Anurag Kashyap is one of the finest directors of the country, known for his dark films that reflect the ugly side of society, politics, and human nature. Kashyap is known for his alternative genre that don’t quite make it to mainstream cinema. We decided to list out some of his top works
Gangs of Wasseypur Franchise
Gangs of Wasseypur is arguably the most famous movie that Anurag Kashyap has directed. The movie was also inspired by the 2002 film City of God. Both movies were shot as a single film making it a total of 319 minutes. The movies are based on the coal mafia in Dhanbad and the politics, power and equations between the crime families. What is a particular favourite is the inclusion of humour for all characters and circumstances. Who can forget the famous line “permission leni chahiye thi” from the film . The movie features an ensemble cast of Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Manoj Bajpayee, Richa Chadda, Huma Qureshi and Tigmanshu Dhulia. The franchise was critically acclaimed as one of the best gangster movies of all time. Gangs of Wasseypur was screened in its entirety at the 2012 Cannes Directors’ Fortnight, making it one of the only Hindi-language films to achieve this.
Dev.D starring Abhay Deol, and Mahi Gill is a modern day take on the famous Devdas by Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay. It also marked the debut of Kalki Koechlin in the lead as Chandramukhi, the sex worker, inspired by Madhuri Dixit’s character in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film by the same name. The film is set in contemporary Punjab and Delhi, where familial ties are negotiated by the traditional system and marriages are a game of power and a matter of honour. The film is divided into three parts from the point of view of the main characters i.e Paro, Dev, and Chanda. The film gained cult status for its story and soundtrack which was composed by Amit Trivedi with classics like Emotional Atyachaar, Pardesi, and Paayaliya made the movie a complete package. The movie was acclaimed by all and is one of Kashyap’s finest work, without a doubt.
Raman Raghav 2.0
Raman Raghav 2.0 stars Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Vicky Kaushal and debutante Sobhita Dhulipala and follows in eight chapters, the cat-and-mouse chase of Ramanna, a serial-killer by a corrupt cop Raghavan. The film is said to be inspired from the real life serial-killer Raman Raghav, who operated in Mumbai in 1960s. An interesting aspect about the film is the portrayal of the cop Raghavan, who is equally psychopathic and abusive when it comes to his wife, and hence, is somewhat similar to Ramanna. The soundtrack by Ram Sampath and the lyrics by Varun Grover added to the thrill of the film.
Ugly is a 2013 crime-thriller film written and directed by Anurag Kashyap starring Rahul Bhat, Ronit Roy, Surveen Chawla. Ugly tells the story of a struggling actor whose daughter disappears. The film follows the course of a week and the events that follow during that time. The film constantly keeps the audience on edge with its twists and turns and has one of the most mind-boggling twists of all time. Kashyap had the idea for the film since 2006 and started writing the script after talking to one of his friends, who was in the Special Task Force, Lucknow, about kidnapping cases. He chose actors who could connect with the characters in the film. The film was theatrically released on 26 December 2014 after a two-year delay due to Kashyap’s refusal to carry static anti-smoking warnings in the film.
Based on the book Black Friday: The True Story of the Bombay Bomb Blasts, by Hussain Zaidi, Black Friday is a 2004 crime film that is about the 1993 Mumbai bombings. It chronicles the events that led to the blasts and the subsequent police investigation. The film stars Kay Kay Menon, Aditya Srivastava, Pavan Malhotra, and Zakir Hussain. The soundtrack was composed by the band Indian Ocean and lyrics by Piyush Mishra. It is cited by several critics as Kashyap’s best work. Danny Boyle also claimed Black Friday to be his inspiration in his 2008 Academy Award speech for Slumdog Millionaire. Kashyap wrote the script in episodes for the six-part miniseries but later felt a feature film was more appropriate for the topic. The film uses real life person’s names like Tiger Memon and his brother Yakub Memon, who were the terrorists responsible for the bombing.
Mukkabaaz is a sports drama film that follows the story of an aspiring boxer who falls in love with the niece of the boxing federation head and the struggle that ensues later. The story was conceptualised by Vineet Kumar Singh and his sister Mukti Singh, and the movie was rejected by producers for a long time and then, Kashyap agreed to make the film if Vineet becomes a real boxer. What is endearing about the film is that where the movie has all scope to be jingoistic, it doesn’t go in that territory and stays rooted in the struggles of the lead characters. The movie received positive reviews and Singh’s acting was highly praised. No spoiler alert, but the ending of the movie tugged at out heartstrings.
Lust Stories is an anthology film directed by four directors- Anurag Kashyap, Karan Johar, Zoya Akhtar and Dibaker Bannerjee that talks about love, lust and relationships. Kashyap’s is the first one starring Radhika Apte that explores the dynamics between a teacher-student relationship and is slightly comical in the process. Kashyap shows the desire to experiment sexually and the obsessive need for control in the best way possible. When, it comes to finally legitimising her relationship, Apte’s character backs off claiming to be married, which is quite hilarious. The film follows the same concept of the 2013 anthology film, Bombay Talkies. It is succeeded by Ghost Stories that released in 2020.
That Girl in Yellow Boots
That Girl in Yellow Boots is a 2010 thriller film starring Kalki Koechlin and Naseeruddin Shah. Kalki plays the role of Ruth, a British woman, who comes to India, to search for her father, who is of Indian descent, a man she hardly knew but cannot forget, due to a letter he had written to her, asking her to seek him out. The film shows how the city plays the character of a villain by showing its dark side to strangers. Mumbai becomes the alien yet strangely familiar backdrop for Ruth’s quest. She struggles to find her independence and space as she is sucked deeper into the labyrinth of the city’s underbelly. A city that feeds on her misery, a love that eludes her. In what is possibly also seen as a commentary on the cult of godmen in India, her father is shown to be a follower of one such religious cult.
Choked: Paisa Bolta Hai
Choked is set against the backdrop of 2016 Indian banknote demonetisation. The film stars Saiyami Kher and Roshan Mathew, with Amruta Subhash and Rajshri Deshpande appearing in supporting roles. Choked tells the story of a bank cashier who discovers a stash of cash hidden in her kitchen sink and the systematic struggle she faces with the money because of the announcement of demonetisation. The film received the review of being raw and honest in its approach. However, it also received a lot of mixed reviews. But we believed that it showed the brutal struggle of what the middle class actually suffered through demonetisation trying to save themselves.
No Smoking is a film that has its own cult following among Kashyap fans, who claim it to be one of his best films due to its multiple interpretations and its abstract storyline. The movie stars John Abraham, Ayesha Takia, Ranvir Shorey and Paresh Rawal in the lead roles.The film is loosely based upon the 1978 short story “Quitters, Inc.” by Stephen King.The story is about K, played by John Abraham, a self-obsessed, narcissist chain smoker who agrees to kick his habit to save his marriage and visits a rehabilitation centre, but is caught in a labyrinth game by Baba Bengali, a man who guarantees he will make him quit. Kashyap explained that the film has nothing to do with quitting smoking but relatively about the state of mind, which refers to the mood or the mental state of the film’s protagonist, K. He has left it upon the audience themselves to make their own interpretations and speculate what transpires.
Gulaal is a socio-political drama film and explores various themes like the desire of power, injustices and hypocrisy of the society. The film is set in Rajasthan and follows student politics of a university, a fictitious movement and the violence surrounding it which consist of former Rajput leaders who have become present-day elite. The film stars Raj Singh Chaudhary, Kay Kay Menon, Abhimanyu Singh, Deepak Dobriyal, Jesse Randhawa, Piyush Mishra and Aditya Srivastava. The movie is set in the fictional town of Rajpur where Dilip (Raj Singh Chaudhary), a law student who is a Rajput from Bikaner finds himself embroiled in betrayals and violence with no way to get out of it and gets sucked in deeper.
We cannot wait to see more of his gritty films. But till then, be right back! Going to binge-watch these movies again.