Until a few years ago, we never saw Bollywood films that didn’t always play to stereotypes, we never saw Bollywood films that sketched real issues which exist in our society. However, recently we have seen a massive shift in the kinds of films being made in Bollywood cinema and whether you believe it or not Anurag Kashyap has played a massive role in bringing about that change.
Thanks to his unconventional stye of cinema and choice of his films own, he has been able to carve his own niche in the film industry while heavily influencing the industry as a whole. So, on the occasion of his 47th birthday, we list some of his best work yet.
Raman Raghav (2016)
If you are fan of psychological thrillers, then you should definitely not miss this one. The film begins with a disclaimer that reads the film isn’t about the real Raman Raghav but in spirit, he is present throughout the movie. Anurag Kashyap takes inspiration from Quentin Tarantino for the film, as he splits the story into episode’s. This also gives a nice pace to the film and making it more exciting for the viewer.
The world did not no much about Raman’s past, so the film also doesn’t delve much into it, however, the episode of his abusive relation with his sister is inspired by the real Raman Raghav’s abuse of his sister.
Thanks to amazing performances by Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Vicky Kaushal, the film earned massive critical acclaim despite not performing on the box-office as well as one would expect.
Gangs of Wasseypur 1 and 2 (2012)
Ever since we can imagine, we have been craving for a Bollywood film that does gang wars and mafia right. With Gangs of Wasseypur, Anurag Kashyap gave the audience just that. The gangs of Wasseypur films were not sugar coated in any way. In fact, the very first part of the film itself let you know that you’re in for a ride. The movies told the story of rivalries between different sects of Muslims: the butchers, Qureshis, and the Pathans, Khans and which extends over a period of three generations. Anurag Kashyap put his soul into this film and it was evident in every frame. The dialect with which the actors deliver their dialogues adds to the authenticity. Just listening to the conversations between the characters in the film will leave you in splits thanks to the sheer vulgarity of it. While Manoj Bajpayee stole the limelight in the first part of the film, Nawazuddin Siddiqui really made his mark in the second part of the franchise. Like a character in the film says “har ek ke dimaag mein apni hi picture chal rahi hoti hai” (Everyone has their own movie playing inside their head) — and this is a pretty accurate description of this franchise. There are many films within one here and you could identify with any one.
Ugly told us the story of the kidnapping of a little girl of 10, who is out with her father for the day.
Her parents are divorced and her steps father, who is a police officer by profession takes over the investigation. It is one taut, dark, intense and disturbing tale of wretched nature of the human motives. The real reason why the film feels so gripping is because how Anurag Kashyap has presented his characters as. Each action of the character, leaves you guessing what all come next.
This is particularly are feature in Bollywood films. Generally characters in Indian movies, are either black or white. There is no middle ground, there is no are area and that is why movies end up being predictable so many times. But, this wasn’t the case with Ugly as every characters has some evil and nobility to them and you end up constantly trying to figure who is actually the ‘good guy’. You do not know what to appreciate more, the courage with which the director is bluntly showing the complexion of human nature or the ease with which that has been knit in a story.
Black Friday (2007)
Black Friday was a film that revolved around the investigation which followed after the horrific Bombay blasts in 1993 when 12 consecutive bombs went off at the Mumbai stock exchange. The film showed also the live of perpetrators just before and after the incident. Like many Anurag Kashyap films, the film had some trouble getting though the censor board and it is not hard to see why one you actually watch the film. The film showed how a terrorist deals with the pressure post the blast and how investigators dealt with the pressure of finding the culprits without harming any innocent lives in the process. A bold move by the makers was to actually use the names of the terrorists in the film, which are some of the biggest names in the underworld and Indian politics. Although, the story doesn’t point fingers on any particular person, group or community as the culprit for what is still Indian crime history’s biggest tragedy, it tries to make a point how some clever minds make their business out of our religious sentiments, at the cost of lives of common men.
With Black Friday, Anurag Kashyap also gave an homage to the undying spirit of Mumbai City. Despite the blasts and all the chaos that came with it, the city showed strength and resilience to move on.
Dev.D was a story about Dev, who after breaking up with his childhood sweetheart, finds solace in the form of alcohol and drugs. While Paro (Mahie Gill) moves on, Dev finds it hard to get over her. He meets Chanda (Kalki Koechlin), who also is dealing with problems of her own. Even though Dev like her, his tendency of self destruction doesn’t allow them from truly getting together.
Although the film is more of a modern day version of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Devdas, it comes with its own set of twists and turns that give it its own identity.
No Smoking (2007)
The story of No Smoking revolves around the life of one man, K (John Abraham), who got the habit of chain smoking since he was little. Now married, his wife Anjali (Ayesha Takia) wants him to get rid of this dirty habit once for all. On the recommendation of his friend, he goes to a prayogshala where he meets Guruji (Paresh Rawal). Upon reaching there, K is forcibly enlisted and then made to sign a cheque of Rs. 21 lakh. After doing so, he is left free with a warning that bad things will happen to him and his family if he ever smokes again. The message behind the film was not just meant to show how hard it is to quit smoking, but spoke about addictions in general. Smoking was picked by Anurag Kashyap probably because it is one of the worst yet popular addictions of all. The film shows us that when we are addicted to something it is the battle against our inner conscious. It is our sub conscious brain that leads us to believe that we need it, cigarettes being the example here.