The more we watch Anurag Kashyap’s compelling footage, the more we realize that no one does it like him. Kashyap has earned the title of optimistic director who never shies away from the shadows of reality, and he did it with one critically acclaimed film at a time. Over the years, he is also considered an artist known for establishing a distinct style of his own. With inspiration ranging from Tamil cinema to Italian and Korean films, he has transformed his extensive knowledge as a film nerd into engaging cinematic works. When you are watching an Anurag Kashyap movie, chances are you will easily recognize it as an Anurag Kashyap movie without reading the credits. They are distinctly different from mainstream movies in a good way. Over the years, he has experimented with films in his unique style and the Hindi cinema scene has grown richer and richer.
Raman Raghav 2.0
Raman Raghav 2.0 is a movie by Anurag Kashyap featuring excellent acting by Nawazuddin Siddiqui. It also features Vicky Kaushal and Sobhita Dhulipala, playing her first roles. Expanding over eight chapters, the story revolves around Ramanna (Siddiqui), a deranged serial killer who eventually develops a fixation for Raghavan (Kaushal), his case investigation officer, the the movie is a neo-noir thriller reportedly inspired by the real-life serial killer Raman Raghav from the 60s. Its biggest feat is that it doesn’t hide from the dark. The violence unleashed on the screen is a carnival of absolute gore that remains consistent from start to finish. And strangely enough, Kashyap makes you an instant root for the bad guy by digging into his psyche. In addition to providing a stylized visual spectacle to witness, the film also does a personality study of its leading men. Raman Raghav 2.0 is the director’s brilliant and innovative take on the serial killer genre.
The series Gangs of Wasseypur – Anurag Kashyap’s Gangster Story is arguably the most successful series of this director. Inspired by City of God (2002), the film takes us into the world of the coal mafia in Dhanbad, where crime families clash in the most brutal ways. It takes on the ambitious task of telling a multi-generational story. Featuring a massive cast of actors who understand the mission – Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Manoj Bajpayee, Huma Qureshi, Richa Dhadda and others, the film is filled with great performances. Furthermore, characters including Sardar Khan and Faizal Khan became instantly popular. It wasn’t long before the film’s remarkable dialogue and humorous scenes were turned into memes that continue to become a part of popular culture to this day. In particular, the first two films opened to a standing ovation from critics and fans alike. It wasn’t long before the titles were hailed as excellent additions to the crime genre.
Bollywood has explored alcoholism on screen before in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Devdas. Starring Shah Rukh Khan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Madhuri Dixit, the romantic black comedy is loosely based on Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s 1917 novel. With Dev.D, Anurag Kashyap came up with his own iconic text. In his modern day setting, set in Punjab and Delhi, the film’s story is told in three parts dedicated to Paro, Dev and Chanda. The film stars Abhay Deol, Mahie Gill and Kalki Koechlin in her debut Chanda role. The characters in the movie are flawed and Dev is not the most likable man. But you can’t help but invest in his story and much of the credit goes to the hypnotic imagery. From memorable songs like Emotional Atyachaar and Pardesi composed by Amit Trivedi to trifling movie scenes that one can’t take their eyes off, the film delivers on all that makes an instant classic. Dev.D is a dizzying watch no doubt but worth the trip beating Kashyap’s insane vision.
Anurag Kashyap may draw inspiration from movies and literature but his movies are based on realism. Another crime drama, Black Friday is a haunting exploration of a real-life tragedy – the 1993 Mumbai bombings. The bombings have injured thousands and killed many. The film is set almost a decade after it happened, chronicling the events leading up to the explosion and the ensuing investigation. It stars Kay Kay Menon, Aditya Srivastava, Pavan Malhotra, Zakir Khan, and many others at their best in their roles. Throughout the film, Anurag Kashyap maintains a tense atmosphere right from the very first bomb scenes to the climax of the film. It’s also commendable that he gives a nuanced look at the perpetrators of the bombings while being objective. The film was also inspired by Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle. Very impressive indeed!
In Gulaal, Dilip (played by Raj Singh Chaudhary), a young law student from the fictional Rajpur is attacked by a group of goblins. He then seeks revenge and gets embroiled in politics. Set against the backdrop of student politics, the film tackles issues including rags, class conflict, and college conflict as Dilip navigates college life. The film has a strong story with more than an interesting arc as each character is carefully curated. Kay Kay Menon delivers another towering performance while Raj Singh Choudhary is perfectly cast as the protagonist. Their parts are lifted by the director’s signature dark, pensive tones. The film is an impressively unique win.
Ugly has a backstory that we’ve seen before – it’s a missing child. 2014 crime thriller film written and directed by Anurag Kashyap. It stars Rahul Bhat, Ronit Roy, Surveen Chawla and others. It revolves around the events of a week when the daughter of a struggling actor goes missing. What happens next is a series of events that bring out the “ugly” sides of the film’s characters. Despite its short focus, the film manages to keep one of the edges of the chair end-to-end with one mind-bending over and over. Anurag Kashyap excellently softens the tension surrounding the missing child while keeping the characters focused.