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Anurag Kashyap: The romance that we usually see in films is far-fetched from reality- Cinema express

Anurag Kashyap: The romance that we usually see in films is far-fetched from reality

The filmmaker talks about her latest film, Almost Pyaar with DJ Mohabbat, which hit the screens recently

Published: 06th February 2023

Anurag Kashyap is not someone one often connects with the idea of romantic films. However, in the recent past, Anurag is slowly making his full-fledged sojourn into this genre. While his films always had a dash of romance, it wasn't the central core of his films, and with Manmarziyaan, he made quite a splash. Now, he is back to the genre with the recent release, Almost Pyaar with DJ Mohabbat. 

Excerpts from the conversation

Tell us the story behind the quirky title of the film.

The name is based on a podcast called Almost Pyaar with DJ Mohabbat. There are two parallel stories, where the protagonists are trying to discover themselves and find love and music, and the podcast helps them in the journey. One story is based in London and the other in Dalhousie, Himachal Pradesh.

You started working on the script over half a decade ago. What took so long for the film to materialise?

I began planning Almost Pyaar in 2016. I take my time to make films, but in this case, it got further delayed because I kept falling ill, and then the lockdown happened. Despite the hurdles, we managed to pull it off. Fortunately, because our actors—Alaya F and newcomer Karan Mehta—are young, they did not visibly age during this time. Also, it helped that both of them had faith in me.

Alaya F has said you make changes in the dialogues as well as the script till the last moment. Is it true?

Yes, I have always done that, right from my first film. I love to write a lot, which is why despite having a bound script, I keep making changes till the very end.

Unlike your other films, Almost Pyaar has been given a U/A certificate. Why?

When I make films from my perspective, it’s mostly about dirty politics and the language used is strong. This film, however, is from a teenager’s point of view and explores their world that runs on the belief, ‘it’s your problem, not mine’.

How has the experience of working on this film changed your relationship with daughter Aaliyah?

I have stopped fathering my daughter and instead try to listen to her more. During this film, I discovered how her generation perceives the world and how it is different from mine. Our struggle was that we were trying to become progressive by fighting patriarchy or homophobia, but this generation is born progressive. For them, the main issue is their parents trying to teach them how to lead their lives.

A lot of your films, including Gangs of Wasseypur and the more recent Dobaara, premiered at film festivals. Even Almost Pyaar opened at the Marrakech Film Festival. What is the reason behind this?

Sometimes, it’s easy to get the money for a film, but one doesn’t find the right people to work with.
At other times, people don’t care about making a good film, and just want to know if it will run at the box office. That’s why I make a lot of my films for festivals.

You have almost consistently made films with dark characters. Is this a style that you have consciously gone for?

Dark is a relative term. What I portray are real-life characters. I like to make the audience uncomfortable with my films so that they start analysing the story.

You mentioned you were ill for a long time. How did you bounce back?

I had hit rock bottom. I suffered a heart attack, was in a wheelchair for four months and lost interest in everything. Many people helped me recover and get back to work. On Vishal Bhardwaj’s insistence, I did a cameo in his son’s film, Kuttey. Then, Zoya Akhtar called me for a shoot in France. I don’t enjoy acting but started doing it to get out. Imtiaz Ali and Rajkumar Hirani also helped me.

Remakes, especially of southern films, seem to be getting quite popular with the Hindi-speaking audience. You made Dobaara based on the Spanish drama Mirage last year. Are there any other films that you want to adapt?

I don’t want to make remakes or sequels. I made Dobaraa because Taapsee (Pannu) came to me with it. My next film is almost ready. You will see Sunny Leone acting in it.

After making hard- hitting films such as Black Friday and Gulaal, you moved on to love stories such as Dev.D, Manmarziyaan and now Almost Pyaar. Are you focusing more on romance as a genre now?

I don’t see Dev.D or Manmarziyaan as love stories. The romance that we usually see in films is far-fetched from reality, which is why I have never believed them. My films are based on relationships, and that is the case with Almost Pyaar with DJ Mohabbat as well.

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