Wednesday, August 29, 2007

debauched devdas and Anurag Kashyap

Sumit recounts his story as a 19-year-old here:

During my B.Tech 1st year I made a play with my seniors on the life of AIDS patients and during the whole process, everybody claimed how much we FEEL their pain and how we wanted to work for the CAUSE. Well, I never felt their pain nor did I work for the cause, I just enjoyed working with one of the most talented people I had met till then, I enjoyed writing the script, I enjoyed writing the poems on the posters, I enjoyed playing the charecter. But all that claim of CAUSE-thing by my revered seniors left me confused. I felt that something is wrong with me, probably they feel something I am not capable of feeling.

This theatre lover chose to not be a part of street plays that his group had organized to collect funds for the Tsunami relief fund (he put his contribution in a charity box, instead). His friends accused him of “running away from the responsibility of a theatre person.” He didn’t agree with the “this-is-why-theatre-is-done” (to help people, that is) philosophy. What was his reason for not doing it then?

My reason for not being a part of their endeavours was that they all were not doing it in a very creative way.


Anurag Kashyap’s (Black Friday, Paanch) struggle to make films that he believed in, without sacrificing or compromising his vision, is worth a read; if this trait percolates into the quality of his movies, then I can hardly wait to see them. His efforts at making his version of Devdas “where Devdas doesn’t pity himself, he discovers himself... that he is a debauch, a hypocrite, he is a sensualist, hence self-destructive...but he doesn’t know he is destroying himself” led him to knock on the doors of many potential producers, one of whom bestowed on him this priceless piece of advice.

Producer: This is your problem, you are always angry, no one can talk to you, do you know nobody here hates you as much as you want to believe it...even people at Yashraj say, he is a nice guy, all he has to do is stop being so angry...they really want to help you.

Anurag: Hello, do I look like I need help, I need people to believe in me, I need them to stop trying to help me, I want you to stop trying to make my life better, I want someone who can see I am not trying to make someone bankrupt, I am not an art filmmaker, I am not trying to sell philosophy, all I want to do is make films that everyone sees, I also want to reach out to the same audience that everyone does and how would you know I can’t if I am not doing what I want to.

What does Anurag Kashyap feel about the Devdas we know of for which, I presume, he wants to create his version of it?

Saratchandra always regarded Devdas as his worst book ever, which ended up becoming his most celebrated...Indians loved to pity themselves...hence songs like ghungroo ki tarah bajta hi raha hoon main.


1. Laxman had no identity of his own. Take Ram out of the equation and Laxman seems to have lost his personality.
2. Gandhari chose to lead a blindfolded life because Dhritarashtra, her spouse, was blind.
3. Bhisma vowed lifelong celibacy, distributing his hormones among those less passionate about life, and forsook his claim to his father’s throne as an act of pure sacrifice.

For the Hindu child, the acculturization begins rather early. Two memes of their society—sacrifice and pity—are like constant reminders, admonishing, motivating, driving, directing them toward lives lived in their throes.

While sacrifice, as an Indian emotion, is pretty easy to identify with, pity is cloaked in the garb of kindness for the unfortunate; the unfortunate are buffeted by fate; and that is beyond their control. Thus, to feel pity for them is inevitable; it is destined and beyond the ambit of human control. And hence, the unfortunate need your pity.

I’m not convinced.


Ergo said...

I really like the sentiments expressed by Sumit and Anurag Kashyap.

And, of course, I agree with you regarding pity; I do think that pity (like sacrifice) is rooted in guilt--a guilt for your own condition in comparison to someone less fortunate, like as if it's your fault; hence, pity and an obligation to sacrifice.

Which is why the Objectivist morality regards "an individual's selfish pursuit of rational happiness" as the only moral purpose of life--and does not apologize for it.

Now, I happened to see "Black Friday" directed by Anurag. And I must say I rarely ever feel the magnitude of the expression "waste of precious time" as I felt while watching that movie. It was an abysmally boring movie that really sucked out some precious moments from my life.

satyajit said...

reading about other people and their stories, i'm always surprised by the Objectivist streak running through some of them.

I haven't seen Black Friday and desperately want to do so, your take on it notwithstanding :-)

nutty said...

Finally! Finally a post by you which not only could I relate to but it also got me thinking and, yes, agreeing with you :) (I'm not including your travelogue posts of course).

I must confess some of your earlier posts I either simply couldn't understand or I outright rejected what you were saying because it went against my grain.

Objectivist morality is something I can both understand and agree with. Most people follow it if they're honest with themselves. And of course why not!

I also felt this was a very Ayn Rand type post. Sumit sort of reminded me of Howard Roark. :)

Goli said...

What I could figure your post and reading Anand Kashyap interview is that he is very arrogant. It is like I am making films for this great cause and why is no one is supporting me and world is a wrong place. I would say that if he is so concerned why not take a loan, there is something called a personal loan, and be the producer of his films himself, but that he would not do. Because he is not convinced about that.

There are people of other kind, they are doing commercial movies to make money and then do something really creative with that money. IT engineers slogging their asses off in software company, to save money and do something which they really want to do. Have seen Journalists, slogging late nights to come up with those stupid page 3 of Bangalore times, but then silently taking weekends off to make documentaries real good documentaries.


satyajit said...

nutty: You've been one of the few who have been quite forthcoming with their views, and its very appreciable. Your views, esp. when they do not correspond with my own, help me build my case..a man's life is his philosophy in the making, and it helps if he's asked questions along the way..

Did you read the entire post of Sumit...I liked his analysis of Rang De basanti and how he applied it in general to fighting for a cause..

These apart, i like "against my grain"...are you into writing? :-)

and thanks

satyajit said...

goli: If you've read the linked post, then in that, Anurag replies "no" on being asked if he's making a "social film"...

also, even if he's making films for a great cause, should he be supported just for that? In Anurag's own words, "Black friday" wasn't made for a cause. He says in this regard:

"why did i make the film..i was affected by the book greatly..i had no notion of greatness..hell i just wanted to do it right..half the time i was insecure about my own political maturity"

check what Sumit says in his post on this:

thats how I felt for the AIDS play…”so people will call you a great, theatre artist”. Anurag has given a wonderful answere which satisfies a lot of questions, he says “I was affected by the book greatly”. I think thats all, thats reason enough. He never said that he felt the pain

Regarding personal loans, i don't think any bank would lend you 4.5 crores (thats the budget of black friday and it was called "shoe-string" by anurag) and that too to make a movie

Most importantly, I don';t understand why you should hold it against someone if he wishes to make movies his own way..and he's just asking producers to look at his concept and fund him if they like it; he's not begging nor asking for another post, anurag ays abt his encounter with SRK..he says SRK advised him exactly as you do--make commercial movies, don't do such "absurd" things...

if you think he's arrogant because of his "IQ" comment, then he, of all people, reserves the right to be judgemental in this regard..this guy has been there, done the rounds, risked everything for his dream...chk's not sitting in his armchair and dishing out judgements..but all that is assuming that your opinion of him is because of that IQ comment that he's arrogant :-)

i understand though if you don't like his films :-)

nutty said...

am i into writing? :) I honestly do not know how to answer that.
but oddly enough your question inspired an entire post!

do read it and let me know what you think...

Word blaster said...

in fact i completely agree on that self-pity thing - Indian love them - nah they are obsessed with it.

In fact, most of them donnow that self pity is an easy way of making fun of oneself or looking down on one self

Nice post!

satyajit said...

thank you word blaster!

there was a period in the 70s and 80s when under the garb of social films, sob stories that ran high on sympathy, pity, and sacrifice were churned out..guys like jeetendra and rishi kapoor revelled in such roles..and now this has shifted to TV i guess with so many soaps dishing similar outdated nauseating stories

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