Watched No Smoking few days back at Habitat Center, Anurak Kashyap was a guest there and did a session of Q&A after the movie. Though he advised before the movie began that the movie be seen as the fight of a man against the system, but the obvious reference provided in the movie by naming the central character K was too big to miss. The movie written was by Kashyap at a time when he was at one of the lowest point of his life apart from being penniless and homeless. And unarguably reason for such a situation was the System of Indian Film Industry. A system because of which Paanch was yet to be released, Gulal was yet to be completed. As Kashyap says the K in the movie may be Kashyap himself fighting an un-comprehend able and corrupt system.
K, i.e. John Abharam in the movie is an Arrogant man for whom smoking is his life and the world around is hell bent of making him stop smoking. There’s a wife, a mother, a brother, few friends who somehow know what he’s supposed to do with his life and then there’s the system hell bent on rehabilitating him. The rehabilitation center, named Prayogshala, has a character named BabaBangali who is the head there and presides over several other characters that are symbolically linked to the system.
The movie is now way a anti-smoking movie and if taken in its true sense its actually quite ironically (or may be not so ironically) a pro smoking movie, though not in the literal sense. While answering one question Anurag said it was actually a dishonest movie whereby he has fooled many a lot, primarily the sensor board by making it a bit indirect. …what can a man do when only one of his movies gets released in eight years and that too be then stalled by the court. I was hell bent into getting my movie released so I made it bit indirect and they never knew its actual sense before it got released …….I smoke and I am never going to quit smoking….On asked why he casted John in the movie about such a serious and grave issue, he replied…Reason for casting John was that I wanted to get my movie released and actually he was one of the only few who could understand what I was trying to show...Towards the end one feels that somehow very quickly the movie has started going into several threads, but when asked Kashyap replied that, “Yes, there a few things towards the end which don’t make any sense as they actually represent my mindset as I was writing the story long back. I couldn’t understand many of the things around me”.
The Castle was incidentally the first English novel that he read, though he had read few in Hindi before that.
It’s quite a brave movie, though desperate but very honest and no doubt will be a pillar stone when Indian cinema will be seen in retrospect some time from now.