to see which one it is. The Outsider, by Albert Camus, which he says is his “favourite book”. It seems entirely appropriate to me.

anuragkAnurag Kashyap hasn’t slept in four days. He’s been writing his next film and doesn’t want to stop till it is done. When I walk into his suburban terrace apartment, Kashyap is beaming because he’s just finished writing the climax and he is very happy with it.

He offers you some tea, shows you clips from his new film “That Girl in Yellow Boots” which premiered at the Venice Film Festival, all the while chatting animatedly with his assistants about shooting schedules and movies.

In an industry where it’s all about being politically correct, Kashyap is delightfully candid, speaking about himself and the world he inhabits with an honesty that is difficult not to appreciate. Not that it should come as a surprise — he is after all the “rebel” film maker of Bollywood, the one who is out to change the way the game is played.

Dev D“, his modern-day adaptation of Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s classic “Devdas” was what many critics termed a turning point for Bollywood and the way it makes films.

A Minute With: Aishwarya Rai

Actress Aishwarya Rai poses as she arrives for the screening of the film "Wall Street - Money Never Sleeps" during the 63rd Cannes Film Festival May 14, 2010. REUTERS/Yves Herman For someone who came into the Indian film industry as a former beauty queen, Aishwarya Rai has done her fair share of unglamorous roles in Bollywood.

From playing an abused wife in “Provoked” or the middle-aged wife of an industrialist in “Guru”, Rai has always let her acting do the talking.

WIFW 2010: INTERVIEW – Tarun Tahiliani

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Designer Tarun Tahiliani speaks to Reuters on the sidelines of the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week in New Delhi.

Highlights from the Tarun Tahiliani show on Thursday at the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week.

IFFI 2009: INTERVIEW – Sonali Kulkarni

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Actress Sonali Kulkarni, best known for her roles in “Daayraa” and “Dil Chahta Hai“, spoke to Reuters on the sidelines of the 40th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in the tourist haven of Goa.

Kulkarni is in Goa to promote her critically acclaimed Marathi film “Gabhricha Paus” which takes a hard-hitting look at the issue of farmer suicides in Maharashtra’s Vidarbha region.

IFFI 2009: INTERVIEW – Tannishtha Chatterjee

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Actress Tannishtha Chatterjee, best known for her roles in “Brick Lane” and “Shadows of Time“, spoke to Reuters on the sidelines of the 40th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in the tourist haven of Goa.

Chatterjee, who was in Goa to present two of her films “Bombay Summer” and “The White Elephant“, has done a number of international projects. Her next film — Dev Benegal’s “Road, Movie” — is slated for a February 2010 release in India.

(Click below to watch video)

(Flip cam video by Tony Tharakan)

MORE VIDEOS FROM IFFI 2009
INTERVIEW – Actress Sarita Choudhury

Sona Jain on ‘For Real’

Rituparno Ghosh on ‘Sab Charitro Kalponik’

Makrand Deshpande on ‘Shahrukh Bola Khoobsurat Hai Tu’

Aijaz Khan on ‘The White Elephant’

Joseph Mathew Varghese on ‘Bombay Summer’

IFFI 2009: INTERVIEW – Actress Sarita Choudhury

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Sarita Choudhury, known for her roles in Mira Nair’s “Mississippi Masala” (1992) and “Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love” (1996), spoke to Reuters on the sidelines of the 40th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in the tourist haven of Goa.

Choudhury’s latest film “For Real“, an English film set in New Delhi, premiered in Goa.

IFFI 2009: Joseph Mathew Varghese on ‘Bombay Summer’

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Director Joseph Mathew Varghese speaks to Reuters about his debut feature film ‘Bombay Summer‘ which is being screened at the 40th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Panaji, Goa.

(Flip cam video by Tony Tharakan)

Saif Ali Khan: A true professional in Bollywood?

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When I think of a Bollywood media interview, what pops into my mind are — long waits, filthy sets, stars with a lot more attitude than they should have and clichéd answers I could have predicted long before I met them…

But Saif Ali Khan proved me wrong on all counts. He turned out to be a thorough professional.

Of Amitav Ghosh, Bollywood and opium

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I wish someone would make a movie on the “Sea of Poppies.”

Amitav Ghosh’s latest novel has all the right ingredients for a film set in 19th century India — runaway lovers, a bankrupt Raja, anti-British sentiment, a white woman masquerading as an Indian peasant and a huge ship sailing down the Ganges.

Author Amitav GhoshBut Ghosh is unconvinced.

“It’ll be very difficult. Will need a lot of special effects,” says the 52-year-old writer.

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