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'My brother reminded me of my roots by making Dabangg'

Last updated on: May 8, 2012 10:32 IST

'My brother reminded me of my roots by making Dabangg'


Patcy N in Mumbai
Anurag Kashyap, who's all charged up about taking his new directorial venture Gangs Of Wasseypur to Cannes this year, reveals some fascinating bits about his new film to Patcy N in this second part of the interview.

Read the first part here.

Tell us about Wasseypur.

It's a very long film. It is very desi and rooted. 

It is based on many true stories but we have fictionalised it because the characters that we have used in the film still exist in Wasseypur. We have changed the names and timeline of a few events.

Wasseypur has a very different kind of atmosphere. People watch cinema the whole day. Their lives are influenced by cinema. Everybody carries a gun. It is a very strange world. It is not like any underworld that you have known and seen.

I came to Mumbai and became a Bambaiya but my brother, by making Dabbang, reminded me of my roots.

Manoj Bajpai's house in the film is my house, where I lived and where Abhinav (Anurag's brother and director of Dabbang) was born. It was in Tashkent Colony, Obra, Uttar Pradesh. Now it is a ghost town so it was fun revisiting.

Why did you have to shoot the film with a hidden camera?

Some of the shooting that we did in and around the village of Wasseypur, we did with hidden cameras so that we would not disturb the atmosphere of the village, so that we capture things as they are.

If I shoot a film without hiding the camera in any part of India, everybody starts looking inside the camera as though Salman Khan will walk out of it!

Image: A scene from Gangs of Wasseypur


'We will introduce Tigmanshu Dhulia as an actor with Gangs Of Wasseypur'

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Why did you think of making a film on Wasseypur?

The subject was so interesting that I felt it was necessary to make this film. 

The writer and an actor in the film, Zeeshan Qadri, belongs to Wasseypur. When he first narrated me stories of Wasseypur, I was shocked. 

I was at Prithvi theatre to watch one of Kalki's (Kalki Koechlin, his wife) plays. Zeeshan saw me sitting alone and started narrating the story. 

I decided right there that I would make this film.

The film is too long...

The story was so long that it was difficult deciding how to make it into one film. I had decided that I will narrate the whole story, whether it takes seven or 10 hours. We have edited it to 5 hours 20 minutes and it will be shown in two parts. It has 340 cast actors who have dialogues.

When we wrote the script we wrote it in such a way that they look like two different stand-alone stories, but watched together, they look like one.  

The story covers three generations, from 1941 to 2009. We will release part one first and decide on the release of part two later this year. Both parts are ready and we will show both parts in Cannes.  

Why did you choose Manoj Bajpai?

Manoj Bajpai belongs to Bihar, and I am making a film based in that part of the country. Whenever we have worked together (Satya, Shool) we have created fireworks. Manoj knows my best and I know his best. 

Director Tigmanshu Dhulia is the main villain in the film. He is a very good actor having learnt acting at the National School of Drama. We will introduce him as an actor in this film. 

He is outstanding; he plays a character who ages from 40 to 90. You have to watch his performance to believe me.

Image: A scene from Gangs of Wasseypur

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'Yashpal Sharma is this film's Malaika Arora'

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What was on your mind when you thought of making this film?

Our agenda was simple: to make a mindblowing commercial film. There is song and dance but it is very realistic. 

When we showed the film at private screenings, everybody liked it; they sat though the 5 hours and 20 minutes without walking out.

You have said that all the songs in the film are item numbers. Why?

The music used in the film is rooted. We have used traditional Indian songs that we don't listen to much nowadays. We searched for North Indian songs with sexual overtones that were sung at weddings and recomposed them in a modern context.

Sneha Khanvilkar has given the music for the film and for one particular song, Keh Ke Loonga, three composers have worked together. 

Sneha has composed the song which is sung by Amit Trivedi (composer of Dev D and Aamir) and the lyrics are by Piyush Mishra (composer for Gulaal). 

There are 25 songs in the film and they are all item songs. Yashpal Sharma is this film's Malaika Arora Khan.

Keh Ke Loonga sounds a bit vulgar...

The meaning of 'keh ke loonga' in the north is different from what people here in Mumbai think it means. It actually means I will not attack you from behind, I will tell you and then kill you (peeth peeche var nahi karoonga). The meaning changes according to the region. It has no sexual overtones.

How long did it take to shoot the film?

We shot for four months at a stretch. We covered the whole of North India -- we have shot in Sonbhadra, Banaras, Kanchi, Patna, Dhanbad and many more such places. It was difficult shooting it.

Image: A scene from Gangs of Wasseypur

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'Bollywood's actual fan base is in Wasseypur'

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Why are you not releasing the whole film together?

We can't release the whole film together because our system doesn't allow that. No theatre owner will give us the theatre for that long. An exhibitor won't release a film like this because they will be just selling one ticket for such a long show.

There are so many bad words in the film...

That's why we got an Adult certificate.

Is Piyush Mishra your lucky mascot?

Piyush is a very good actor. He is a very creative man. He has written songs for this film and sung too, and he has acted in the film. He is the binding factor in the film. I am a huge fan. 

We are very ruthless when it comes to casting; we only choose those actors who fit into our characters. The most difficult to choose was Tishu's (Tigmanshu Dhulia) character.

Did you watch Rakht Charitra?

Yes, I have seen part one.

Nobody saw part II.

It released when we were shooting Wasseypur.

Ram Gopal Varma also shot two films together and released them one after the other. Everybody saw part one, nobody saw part two because it was too gory. Will that happen to Gangs of Wasseypur?

This is not a gory film. It's a fun film. There is no deliberate comedy -- it is just the way people are, the way they talk and the way they react. They live in a well and have never seen the world. 

The atmosphere is so new and quirky, but it's also an India that exists.

There is a scene in the film where a person is in hiding. The people who want to kill him know he is a huge fan of Sanjay Dutt so they plan to nab him when Munnabhai (Munnabhai MBBS) releases. They know that he is such a huge fan that he will come out of hiding, and he does, and gets killed.

There are characters in the film who dress like their favourite actors, walk and talk like them, and mouth their film dialogues. 

I would say Bollywood's actual fan base is in Wasseypur. All the people in Wasseypur are foot soldiers, criminals, illegal businessman. I have never seen this mix of Bollywood and crime anywhere else. The star of the film is the place, it's that world.

Image: A scene from Gangs of Wasseypur

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'My last most expensive film was Dev D, the budget for which was Rs 6 crore'

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Is this your expensive film?

My most expensive film is cheap in comparison to the big budget movies that are made in Bollywood.

It is true that this is my most expensive production, but my last most expensive film was Dev D, the budget for which was Rs 6 crore. So, in comparison to that, this is my biggest budget. But compared to the big films that come out, we are still much, much smaller.

What next after Gangs of Wasseypur?

There is Ugly, which is a thriller, and then Bombay Velvet. Our production house has made 11 films; all have been shot and are in post-production. 

After Wasseypur, there will be Luv Shuv and then Michael, and after that Aiyaa, Monsoon Shootout and Tasher Desh.

Image: Trailer of Gangs of Wasseypur

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