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The director's guide to No Smoking

Anurag Kashyap
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October 30, 2007 17:34 IST

Anurag Kashyap made us sit up and notice his brilliant direction in Black Friday, a film based on the 1993 Mumbai blasts.

But reactions were very mixed when he released his second film, No Smoking, starring John Abraham [Images]. While critics slammed the film, some audiences just could not understand.

So Anurag explained the finer details of his film to Rediff readers in a live chat on October 29. For those who missed the chat, here's the first part of the transcript:

Anurag Kashyap says, Hi I am online.. ask me

Palamon asked, I watched your movie Black Friday, and I liked it. But I have heard pretty nasty feedback and reviews about No Smoking. As a director, why do you think this happened?
Anurag Kashyap answers i guess because people were not prepared for it.. they expected another black friday

ravinhari asked, Like your mentor, RGV..your immensely talented but also eccentric. Behave normally and go back to your SATYA [Images] roots.
Anurag Kashyap answers, thanks ravinhari will try to

Sam asked, Hey Anurag!! you deserve kudos for attempting NO SMOKING
Anurag Kashyap answers, thanks sam

suniln asked, Hi. Lot of questions have come up post the movie. Was there a metaphor about people taking a bath in the end. What happens to people who have given the 1 rupee and don't need to take a bath?
Anurag Kashyap answers, you pay your dues and your soul gets saved.. if you don't, you are finished.

ajm asked, sir you have not answered me is it u r arrogance or naivete of my question? i am agreat fan of urs and forced my wife to watch this movie no smoking when we mmet after 2 weeks. have u seen the game?were u inspired by it?i want to hear - NO IS k U? IN TERMS OF FIGHTING A BATTLE AGAUINST CENSORSHIP? WHATS THE ILLUSION ABOUT j? U R BROTHER DYING? CAN U PLEASE ENLIGHTEN?
Anurag Kashyap answers, yes ajm K is me and many like me..and my battles.. i wasn't inspired by the game.. the film was about the treatment.. from the point he falls into the water in the police station, it's the journey of the soul..his agony and confusion about what's happening.. waht K is going through is what audience goes through

Anurag Kashyap answers, one rupee is like that metaphor "my two cents"

Ajayslabyrinth asked, Hey Anurag!! you deserve kudos for attempting NO SMOKING...but i must cudhv been mild at times.... could you please comment !!!
Anurag Kashyap answers, my point is whan people are disappointed they get up and leave.. but they were sitting till the end and they don't get it.. but everyone will.. it will come after they get over the shock.. shock and anger are also emotions that a film sometimes make you feel

andsound asked, Hi Anurag, I loved Black Friday and watched No Smoking. I must say it is different movie, but just couldnt digest it. Am still wonderign what the story was
Anurag Kashyap answers, it was the story of arrogance vs super arrogance.. it was about freedom to choose vs the the censorship.. freedom loses in the end.. they take your soul away

asharma86 asked, Hey anurag! its a good effort. conratulations!
Anurag Kashyap answers, thanks

John Abraham in No Smokinghotty asked, oh god how cud u feel u made a good movie
Anurag Kashyap answers, i made what i wanted to make.. good or bad it is mine and it is like nobody elses.. i am here for the brickbats.. give it to me

mks asked, Hi Anurag wat is ur film's moto "Should evry smoker quit smoking?"
Anurag Kashyap answers, smoking is bad but the motto is "give me the freedom to choose.."

aakash asked, hello sir, another great movie from you.... i have watched this movie first day on friday and was thrilled the way u narrated the story of a smoker amazed...but i m sure it wont work in INdia, here in sydney everyone even white people felt gr8 but in India people cant think at this extant... they can only understand love melo drama...keep it up sir... awasome...
Anurag Kashyap answers, you will be surprised by the indian audience.. the reason we went ahead and made this is because i have faith our audience will support great cinema.. they just never had the choice.. it will change slowly.. that is the reason i will not quit this country

Nitin ( asked, Hey Anurag - we have some user reviews on , why dont u have a look at them and possibly comment. Also It would be great if you could answer my question on quitter's inc and cat's eye . I have another question on viability of such cinema - do you think that you/your producer would make good profit or is it still niche ?
Anurag Kashyap answers, Yes the genesis was from quitters ink but not cat's eye.. cat's eye i did not see until this feb.

omkar asked, Anurag, when you will make fils with realities
Anurag Kashyap answers, i made two.. both were banned remember.. BF finally found release.

rajeshb asked, hi! are you inspired by novels by Kafka? K is a direct tribute to his book the closet, which all so spoke about authorian oppression.. also i want to know, why make a movie which not many would understand.. i mean its a methaphor for an analogy.. this might go down well with the "festival" kind of audience.. but what about profitability and success?
Anurag Kashyap answers, i love kafka.. i don't know about profitability and success.. we can only know it after we do it.. but i am positive

riyaztak asked, have u quiet smoking?
Anurag Kashyap answers,

dineshd asked, Don't u think that brilliant cinema wouldn't be made if it is made solely for the audiences?
Anurag Kashyap answers, it can be.. but true art is more about expression of what's going on within the artist.. sometime people identify with it so it becomes great art.. when they don't it remains unsold art

Palamon asked, Having written one of the most outstanding screenplays in thie history of our cinema (I'm talking about Kaun), don't you think that your effort at direction should have met with a bigger success than what you can see right now ? Think about Frank Darabont ?
Anurag Kashyap answers, frank darabont is another level.. i can't be him.. and did you really think kaun was a great screenplay.. i got over it two days after the release

Rinki asked, Hello? Liked your film. Does negative criticism bother you?
Anurag Kashyap answers, yes it does sometime when it's personal.. khalid's and mr. hegde"s on rediff.. but others don't.. rajeev masand has a point.. even SKJ's criticism did not bother me.. nikhat's did.. rest didn't.. they all trashed me.. but three did bother me

vicky asked, anurag do you think that you were able to convey the message you wanted to convey?
Anurag Kashyap answers, i did it to the best of my ability.. i did not want to convey it by saying it.. but most didn't get it so i guess i failed on that count.. but what makes me happy is that they can't get over the film.. or their hatred for it.. it will haunt them, bother them till they decipher it.. after having done that they can reject it.. but till then they can not ignore it

sandeep asked, why does the dwarf in the dungon have a baritone voice?
Anurag Kashyap answers, to make it surreal and effective

pm3313 asked, I loved the actor who played saif ali khans deputy in Omkara [Images] - why not go search and get us more actors like that?
Anurag Kashyap answers, his first film was gulaal but couldn't get money.. making films is expensive and my father is not yash chopra..

Alien asked, I really liked the movie No smoking. At least a relief from the monotonous love story boy-meets-girl genre. One thing I did not understand, the "atma" of K gets burned in the Prayogshala and it shows K can't remember anything. But, how come in the next scene he wakes up with his fingers lost and searching for some other smokers to quit smoking? Please let me know.
Anurag Kashyap answers, When K falls into the water in the police station his soul and body go on two seperate journeys.. by soul i mean the internal agony of the man.. soul is confused, tortured, doesn't know what's going on and then is burnt in hell.. that's the state of mind of the Man.. what wakes up is the body.. the body when wakes up finally calm because the internal torture has ended realises his fingers are cut.. have you realised that the fingers we use to hold a cigarette is also used to hold a pen.. holding a pen symbolises writing that is freedom of expression.. which is why abbas having lost his fingers had lost his soul..he never realised his fingers were cut because the internal pain was so mind numbing that the external pain stops hurting.

Vivek asked,  i read your comment on Khalid on PFC? i wanna ask, if somebody is taking his frustration on you, is it good by abusing him and degrading yourself like this. also, as comments on PFC is No Smoking is for all ur chaaploos on PFC?
Anurag Kashyap answers, there is a lot to it than meets the eye.. i was angry then and even now.. that man at the press screenig from the time screening began was yawning and stretching and doing things to put across his point which he put up in the review.. he went there with an agenda.. anyways.. PFC has the most criticism on no smoking and largely healthy ones.. they are not my chaploos.. because if you go on PFC then you are also PFC.. do you think you are my chamcha.

Puneet2329 asked, Hi Anurag, Are you making no drinking movie as well?
Anurag Kashyap answers, well i m doing my own version of devdas

sonu asked, Hi Anurag ! Are u going to attempt anything like No Smoking again... after knowing its not accepted by the audiences that well?
Anurag Kashyap answers, next time will try and reach out more..

anooop asked, hiiii anurag, i watched yr movie be honest, it disappointed me...expected another class one lik black friday. bt this was nowhere....
Anurag Kashyap answers, i can not make black friday all my life.. i need to keep trying new stuff.. i would rather fail in my attempt than be mediocre

bbk asked, bbk says, Hey u are not here for the brickbats alone.. there are applauses too...enjoy!!
Anurag Kashyap answers, thanks man

rajasen asked, Salaam boss. Dude, I haven't seen the film yet -- was out of town, will do it asap -- but honestly, did you expect this sort of an insane reaction? I knew you didn't expect the critics to 'get' it but still.. this animosity?
Anurag Kashyap answers, not with everyone raja.. just some.. why don't you review the film in your column.. even if you don't like it i know you will review the film and not me..

goldie asked, Very bad movie... storiless... not understood anything in the movie... bad attempt...
Anurag Kashyap answers, sorry goldie.. next time.. don't bother much over it.. there are three other good movies around..

Asad Hasan asked, Hi Anurag, I am a regular visitor of ur blog '' and like blackfriday very much but one thing i must say u can say anything to anyone. modesty is not ur thing. plz dont say wrong words to a person (Khalid) so senior to u. Anyway all the best for 'No Smoking'. One thing i want to ask, who is the best indian actor?
Anurag Kashyap answers, Asad i don't like a man with an agenda.. if he was fair i wouldn't have said what i said.. and i don't regret saying it.. i know what else went on in the press screening.. my favourites are KK and aditya srivastava..wasn't that obvious

Kabeer asked, Dear Anurag, I don't know how many times I have seen Makarand Deshpande's play "Sir Sir Sarla-1". You were outstanding of all. Did we lose a great actor for a new director?
Anurag Kashyap answers, acting to bas keeda that,, direction virus hai..

riyaztak asked, y u don't make movies with big stars like aamir,shahrukh?
Anurag Kashyap answers, when they will i will.. have tried .. failed

sandeep asked, hi anurag you appeared in the movie in a scene in an elevator. any significance of that scene?
Anurag Kashyap answers, only vanity.

John Abraham in No Smokingomkar asked, Anurag, when will you make films like Omkara......
Anurag Kashyap answers, when i have a script like that

Rinkesh asked, Hey Anurag, What inspired you of making movie like No Smoking?
Anurag Kashyap answers, the genesis was stephen king story, but it changed over a period of time

pm3313 asked, One of my concerns , using actors like John and Paresh rawal [Images] - I hope You veer away from the use of bankable and known stars and introduce and hunt for unknown but brilliant actors.
Anurag Kashyap answers, have done that in the past.. got me three unreleased films

yd asked, Anurag we are with you. It happens to everybody. We got to learn from our mistakes.We hope you will give us somethig spl next time.
Anurag Kashyap answers, will do my best yd.. thanks so much

ashitosh asked, Hi Anurag, had read the book Black Friday. My POV is the little little 3-4 incidents described in the book,shud have been filmed in the same way. It cud have added more human dimesion. Though must say, overall the film was v. good. thnx
Anurag Kashyap answers, there is a lot that wasn't there.. but then it would have become a very long film

dineshd asked, great work anurag, u make movies for urself(very self indulgent) and not for the audiences, which is required to respect an art form like cinema
Anurag Kashyap answers, hope others feel that too.. it has to be for both..

manik asked, Hi, Whats ur next project??
Anurag Kashyap answers, hanuman returns followed by dev d

satrughan asked, And one more question why K finger was cut off in last scene despite of "Shudikaran" of his soul???
Anurag Kashyap answers, thst was the body.. without the soul

Rahul_tvm asked, Hi, What is ur opinion abt (Priyadharshan film Director)
Anurag Kashyap answers, i loved his gardish, muskurahat and his early films..

Juri asked, Hi Anurag, In my opinion, this is one of the worst Hindi movies ever. It ranks alongside other gems like BOOM, CLERK and RGV KI AAG.
Anurag Kashyap answers,  next time won't give you the chance to say that.. sorry for this time

dsree332 asked, Hi Anurag how do draft your scripts do u take inspiration from books or incidents or u fantasize the scenes
Anurag Kashyap answers, it's a very organic process.. it flows after i stew it in me.. it all begins with the idea

Rinki asked, Hi Anurag, loved your film. astounding!!
Anurag Kashyap answers, thanks

riya1223 asked, hi anurag i love the songs of no smokin pls tell us bout ayesha takia's role?
Anurag Kashyap answers, see the film before it's thrown out of the theatres.. she plays the twin roles of john's wife and the secretary.. one a selfrespecting woman.. another opposite

kamal asked, One can do deeds which can burn his soul?which is suppossed to be scrosanct form absolutely everything.... JUSTIFY THEN YR PROJECTION IN THE MOVIE..
Anurag Kashyap answers, soul to me is another metaphor for true self.. which sometimes gets numbed by constant suppressions and attacks.. man allows it to be killed because he chooses the easier way out.. the way out of his agony..

riyaztak asked, why do u always make dark movies?
Anurag Kashyap answers, what is dark.. everyone else is making happy movies.. somebody should do the opposite as well

samdas asked, did u like Chak De India?
Anurag Kashyap answers, i absolutely loved chak de india.. wish YRF made more films like that

Anurag Kashyap answers, we just broke up.. and no one dumps ramu.. ramu dumps them.

sangeeta asked, It was really showed credits in the end...and the film still continues...WOW!!but the side effect was....almost the entire audience walked out
Anurag Kashyap answers, that was a mistake.. i agree

KU asked, Hi Anurag, I know the idea you have kept in No Smoking is simply amazing, but missed your grip to define well for the viewers ..... what you say!!!
Anurag Kashyap answers, i may have failed somewhere.. have still to figure it out

riyaztak asked, what made u cast john in no smoking?
Anurag Kashyap answers, he responded to the script

Don't miss the concluding part of the chat transcript tommorow.

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