Award-winning Indian director, producer and actor Anurag Kashyap has a unique way of peddling his projects. Kashyap, known for his gritty, dark and disturbing crime thrillers, plays a lazy small-town police officer in his new comedy ‘Ghoomketu’, premiering directly on digital platform Zee5 Middle East on May 22.
“I really hate acting. It’s an honest fact. I love directing… I wouldn’t recommend any director to cast me in any role,” said Kashyap in an interview over the phone with Gulf News, ahead of his movie’s release.
His declarations aren’t likely to instil much faith in viewers, but Kashyap — who is also the producer of ‘Ghoomketu’ — is onto something here. He claims he simply doesn’t have the physical discipline required to be an actor.
“If I am doing a film that has been filmed over a period of time, you will see that my hair is not in the right place or that in one scene I will be fat, the next scene I will be thin. That kind of lack of continuity I cannot bear it as a director. So I often dissuade people from casting me as an actor,” he said.
Kashyap was also required to sport a moustache in ‘Ghoomketu’ and that facial fuzz gave him sleepless nights.
“I personally hate having a moustache, but I had to keep it on till the film went on. Imagine waking up to this moustache that you’re adoring to take off. I am a very unfit person to be an actor. I even shut my eyes while watching my scenes… I can’t bear to see myself act. I cringe,” said Kashayap.
While he may lack the physical discipline required to be an actor, the ‘Gangs Of Wasseypur’ filmmaker hasn’t done shabbily on the acting front. He’s known for his sizeable roles in ‘Akira’ and ‘Shagird’ and significant cameos in films such as ‘Dev D’ and ‘Luck By Chance’.
Apparently, he was cast in ‘Ghoomketu’ as no other actor was available to do the role in his “uniquely funny film”. Kashyap has no qualms about admitting that he was the filmmaker’s last resort when things got desperate.
“When people come to me asking me to act, I ask them to give me roles that can be finished in a day or two. I want to move on … I do roles because I understand the predicament of filmmakers. I understand their pain.”
‘Ghoomketu’ is led by Nawzuddin Siddiqui, a self-made actor and friend of Kashyap. Siddiqui’s personal life is in the spotlight right now after his wife filed for divorce, claiming emotional torture. The actor cancelled interactions with the media when the scandal arose this week.
But his co-star was game to speak. Here are excerpts from our interview with Kashyap:
Q: What can you tell us about ‘Ghoomketu’?
A: It a unique comedy that’s pure fun and revels in mocking Bollywood. The truth is that we all love mocking ourselves … Sometimes, it was a very difficult idea to pull off. The movie is built around Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s character Ghoomketu. He is a struggling writer in our film industry. It comes from a director whose mind is as twisted as his moustache.
Q: But isn’t Bollywood notoriously thin-skinned and can rarely take a joke?
A: In this film, many actors have played themselves and are happily taking the joke on themselves. Our jokes are respectful and never nasty. The humour that you see in this film also comes out of awe for the way things work in Bollywood.
Q: Hasn’t this film been in the making for long?
A: We started shooting for this film in 2014 and by the time we finished shooting it was two years down the line. There were many mainstream actors who were playing themselves in this film. To get actors like Ranveer Singh, Sonakshi Sinha, director Nikhil Advani, Chitrangada Singh and Bachchan saab [Amitabh Bachchan] for our film took time. I remember shooting my scenes across one year. A chunk of the film was shot first, followed by my police officer scenes. But you cannot make it out in the film… There was also an incident where we had to wait for a particular actor for one and a half years and eventually we decided not to wait. When you see the film, it will all start to make sense.
Q: What’s your equation with Nawazuddin Siddiqui? Didn’t you discover him?
A: Nawazuddin has been my friend for the longest time. His first film was with me called ‘Shool’ [Kashyap was the writer of the 1999 crime thriller]. He played a waiter. The scene showed him as this thin waiter taking orders. It was a very small scene. But I truly discovered his potential during the making of ‘Black Friday’.
I took a chance on him. But the first two people who gave him a chance with bigger roles were my good friends and directors Prashant Bhargava and Nandita Das. Prashant’s ‘Patang’ featuring Nawazuddin took a long time to release, but since he was my friend he showed me footages and I saw the potential in him in that film.
I always believe that an actor should be known to people before they are put in a central role. They should already know you. So I put him in songs like ‘Emotional Atyachar’. We are good friends and have this silent, unspoken love between us. If there’s one image that you need of us as friends, then this film will be the one.
Don’t Miss It!
Ghoomketu will stream on Zee5 Middle East from May 22.