[F]ilmmaker Anurag Kashyap is in the news once again. This time, his latest film Gangs of Wasseypur has been selected for the prestigious Directors’ Fortnight at the 65th Cannes Film Festival. This section of the festival known for its independent-mindedness has screened the works of directors like Werner Herzog and Martin Scorsese before. In its 2012 edition, it will screen Gangs of Wasseypur Part 1 and Part 2. Anurag Kashyap talks about his film here:
Your film’s going to screen at Director’s Fortnight. How does it feel?
It is very special for me. The three of us will be going there—Vasan, Nawazuddin and I. Gangs of Wasseypur surpassed the achievements of my previous films. Now I am working day and night to have both the parts ready for the festival.
Tell us something about Gangs of Wasseypur.
It is a gangster revenge drama spanning 6 decades and 3 generations set in Wasseypur, a small cinema obsessed hub in Dhanbad. It’s Bollywood infested underworld, where Bollywood has taken over the lives of people with a serious vendetta.
I thought I was making this film for the Indian mainstream market. After The Girl in Yellow Boots, I wanted to make a mainstream gangster film. I never thought a film with 25 songs could get such a response from festivals. It is set in a very strange and quirky underworld. It is unlike any other gangster film. The response from film festivals in the last six months has been fantastic.
Is it inspired by real incidents or characters?
All characters in this film are inspired by real characters. But we have fictionalized them in a sense. We heard the stories about this place and then visited it. Since I come from north India, I have an understanding of the milieu where the characters are coming from. Syed Zeeshan Qadri who has co-written and acted in the film hails from Wasseypur. We have cast a lot of local people. We wanted to make a rooted film.
How was the experience of making the film?
It was very extensive. We shot the film all across north India on actual locations for 100 days. The world there is very exciting and dynamic. We had a cast of 340 people. We had adopted one entire village where we could shoot in any house because almost everyone in the village was acting in the film. In a sequence when we had to plant bombs in a house, they all wanted bombs in their houses. We shot in coal mines and ghost towns.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui will be in Cannes with two films: Miss Lovely and Gangs of Wasseypur. What do you have to say about him?
This recognition was long due to him. He is such a fantastic actor. He has carried a film of the magnitude of Gangs of Wasseypur entirely on his shoulders. With Nawazuddin, you can completely ignore that he doesn’t have a great physique or looks. He gets into the skin of the character and stays there.
What do we get to see after Gangs of Wasseypur?
After Gangs of Wasseypur, I am working on a nasty thriller called Ugly. Then I will start working on Bombay Velvet.