Anurak Kashyap

No Smoking

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.

200px-no_smoking_poster.jpgK, 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.

Kashyap also sometimes writes here. And here’s something he wrote as the movie got released.