Hansal Mehta: I was initially approached to direct Gangs of Wasseypur

The filmmaker said that since he could not mount the project or find a producer, he ultimately let go of the film which was then directed by Anurag Kashyap
Hansal Mehta and Anurag Kashyap
Hansal Mehta and Anurag Kashyap

Director Hansal Mehta recently revealed in an interview that he was initially approached to direct the acclaimed gangster-drama Gangs of Wasseypur. The Omerta (2017) director said that he even asked his old friend Manoj Bajpayee to star in the project before it was taken up by Anurag Kashyap.

In a conversation with Mid-Day, Hansal said that initially the film wasn’t designed as a two-parter and Manoj was to play the character of Faizal Khan, a role which was ultimately essayed by Nawazuddin Siddiqui.

“Zeishan Quadri (writer and also the actor who plays ‘Definite’ in the film) came to me with that story, and we worked on it for a few months. I spoke to Manoj, who was doing nothing at the time. I spoke to Manoj, and I said, ‘Tu karega kya?‘ (Will you do it?) And he said, ‘Yes, let’s do it, I’ll put some money into it as well’.”

Hansal said that because he couldn’t mount the budget, or find a producer, he agreed to let go of the project. “I had no idea how to go about it, because nobody trusted me… We started writing, and in the meantime, Zeishan went and met Anurag. Anurag called me and asked, ‘Sir, aap bana rahe ho toh main nahi banata hoon (If you’re really doing it, I’ll step away). But I didn’t have a producer; it was an impractical dream. I told him I have just one request, that he hire Manoj because I had promised to take him in it.”

Gangs of Wasseypur ultimately turned out to be Anurag’s most acclaimed film. Hansal and Manoj later collaborated on 2015’s Aligarh.

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