August 03, 2010. Landmark, Andheri. There he was, in his full glory, beard and all, looking almost a saint. The Messiah of New Age film making. The man who wrote Satya (1998), Shool (1999), Kaun (1999), and directed Paanch (2003), Black Friday (2004), No Smoking (2007), Dev D (2009) and Gulaal (2009). Anurag Kashyap. In person. Flesh and blood. Standing merely a few feet away from me, browsing through the seemingly endless array of DVDs at Landmark. I went numb, blood rushing to my face and all that sort of thing. I mean, how often do you get to meet, in person, someone who you’ve admired, inspired by, and been deeply in awe of?
To me, right up there with Satyajit Ray, Naseeruddin Shah and the Big B himself, Anurag has always been an inspiration. A small town underdog who comes to Mumbai to become a film maker, and in time becomes one of the most respected auteurs of his generation! Whoever has read his blog posts and writings and rantings will understand what I mean when I say to a lot of us, he is nearly Howard Roark. Ayn Rand’s ideals of Objectivism and Individualism somehow seem to converge in his thoughts & writings (In Defence of the ‘I’, Who the fuck I think I am?). Today, his films premier at Venice and Toronto Film Festivals, his protege Vikramaditya Motwane (who’s an excellent film maker in his own right) rubs shoulders with none other than Jean Luc Godard himself at Cannes, and in 2009 he was part of the Jury at Venice Film Festival. To think that when he came to the city, he practically lived on the streets and did group theater for a meager pay.. but all this while, that unnamed thing, call it passion, call it ‘fire in the belly’ – he kept it alive. This evening, at Landmark, Infinity Mall, I saw a glimpse of that fire. It’s still alive. And kicking.
Having explained all the nervousness, numbness and sweating palms, let me tell you that I did finally somehow limp up to him and say, “Sir, I am a great admirer of yours, and right now, I am speechless – don’t know what to say” or something to that effect. He smiled those zillion watts (see pic above) and shook hands. The next thing I know, we were discussing That Girl in Yellow Boots, his newest baby. I’ve seen some of the clips, and they pack quite a lot of punch. He also spoke about the Doga standstill. He said he has a script on Bahadur (Indrajal Comics, remember?) – imagine! But as ususal, the high and the mighty (read losers) are just not interested. And he also spoke about Paanch – he seems to have kept it behind him and moved on – such a pity… I mean, torrents etc. are all fine, but don’t the people have a right to get to watch it in theaters?
The man just loves books… he kept picking stuff from shelfs and recommending them to me saying ‘check this out, it’s simply awesome’, ‘ don’t you read some great stuff, or what?’ He has a special affinity for pulp fiction and crime (Read Bloody Murderers of Cult, highly recommended to anyone even remotely interested in Crime Fiction) , and he handed me two gems: Kiss Her Goodbye by Allan Guthrie, and a highly acclaimed Graphic Novel called 100 Bullets. I’ll treasure them. And this evening too.
It was truly an honour and a privilege. I thank you, sir, Mr. Kashyap…
For the rest of us, check this out – one of the best Rock numbers ever done for a hindi film: