Anurag Kashyap had a great year. That sentence would have been a near impossibility if you had met the writer, director, producer and occasional actor during his slog years, when he struggled to get his films off the ground, publicly squabbled with mainstream producers, and battled the perception that critics loved him more than movie-goers. The tide turned in Kashyap’s favour in 2009 with Dev.D, but it’s only this year that he has tasted commercial success with Gangs of Wasseypur.
“Wasseypur was a surprise—we tried to make a mainstream movie and we wanted a mainstream release, but I never thought the film would work like it did,” 40-year-old Kashyap says.
The release of the two-part revenge saga, which was shown out of competition at the Cannes Festival, was tucked in the middle of hectic promotions for the releases of films produced by Kashyap, including Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana, Chittagong and Aiyyaa. Kashyap was in the news almost without a break, talking up the titles put out by his company, Anurag Kashyap Films Pvt. Ltd (AKFPL), but he complains that he hasn’t had the time to do what he loves best—make movies. “Things got really tiring after May,” he says, after Wasseypur’s screening at Cannes. “I didn’t realize that production means promotion. Since most of my films didn’t have stars, all the studios used me—I was a prostitute for six months. Luv Shuv became my film, Aiyyaa became my film.”
Titles carrying the AKFPL banner—including Shahid and Peddlers—also did the rounds of film festivals, while his producer Guneet Monga explored distribution deals for Wasseypur, which got a limited commercial release in France. The movie continues to be screened at festivals—its next stop is Sundance Film Festival in January, where Kashyap will be on the jury for the World Cinema Dramatic section.
Kashyap says he will keep off production in the following year—he is leaving the task to Monga—and will concentrate on direction. He is currently shooting Ugly, a Mumbai-set thriller. In June, he will begin shooting his dream project Bombay Velvet, a period romance about jazz musicians. Ugly will be released in mid-2013. “Next year I will be doing nothing but working,” he says. “I just want to direct movies for the next five years.” You thought 2012 was good for Kashyap? “2013 is going to be a great year,” he promises.