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Anurag Kashyap

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Anurag Kashyap
File:Anurag Kashyap at the special screening of Hollywood film.jpg
Kashyap at the special screening of The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel in 2015
Born Anurag Singh Kashyap
(1972-09-10) 10 September 1972 (age 43)
Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, India
Occupation Film director, producer, screenwriter, 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, producer and actor. He has received acclaim for his often realistic films, and is regarded as the face of an emerging new wave cinema for producing numerous independent films with newcomers. For his contributions to film, the Government of France awarded him the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Order of Arts and Letters) in 2013.

After writing a television serial, Kashyap got his major break as a co-writer in Ram Gopal Varma's crime drama Satya (1998) and made his directorial debut with Paanch, which never had a theatrical release due to censorship issues. He then went on to direct Black Friday (2007), 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. His next venture Dev.D (2009), a modern adaptation of Devdas was a critical and commercial success. It was followed by Gulaal (2009), and the thriller That Girl in Yellow Boots (2011), both films also 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), Ugly (2014) and Bombay Velvet (2015).

Apart from filmmaking, Kashyap currently serves as the Member of board of the Mumbai-based NGO, Aangan, which helps protect vulnerable children around India. 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.

Early life

Anurag Kashyap was born and grew up in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh.[1] His father Prakash Singh worked as a Deputy General Manager at a thermal power project in Anpara, near Varanasi.[2] 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.[3][4] Abhinav is also a filmmaker, 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 theatre group, Jana Natya Manch; and did many street plays.[4][8][9] The same year, his couple of friends "urged [him] to catch a de Sica retrospective" at the International Film Festival of India.[3][4][10] 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][11]

"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][12] 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."[4] He then managed to find work at Prithvi Theatre, but his first play remained incomplete because the director died.[7]

Writer and director

In 1995, an acquaintance introduced Kashyap to Shivam Nair. The day they met, Kashyap watched 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 written by Subramaniam was not "working". Kashyap rewrote the script, and got credit for the same, but it was scrapped.[9][11] In 1997, he wrote the screenplay of Hansal Mehta's first film, Jayate which failed to find a theatrical release;[13] and episodes of the TV series Kabhie Kabhie (1997).[14]

In 1998, the 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 his crime film, Satya (1998).[7][9] Satya was a critical and commercial success,[15][16] and is regarded as one of the best film of all time and one of the best gangster film of Hindi cinema.[17][18] He later collaborated with Varma in scripting Kaun (1999) and writing dialogues for Shool (1999). In 1999, he made a short film, titled Last Train to Mahakali starring Nivedita Bhattacharya and Kay Kay Menon.[19]


While working with Nair, Kashyap 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.[20][21] A crime thriller about a group of five friends of a rock band turning into criminals, starring Kay Kay Menon, Aditya Srivastava, Vijay Maurya, Tejaswini Kolhapure and Joy Fernandes in the lead roles.[22] The film faced trouble with the Central Board of Film Certification[23] because, according to Kashyap, "They felt it wasn't healthy entertainment because it dealt unapologetically with sex, drugs and misguided, alienated youths".[4] It was cleared by the Board in 2001,[24] but remains unreleased due to some problems faced by the producer.[11] In these years, he also wrote dialogues for many films including Paisa Vasool (2004), Mani Ratnam's Yuva (2004), the Canadian film Water (2005), Main Aisa Hi Hoon (2005) and Mixed Doubles (2006).

After a failed attempt to make Allwyn Kalicharan in 2003,[25] Kashyap started working on Black Friday (2007), a film based on the book by Hussain Zaidi about the 1993 Mumbai bombings.[26][27] The Bombay high court put a stay on the release of the film, until the judgement in the bomb blasts case was delivered. It was decided after a petition filed by a group of 1993 bomb blasts accused, challenging the release of the film based on their case.[28] The film got censorship clearance in 2007, and was released after two years meeting universal acclaim.[29][30] Taran Adarsh of Bollywood Hungama gave the film a score of 4 out of 5, and said, "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."[31]

File:Anurag kashyap.jpg
Kashyap attending the Rome Film Festival in 2007.

The same year, Kashyap adapted Stephen King's 1978 short story "Quitters, Inc." into No Smoking, a surrealistic thriller about a chain-smoker who gets trapped in the maze of a person who guarantees will make him quit smoking.[32] The film starring John Abraham, Ayesha Takia, Ranvir Shorey and Paresh Rawal in the leads with music by Vishal Bhardwaj, premiered at the Rome Film Festival.[33] It was released on 26 October 2007 to an overwhelming negative reception and failed at the box-office.[34][35][36] CNN-IBN's Rajeev Masand called it a "colossal disappointment".[37] Kashyap's final release of the year was Return of Hanuman, a animation film about adventures of the Hindu god Hanuman.[38]

In 2009, Kashyap had two releases. Dev.D, a contemporary take on Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay's novel Devdas. It was the twelfth film adaptation of the Bengali novel.[39] 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.[40] It was released on 6 February 2009 to generally positive reviews and strong box office results.[41][42][43]

Gulaal, a political crime drama starring Raj Singh Chaudhary, Kay Kay Menon, Abhimanyu Singh, and Deepak Dobriyal, was his final release of that year. Kashyap started working on the film in 2005, and had finished 70-80 per cent of the film in 2006, when its producer fell ill. Later on, Zee Motion Pictures took over the project and was finally finished in 2008.[11] It was released on 13 March to generally positive reviews.[44] Anupama Chopra gave the film three stars and referred to Kashyap as "the Anti-Yash Chopra".[45] Despite positive reviews, the film underperformed at the box office.[46]


Mumbai Cutting (2010), a anthology film comprising eleven short films by eleven directors, telling eleven different stories based on life in Mumbai, was his next directorial venture.[47] He directed one of the short film, It premiered at the 2008 Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles.[48]

In 2011, Kashyap directed That Girl in Yellow Boots, a thriller starring Kalki Koechlin who also co-wrote the film with him.[49] The film was screened at many film 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.[50][51] Shot in 13 days, the film was released on September 2011 to mostly favourable reviews.[52] Film critic Roger Ebert gave it 3.5 out of 4 stars, praising the character-driven film and the portrayal of its lead alongside 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".[53]

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,[54] London Indian Film Festival,[55] Toronto film festival[56] and the Sundance Film Festival in 2013.[57] 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. The first part was released on 22 June, and the second on 8 August 2012, both receiving appreciation from Indian and international critics alike.[58][59][60][61] The combined budget of the two films allowed it to be a box-office success.[62][63] On 16 and 23 January 2015, Its both parts were released subsequently in United States in selected theatres.[64][65][66]

In 2013, Kashyap directed That Day After Everyday, a 20 minute short-film that was released on YouTube; starring Radhika Apte, Geetanjali Thapa and Sandhya Mridul. 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 four lakh hits in two days.[67] 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".[68]

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. It was made to celebrate the 100 years of Indian cinema, and was screened at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.[69][70][71] The film did not perform well at the box office,[72] but was well received by critics.[73][74]

His next film was Ugly (2014), a thriller starring Rahul Bhat, Ronit Roy, Tejaswini Kolhapure, Vineet Kumar Singh and Surveen Chawla in pivotal roles. It was screened in the Directors' Fortnight section at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, receiving a standing ovation.[75][76] The film's release was halted for over a year regarding censorship issues over depiction of smoking in it,[77][78] but it was released on 26 December 2014 to generally positive reviews.[79][80]

Kashyap's next release was Bombay Velvet (2015), a period film set in Bombay in the 1960s, based on Princeton University Historian Gyan Prakash's book Mumbai Fables. It stars Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma and Karan Johar.[81] The film was co-edited by the Academy Award winner editor Thelma Schoonmaker, who is known for her collaboration with Martin Scorsese.[82] Produced by Phantom Films and Fox Star Studios, it was released on 15 May 2015 to mixed to negative reception. The film was appreciated for its retro-look, performances, styling and music, but was criticised for its faltered storytelling.[83][84] It also emerged as a box-office failure.[85][86]


Kashyap found his production company Anurag Kashyap Films in 2009, which is managed by Guneet Monga.[87][88] The companies' first film was the critical hit Udaan (2010), which was screened in the Un Certain Regard category at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival.[89][90]

Since then, he has produced a number of projects including Shaitan (2011), Chittagong (2012), Aiyyaa (2012), Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana (2012) and Shorts (2013).[91] He has also co-produced a number of films that have went on to film festivals, but are yet to release theatrically, including Michael, Peddlers and Monsoon Shootout.[92] In 2012, Kashyap produced The Last Act, India's first collaborative feature film from twelve directors to make ten minute short films, with each film being a part of a larger story written by him.[93]

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; along with the biographical drama Shahid.[94][95] The same year Kashyap, with Viacom 18 Motion Pictures co-produced five short films with the theme of ‘India is Visual Journey’.[96] The short films were Moi Marjaani, Chai, Hidden Cricket, Geek Out and The Epiphany.[97] He also served as the creative director in the Amitabh Bachchan starrer TV series Yudh (2014),[98] and subsequently presented two documentary film's, The World Before Her and Katiyabaaz.[99][100]

In 2011 Kashyap co-founded his director driven production company Phantom Films with partnership from Vikas Bahl, Vikramaditya Motwane and Madhu Mantena.[101] The company has since created several critical and commercially successful films including Lootera (2013), Queen (2014), NH10 (2015) and Hunterrr (2015).


Kashyap has made cameo appearances in his films and those of others, including Black Friday, No Smoking, Tera Kya Hoga Johnny (2008), Luck by Chance (2009), Dev.D, Gulaal, Soundtrack (2011), Trishna (2011), Bhoothnath Returns (2014), Happy New Year (2014) and I Am (2010), playing a child abuser.[102][103] The same year, he played a police officer in the short film Encounter (2010), co-starring Nimrat Kaur.[104]

In 2011, he made his full-fledged acting debut, playing the antagonist Bunty Bhaiya in Tigmanshu Dhulia's crime thriller Shagird (2011). Nikhat Kazmi in her review mentioned, "Both Zakir Hussain and Kashyap are in fine form and create a lot of fireworks on screen".[105]

He will next be seen portraying the comic role of a lazy police officer in the Nawazuddin Siddiqui-starrer comedy Ghoomketu.[106]

Awards and honours

In 1999, Kashyap shared the Screen Award for Best Screenplay, along with Saurabh Shukla for Satya.[107] The next year, his short film Last Train to Mahakali won the Special Jury Award at the same awards. His feature film debut Black Friday won the Grand Jury Prize at the 3rd Annual Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles,[108] and was a nominee for the "Golden Leopard" (Best Film) at the 57th Locarno International Film Festival.[109][110]

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.[111]

He has also served as one of the jury members at many film festivals including the 2009 Venice Film Festival,[112] 2013 Sundance Film Festival,[113] and the 13th Marrakech Film Festival.[114]

In 2011, Kashyap shared the Best Story and Best Screenplay Award at the 56th Filmfare Awards with Vikramaditya Motwane for Udaan.[115] The next year he shared the Filmfare Award for Best Dialogue with Zeishan Quadri, Sachin Ladia and Akhilesh Jaiswal for Gangs of Wasseypur at the 58th Filmfare Awards; the film also won the Critics Award Best Movie at the same award show.[116]

At the 60th Filmfare Awards, Kashyap won the Filmfare Award for Best Editing with Abhijit Kokate for Queen.[117]

Style and themes

Kashyap is regarded as an auteur and postmodern filmmaker.[118] While promoting Bombay Talkies in Anupama Chopra's show, Dibakar Banerjee described Kashyap's aesthetics as "purely new age or purely Indian"; projecting "post independence modern India" in his films.[119] He prefers shooting on real locations by employing guerrilla-filmmaking techniques with hidden cameras,[120] and often makes his actors improvise their dialogues on set.[121][122] In Ugly, he did not show the script to any of the lead actors.[122][123] He frequently uses hand-held cameras and experimental soundtracks.[124][125]

The protagonists of his films often deal with excessive drug, smoke or alcohol consumption, personal guilt, extreme rage and arrogance which leads them into self-shattering situations.[118] Most of his films deal with very realistic scenarios and take clues from real incidents.[126] For example, the 1976-77 Joshi-Abhyankar serial murders reference in Paanch,[21] the 1993 Mumbai bombing in Black Friday,[7] the Sanjeev Nanda BMW hit-and-run case and DPS MMS Scandal in Dev.D[127] and the depiction of real life gang wars in Gangs of Wasseypur.[128]

Ugly came from his "personal guilt" of not spending enough time with his daughter and the fear of losing her inspired the story, with several real-life incidents like IAS officer whose wife filed a case of brutality against him.[129]

A song "sylvia" in Bombay Velvet was named after the Nanavati case, where Sylvia Nanavati was K. M. Nanavati's wife.[130]


Kashyap's work inspired British director Danny Boyle, who has described Black Friday and Satya as the inspirations for his Academy Award-winning film Slumdog Millionaire (2008). 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.[131] He also cited 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.[131]

Personal life

Kashyap currently serves as the Member of board of the Mumbai-based NGO, Aangan, which helps protect vulnerable children around India.[132] He was first married to film editor Aarti Bajaj, and have a daughter together.[129] They divorced in 2009.[133] He later married actress Kalki Koechlin at Kalki's maternal home in Ooty, whom he first met during the making of Dev D.[134][135][136] In 2013, Kashyap and Kalki announced that "they are taking time apart from their more than two-year-old marriage."[137] On 19 May 2015, they got divorced at the Bandra family court in Mumbai.[138]

In May 2014, It was reported that Kashyap was dating one of his assistant director Sabrina Khan,[139] and in April 2015, he split with her.[140]

When asked about his religious view, Kashyap replied, "I am an atheist. Cinema is the only religion I believe in."[141]


Directed features:

Year Film Director Producer Screenwriter Actor
2003 Paanch Yes Yes
2004 Black Friday Yes Yes Yes
2007 No Smoking Yes Yes Yes
2007 Return of Hanuman Yes Yes
2009 Dev.D Yes Yes Yes
2009 Gulaal Yes Yes Yes
2010 Mumbai Cutting Yes Yes
2011 That Girl in Yellow Boots Yes Yes Yes
2012 Gangs of Wasseypur - Part 1 Yes Yes Yes
2012 Gangs of Wasseypur - Part 2 Yes Yes Yes
2013 Bombay Talkies Yes Yes
2014 Ugly Yes Yes Yes
2015 Bombay Velvet Yes Yes Yes


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External links

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