WION New Delhi, Delhi, India
Jan 11, 2018, 08.56 AM
Known for making cinema on real India, Anurag Kashyap has always been known to stand up for what is right. Whether it's his films, which deliver powerful messages on the Indian society or the director himself, Kashyap is one of those filmmakers who never shies away from speaking the truth.
His latest film Mukkabaaz is a sports drama cum love story set in Uttar Pradesh. The film's trailer hints at the film dealing with many issues that plague small-towns of India. From bureaucracy in sports to casteism, Mukkabaaz looks all set to deliver some powerful messages. So is his latest film a way to make a statement on the current wrongdoings in the society?
The country is star driven and believes in nepotism'
"I don't make statements through my films. I like to be very honest and my honesty becomes a statement I guess. Mukkabaazis a sports film. It talks about everything that is wrong with sports in India. It is also a love story but it talks about sports at a very basic, district level. It doesn't go to the national, or international level," says the director in a chat with WION.
Kashyap's film has Vineet Kumar Singh playing a Rajput boxer who falls in love with a mute Brahmin girl played by Zoya Hussain. Does the film deal with casteism, we ask. "There is no casteist backdrop in the film, "insists the filmmaker and says that it is wrong to make judgments on the film by watching just a trailer. "When you see the film you will know, it is not. You see one dialogue of the film in isolation and draw a judgment around the film. And that is dangerous, more than anything else. We have a greater responsibility than judging a film based on one line, "the director adds.
Kashyap though says that the film talks about everyday casteism that we practice. "We are conditioned by it. Kowing and unknowingly. The film talks about three men. One who is conscious of his upper caste and takes advantage of that fact, another who is unaware of his caste, and the other who belongs to lower caste but now is doing well at a powerful position."
Mukkaabaz is incidentally written by the film's lead actor Vineet Singh. The actor had bounced off the idea to the filmmaker while the two were working on the sets of Ugly and Kashyap decided to make the film on the condition that Singh would get proper training of a boxer. Singh packed his bags and went to Punjab for rigorous training and spent three years preparing for the film. Wasn't it a risk to sit on a project for three years? "It was only possible to invest in time because it was Vineet Kumar Singh. He is driven like that. I got an inkling of his capabilities when he lost 10 kilos for Gangs of Wasseypur. Aadmi jo bolta hai karta hai, I can put my trust and faith on him. Also, I had to raise money to make a film like Mukkabaaz. You know how the industry looks at people, Vineet is a character actor, lot of people had apprehension in investing money on a film that had him as the lead. "
Vineet Singh underwent rigorous training for the film. (Others)
Kashyap said Anand L Rai came on board as a producer when Kashyap expressed his desire to make Mukkabaaz. "Anand L Rai wanted me to make a film based on a script he had. I said I like the script but I want to make Mukkabaaz first so he said let's make Mukkabaaz and then Manmarziyaan. "
The filmmaker who cast two known actors (Ravi Kishen and Jimmy Sheirgill) in supporting roles in Mukkabaaz admits that the country is star driven and 'believes in nepotism'.
Mukkabaaz perhaps is Kashyap's only film that got cleared by the Censor board without any hiccup. The filmmaker had even praised the Censor board for cooperating in series of tweets a few days back. "I've fought and been vocal about my films like Bombay Velvet, Udta Punjab, Black Friday. But if I criticised then(the CBFC) I should also appreciate it when it does a good job."
When asked about the name change in Padmavati(now Padmavat), Kashyap steered clear from making any statement but added, "We are all too quick to judge a film without watching it. That's the problem. Only Bhansali will know what he went through while getting his film cleared, so I can't comment on it. But you have to understand that Prasoon Joshi's position is also not an easy place to be in."
The filmmaker also believes that Mukkabaaz is his most coherent film till date. "It reaches out more than Gangs Of Wasseypur and is relatable to a larger audience. It goes beyond being a sports film. "
A firm believer that films are not made to deliver messages, Kashyap admits he is one of a kind in the film industry. "I am in an odd position. The way I perceive cinema, no one in the film perceives it the same way. 90% people think cinema should have a message, I don't believe in it. If you think my films have a message- that's your take. I am not giving you the message. "But he is a content man. "I am happy that what I want to do I get to do."