Anurag Kashyap

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Anurag Kashyap
Cine Bahastalab-2012 03.jpg
Anurag Kashyap in June 2012
Born Anurag Singh Kashyap
(1972-09-10) 10 September 1972 (age 42)
Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, India
Occupation Film director, producer, screenwriter and actor
Years active 1996–present
Spouse(s) Aarti Bajaj (m. 2003–09)
Kalki Koechlin (m. 2011–13)
Children 1
Relatives Abhinav Kashyap (brother)
Anubhuti Kashyap (sister)

Anurag Singh Kashyap (born 10 September 1972) is an Indian film director, screenwriter and producer. He has received acclaim for his often realistic films and backing numerous small projects with newcomers, which has earned him the tag of the " Poster Boy " of new wave Hindi Cinema. For his contributions to film, the Government of France has awarded him the Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2013.

After writing few news paper articles and a television serial, Kashyap got his major break as a co-writer in Ram Gopal Varma's crime drama Satya and made his directorial debut with Paanch, which is yet unreleased regarding censorship issues. He then directed Black Friday (2004), a film based on the book by Hussain Zaidi about the 1993 Mumbai bombings. Its release was held up for two years by the Central Board of Film Certification because of the pending verdict of the case at that time, but was released on 2007 to widespread critical appreciation. Kashyap's followup, No Smoking (2007) met with negative reviews and performed poorly at the box-office, but has since garnered a cult following. His next venture was Dev.D (2009), which was well received both critically and commercially. Followed by Gulaal (2009) and the more offbeat thriller That Girl in Yellow Boots (2011). both films received critical acclaim. His prominence increased with the two-part crime drama Gangs of Wasseypur – Part 1 and Part 2 (2012). His next films were Bombay Talkies (2013) and Ugly (2014), all of which screened at the Cannes Film Festival's Directors' Fortnight section.

Apart from Film making, Kashyap also currently serves as the Member of board of Mumbai-based NGO, Aangan Trust, which helps protect vulnerable children around India, and is vocal about cinema and society related issues. He is the founder of two film production companies, Anurag Kashyap Films, which is run by Guneet Monga. Along with Phantom Films with partnership from director's Vikramaditya Motwane, Vikas Bahl and producer Madhu Mantena.

Background and Career[edit]

Anurag Kashyap was born in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh. Where his father Prakash Singh worked for the Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation. He grew up in Gorakhpur.[1] He did his early schooling in Green School Dehradun and, age eight onwards, at the Scindia School in Gwalior. Some of the locations used in Gangs of Wasseypur are also influenced from his own old house where he himself lived with his parents, sister Anubhuti Kashyap and brother, Abhinav Kashyap.[2][3][4] Abhinav is also a film-maker, while his sister Anubhuti has been his assistant in most of his films.[5]

Due to Kashyap's desire to become a scientist, he went to Delhi for his higher studies and enrolled himself into a zoology course at the Hansraj College (University of Delhi); he graduated in 1993.[6][7][8] He then eventually joined a street theater group, Jana Natya Manch; and did many street plays.[3][8][9] The same year, his couple of friends "urged [him] to catch a de Sica retrospective" at the International Film Festival of India.[2][3] In ten days, he saw 55 films at the festival, and Vittorio De Sica's Bicycle Thieves was the film that influenced him the most.[8][10]

"As a 19-year-old student of zoology at Delhi's Hansraj College, I had no desire to be a filmmaker. Till I watched Bicycle Thieves, a 1948 Italian film directed by Vittorio De Sica, at a film festival in Delhi in 1993. After the film got over, I decided to chuck it all and leave bag-and-baggage for Bombay to be a filmmaker."

—Kashyap on how one film changed his life.[6]

After the de Sica experience, Kashyap arrived in Mumbai in 1993 with INR 5,000 in his pocket.[9][11] Soon the money ran out, and he spent months on the streets, staying in lofts, "sleeping on beaches," "under a water tank and in the St Xavier's [college] boys hostel."[3] He then managed to find work at Prithvi Theatre, but his first play remained incomplete because the director died.[7]

In 1995, an acquaintance introduced Kashyap to Shivam Nair. The day they met, Kashyap watched Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver at Nair's place and the film inspired him to " write something ". The team of Sriram Raghavan, Sridhar Raghavan and Shiv Subramaniam were working on two projects, one of which was a short tv series, Auto Narayan, based on the life of serial killer Auto Shankar; the second one was a film scripted by Kashyap.[8] Auto Narayan got delayed because the script penned by Subramaniam was not "working". Kashyap rewrote the script, and got credit for the same, but it was scrapped.[9][10]He also wrote the episodes of 1997 TV series Kabhie Kabhie directed by Mahesh Bhatt.

In 1998, then struggling actor Manoj Bajpai suggested his name to Ram Gopal Varma to write a film. varma liked kashyap's Auto Narayan and hired him, alongside Saurabh Shukla to write the screenplay and dialogues for Satya.[7][9] Satya was a commercial and critical success, and Kashyap collaborated with Varma on a few more films scripting Kaun (1999) and writing dialogues for Shool (1999). In 1999, he directed a short film Last Train to Mahakali with newcomer Kay Kay Menon which was made for the Star Plus television series Star Bestsellers.

While working with Nair, he came across files related to the Joshi-Abhyankar Serial Murders that took place in Pune in 1976, which became the inspiration for his directorial debut Paanch.[12] A crime thriller starring Kay Kay Menon, Aditya Srivastava, Vijay Maurya, Joy Fernandes and Tejaswini Kolhapure in the lead roles. The film ran into trouble with the Indian censor board[13] because, as kashyap quotes " They felt it wasn't healthy entertainment because it dealt unapologetically with sex, drugs and misguided, alienated youths, "[3] and is still unreleased.[14] In between these years he wrote dialogues for many films Including Paisa Vasool, Mani Ratnam's Yuva (2004), Water, Main Aisa Hi Hoon, Mixed Doubles and the Academy Award-nominated Canadian film Water (2005).

Kashyap in 2007, at the Rome Film Festival.

In 2007, Anurag adapted Stephen King's 1978 short story "Quitters, Inc." as No Smoking, a surrealistic thriller about a chain-smoker who gets trapped in the maze of a man who guarantees will make him quit smoking.[15] The film starring John Abraham, Ayesha Takia, Ranvir Shorey and Paresh Rawal in the leads and music by Vishal Bhardwaj, premiered at the Rome Film Festival to critical acclaim.[16] It released on 26 October 2007 to mostly negative reviews from the critics,[17] With Rajeev Masand of CNN-IBN calling it a "colossal disappointment".[18]The film tanked at the box-office.[19]

The same year his controversial crime film Black Friday[20][21] got censorship clearance and was released after two years and met with universal acclaim with an 86% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[22] Taran Adarsh of Bollywood Hungama gave the film a score of 4 out of 5, and said, "Some films leave you stunned and speechless with sheer power. The powerful story, the powerful execution, the powerful performances sweep you off your feet. Long after you've watched the film, it still haunts you, it disturbs you, it stays in your memory, it still sends a chill down your spine if you recall the incidents."[23] His next film was Return of Hanuman, a animation film about adventures of the Hindu god Hanuman; it was released in India on 28 December 2007.[24]

In 2009, Kashyap had two film releases. Dev.D, a contemporary take on Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay's classic novel Devdas.[25] It was the 12th screen adaptation of the Bengali novel.[26] Starring Abhay Deol who actually pitched the original idea of the film to Kashyap; with Mahie Gill and newcomer Kalki Koechlin portraying the characters of "Paro" and Chandramukhi respectively.[27] The film was a commercial success and was well received by critics, mainly due to its quirky music and distinct narrative structure.[28][29] Along with Gulaal, a political crime drama starring Kay Kay Menon, Raj Singh Chaudhary, Abhimanyu Singh and Deepak Dobriyal in lead. The film was delayed for years due to financial issues. It was screened at the 2009 London Film Festival and was released on 13 March to generally positive reviews and poor box office results.[30][31][32][33]

In 2011, Kashyap directed That Girl in Yellow Boots, a thriller starring Kalki Koechlin who also co-wrote the film with him.[34][35] The film was screened at many key festivals including 2010 Toronto International Film Festival, 67th Venice International Film Festival, Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles, London Indian Film Festival and was Kashyap's first worldwide release.[36][37][38] It was released on September 2011 in India, United States, and few other countries to mostly favourable reviews. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-times gave it 3.5 out of 4 stars praising the character-driven film and the portrayal of its lead along with the city compared to most hindi films: " a film like this provides a radically different view of India than you can find in the pleasures and excesses of Bollywood ".[39]

In 2012 Anurag Kashyap came up with his ambitious directorial venture Gangs of Wasseypur – Part 1 and Gangs of Wasseypur – Part 2, which screened at the 2012 Cannes Directors' Fortnight,[40][41][42] and Sundance Film Festival in 2013.[43] The film starring Manoj Bajpai, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Huma Qureshi, Richa Chadda and Tigmanshu Dhulia in the major roles was a two-part crime saga Centered on the coal mafia of Dhanbad with the story spanning from the early 1940s to 2009. It was released on 22 June 2012 and was well appreciated by Indian and International critics alike.[44][45]The combine budget of the two films allowed it to be a box-office success.[46][47]On January 16 2015, it was released in United States on selected theatres.[48]

In 2013, kashyap directed That Day After Everyday starring Radhika Apte, Geetanjali Thapa and Sandhya Mridul.[49] It was a short-film running for 20 minutes and was released on YouTube. It showed the story of three working women facing troubles everyday, both inside and outside their houses and how they overcome them. Dealing with Issues like Eve Teasing and public molestation, the video got 4 Lakh hits in two days.[50] Speaking about the purpose of the project, Kashyap showed his intension to make people feel angry: "The idea was not to offer a solution, just show something to create that feeling".[51]

In the same year he teamed up with Dibakar Banerjee, Zoya Akhtar and Karan Johar to direct "Murabba", one of the four segments of anthology film Bombay Talkies.[52] The film was made to celebrate the 100 years of Hindi Cinema,[53] and was screened at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.[54] The film did not perform well at the box office,[55] but was well received by the critics.[56][57]

His next film Ugly, a Thriller starring Rahul Bhat, Ronit Roy, Tejaswini Kolhapure, Vineet Kumar Singh and Surveen Chawla in pivotal roles.[58] It was screened in the Directors' Fortnight section at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival,[59] were it received a Standing Ovation.[60][61][62] Its release was halted for over an year regarding censorship issues over depiction of smoking in the film.[63][64] The film was released on 26 December 2014 to generally positive reviews.[65][66]

Kashyap's future project is Bombay Velvet, a period film set in bombay of 1950s-60s, based on Princeton University Historian Gyan Prakash's book Mumbai Fables. Starring Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma in the lead roles and notably Karan Johar's acting debut as the antagonist of the film.[67] Produced by Phantom Films and Fox Star Studios, scheduled for a release on 15 May 2015.[68]


Kashyap found his production company Anurag Kashyap Films in 2009, which is managed by Guneet Monga.[69][70] The companies first film was the critical hit Udaan, which was screened in the Un Certain Regard category at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival.[71][72]Since then, he has produced a number of projects including Shaitan, Chittagong, Aiyyaa, Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana and Shorts.[73] In 2013, his company co-produced the critically acclaimed drama The Lunchbox, which was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Film Not in the English Language.[74] Along with the biographical drama Shahid.[75] The same year kashyap, along with Viacom 18 Motion Pictures co-produced five short films with the theme of ‘India is Visual Journey’.[76]The short films were Moi Marjaani, Chai, Hidden Cricket, Geek Out and The Epiphany.[77]

In 2011 Kashyap co-founded his director driven production company Phantom Films with partnership from Vikas Bahl, Vikramaditya Motwane and Madhu Mantena.[78]The company has since created several of the most critically and commercially successful films in recent times including Lootera, Queen, Ugly and NH10.


Kashyap has made brief cameo appearances in his films and other's including Black Friday, No Smoking, Luck By Chance, Dev D, Gulaal, Tera Kya Hoga Johnny, Soundtrack, Trishna, Bhoothnath Returns and Happy New Year; but made his acting debut in Onir's I Am, playing a child abuser.[79][80] The same year he essayed the role of a cop in the short film Encounter, co-starring Nimrat Kaur.[81] Next year he appeared in Tigmanshu Dhulia's crime thriller Shagird, were he played the antagonist Bunty Bhaiya. Nikhat Kazmi in her review mentioned, " Both Zakir Hussain and Kashyap are in fine form and create a lot of fireworks on screen".[82]Next he will be seen portraying the comic role of a lazy police officer in Nawazuddin Siddiqui starrer comedy Ghoomketu.[83]

Awards and honours[edit]

In 1999, Kashyap shared the Star Screen Award for Best Screenplay, along with Saurabh Shukla for Ram Gopal Varma's Satya. The next year, his short film Last Train to Mahakali won the Special Jury Award at the same awards.[84] His feature film debut Black Friday won the Grand Jury Prize at the 3rd Annual Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (2005),[85] and was a nominee for the "Golden Leopard" (Best Film) at the 57th Locarno International Film Festival (2004).[86]

On 20 May 2013, he was awarded the Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters) by the French government at 2013 Cannes Film Festival, when India was the guest country of the festival to commemorate 100 years of Indian cinema.[87] He has also served as one of the jury members at many film festivals including the 2009 Venice Film Festival,[88] 2013 Sundance Film Festival,[89] and the 13th Marrakech Film Festival.[90]

Style and Themes[edit]

Kashyap is regarded as an auteur and postmodern filmmaker.[91]While promoting Bombay Talkies, Dibakar Banerjee described his aesthetics as "purely new age or purely Indian"; projecting "post independence modern India" in his films.[92] He prefers shooting on real locations by employing guerrilla-filmmaking techniques with hidden cams,[93] and often makes his actors to improvise their dialogues on set.[94][95] Frequently uses hand-held camera's and off-beat soundtracks.[96]

His movie protagonist's often deal with excessive drug, smoke or alcohol consumption, personal guilt, extreme rage and arrogance which leads them into self-shattering situations.[97] Most of his movies deal with very realistic scenarios and takes clues from real incidents. For example, the 1976-77 Joshi-Abhyankar serial murders reference in Paanch,[98] the 1993 Mumbai bombing in Black Friday,[99] the Sanjeev Nanda BMW hit-and-run case and MMS scandal in Dev.D[100] and depiction of real life gang wars in Gangs of Wasseypur.[101]


Kashyap's work has also inspired British Director Danny Boyle, with him citing Black Friday along with his co-written film Satya as an inspiration for his 2008 award-winning film Slumdog Millionaire. Boyle stated that a chase in one of the opening scenes of Slumdog Millionaire was based on a "12-minute police chase through the crowded Dharavi slum" in Black Friday.[102] Also citing Satya's "slick, often mesmerizing" portrayal of the Mumbai underworld, which included gritty and realistic "brutality and urban violence," directly influenced the portrayal of the Mumbai underworld in Slumdog Millionaire.[103]

Personal life[edit]

Kashyap, with Kalki Koechlin at the 2009 Filmfare Awards.

Anurag was first married to film editor Aarti Bajaj and have a daughter together. They divorced in 2009. He later married actress Kalki Koechlin at Kalki's maternal home in Ooty.[104][105]They first met during the making of Dev D,[106] and later collaborated on other movies. In 2013, Kashyap and Kalki Koechlin announced that "they are taking time apart from their more than two-year-old marriage." [107]

When asked about his religious view, Kashyap replied, "I am an atheist. Cinema is the only religion I believe in".[108]


Directed features:

Year Film Director Producer Screenwriter Actor Notes
2003 Paanch Yes Yes Unreleased
2007 Black Friday Yes Yes Yes
2007 No Smoking Yes Yes Yes
2007 Return of Hanuman Yes Yes
2009 Dev.D Yes Yes Yes Nominated — Filmfare Award for Best Director
Nominated — IIFA Award for Best Director
Nominated — Apsara Award for Best Director
Nominated — Asia Pacific Screen Award for Achievement in Directing
Nominated — IIFA Award for Best Story
2009 Gulaal Yes Yes Yes Nominated — Filmfare Award for Best Story
2011 That Girl in Yellow Boots Yes Yes Yes
2012 Gangs of Wasseypur - Part 1 Yes Yes Yes Premiered at Cannes Film Festival in 2012
Nominated — Asia Pacific Screen Award for Achievement in Directing
Nominated - Filmfare Award for Best Film
Nominated - Filmfare Award for Best Director
2012 Gangs of Wasseypur - Part 2 Yes Yes Yes
2013 Bombay Talkies Yes Yes Directed one story out of four
2014 Ugly Yes Yes Yes Screened at 2013 Cannes film festival
2015 Bombay Velvet Yes Yes Yes


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External links[edit]