Q&A with Anurag Kashyap on 'Raman Raghav 2.0'

REUTERS - A year after the debacle of his big-ticket period drama “Bombay Velvet”, Anurag Kashyap is wooing Indian audiences with a modern-day take on a real-life Mumbai serial killer.

Photo from Facebook page of 'Raman Raghav 2.0'

“Raman Raghav 2.0”, a fictionalized retelling of a series of apparently motiveless murders in the 1960s, opens in Indian cinemas on Friday.

The film premiered during the Director’s Fortnight at the Cannes festival in May, Kashyap’s third project to be screened there.

The film-maker spoke to Reuters about “Raman Raghav 2.0”, the international language of cinema and why he didn’t want to make a period film.

Q: What’s the secret to regular appearances at Cannes? A lot of Indian films don’t make it.

A: I can say very proudly that I am there based on merit, every year. Nothing else. Our films don’t have an international language. The biggest of our films have premiered at Cannes and nobody buys them. We still go there and our films are looked at as Bollywood films. My films don’t release to the diaspora. They release internationally to the non-diaspora.

Q: Do your films have an international language then?

A: That depends on how anyone else sees it. I try to make a film that you don’t have to understand India to know the film. From world over, the films that come to Cannes have to have language that is easily understandable and give a picture of your country. We make such hygienic, sanitized films and people come to India and see a chaotic country and realize that this is not what the films are showing. And when I shoot in real locations, I am asked why your films are so dark?

Q: What about Raman Raghav drove you to want to make a film about him?

A: Anybody who has read about Raman Raghav will be curious about him. And that curiosity for me is so overwhelming that I wanted to make a film about him. But I couldn’t make Raman Raghav, so I made Raman Raghav 2.0.

Q: Why couldn’t you make Raman Raghav?

A: Because it costs a lot of money. It’s a period film. And I have already burnt my hands with a period film (Bombay Velvet). I was obsessed with the story, so I rewrote it. When I am not creating a time period and I am not hiding what already exists, it’s easier to shoot and the cost is much lesser. I am focusing on the story and not on the time period.

Q: We’ve seen the troubled cop and psychopath villain before. How is “Raman Raghav 2.0” different?

A: Genre is completely new. The characters don’t seem new - you feel like you have seen them before. But what comes together when you put them in the same kadhai (wok), what comes out is very different. If it was the same serial killer story, the same genre, the same movie, then it wouldn’t have created the kind of excitement where it would go to a festival like Cannes. But that is something I cannot reveal now. You have to watch the film for that.