Hailed as the torch-bearer of Indian indie cinema, Anurag Kashyap is one of the finest directors of India. Regarded as the face of new wave Indian cinema, Kashyap has worked with many newcomers; promoting independent filmmakers of India. Apart from being a director, Kashyap is a screenwriter, producer, and has made guest appearances in a few movies as well. He`s known for his gritty direction and dark themes. In 2013, he was awarded the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters) by the French government and has also served as a jury member for several international film festivals such as Venice Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, Busan International Film Festival, and Marrakech Film Festival.
Born on September 10, 1972, Anurag Kashyap grew up in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh. His mother was a housewife and succumbed to Tuberculosis, while his father worked at the Obra Thermal Power Station as a Deputy General Manager. Kashyap did his early schooling at Green School Dehradun but completed his schooling from Scindia School in Gwalior. Both his siblings, younger brother Abhinav Kashyap, and sister Anubhuti are filmmakers as well. Abhinav has written and directed films such as Dabangg (director), Manorama Six Feer Under (writer), and Gabbar Singh (writer). Anubhuti, on the other hand, has assisted Anurag in most of his movies.
Kashyap primarily wanted to become a scientist and so he enrolled himself at the Hans Raj College (University of Delhi), to pursue zoology. However, after he graduated in 1993, he joined a street playgroup, Jana Natya Manch. In the same year, some of Kashyap`s friends urged him to watch the de Sica retrospective at the International Film Festival of India. Vittoria De Sica is one of the most influential directors in the history of world cinema, who was a prominent promoter of the neorealist movement. Kashyap went on to watch 55 movies in 10 days at the festival, and it was Victoria De Sica`s Bicycle Thieves that influenced him the most.
Kashyap was married to Aarti Bajaj, who is a film editor and has worked for many successful movies including Jab We Met (2007), Rockstar (2010), Paan Singh Tomar (2012), and Tamasha (2015). The couple divorced in 2009 and have a daughter. Later in 2013, Kashyap married the actress Kalki Koechlin, whom he met during the making of his movie, Dev.D (2009). However, after two years of marriage, the couple divorced in 2015.
As a Director
It was the International Festival of India (1993) that sowed the seeds for Kashyap`s desire to be a filmmaker. As soon as the festival concluded, Kashyap decided to go to Mumbai with only INR 5000 in his pocket. However, after he reached Mumbai, Kashyap soon ran out of money and he spent months on the streets, sleeping on benches and staying in lofts. He somehow managed to join the Prithvi Theatre and soon became part of a play as well. Unfortunately, his first play remained incomplete as the director of the play passed away.
In 1995, an acquaintance introduced Kashyap to the film director, Shivam Nair. On the very same day, Kashyap and Nair watched the 1976 Martin Scorsese movie, Taxi Driver. The movie inspired Kashyap to write something. He soon got a chance to rewrite a script (movie: Auto Narayan) that was initially written by Shiv Subramaniam. However, the movie eventually got scrapped. Further, Kashyap faced another disappointment in 1997 when Hansal Mehta`s first movie, Jayate, for which Kashyap wrote the screenplay, failed to get a theatrical release. At the same time, he also wrote the episodes of the TV series Kabhie Kabhie.
It was in 1998 that the then-struggling actor Manoj Bajpayee suggested Kashyap`s name to Ram Gopal Varma. RGV was impressed with Anurag`s work on Auto Narayan and hired him to write the script for his film Satya
(1998). Kashyap co-wrote the script with Saurabh Shukla, and the movie went on to become one of the biggest blockbusters of Indian cinema. The following year he again teamed up with Ram Gopal Varma for the film Kaun (1999) and also wrote the dialogues for Shool (1999). In the same year, he made a short film for television, Last Train to Mahakali.
After assisting and writing movies, Kashyap finally made his directorial debut with the movie Paanch. However, the Censor Board of Film Certification did not pass the movie; citing it to be unhealthy entertainment because it was unapologetic towards sex, drugs and that it would misguide the alienated youths. The movie was cleared by the Board in 2001 but remains unreleased. Post-2001, Kashyap wrote dialogues for many movies including Yuva (2004), Water
(2005), and Mixed Doubles (2006).
Kashyap`s mediocre career as a filmmaker suffered another loss as his next movie, Black Friday, did not receive a theatrical release owing to the sensitivity of the subject. However, the movie received international recognition and accolades and eventually was released in India in 2007. Black Friday marks Anurag`s official debut as a director in Bollywood and remains to be one of the most brilliantly crafted movies of Indian cinema. Following the success of Black Friday, Kashyap released No Smoking (2007), which received a negative reception at the box office. In the same year, he also directed the animated movie, Return of Hanuman.
In 2009, Kashyap directed two movies: Dev D
, and Gulaal. The former is a modern take on Saran Chandra Chattopadhyay`s novel Devdas. The movie was declared as a hit at the box office and received positive reviews from critics. However, his second release of the year, Gulaal, was a commercial failure but the movie was critically acclaimed. In the next year Kashyap was a part of an anthology film, Mumbai Cutting; being one of the 11 directors, he directed a short story in the movie.
Kashyap`s next directorial venture, That Girl in Yellow Boots
(2011), starred Kalki Koechlin and generally received positive reviews in India. By 2011, Kashyap had already established himself as an off-beat director and was hailed as the torchbearer of indie films in India. In 2012, Kashyap released one of his most ambitious projects, Gangs of Wasseypur. The movie was released in two parts - Gangs of Wasseypur I, and Gangs of Wasseypur II - in India and was declared as a super hit. Staying true to his gritty direction and story-telling, Gangs of Wasseypur is considered Kashyap`s masterpiece. His other directorial projects include Bombay Velvet (2015), Raman Raghav 2.0 (2016), Mukkabaaz (2018), Manmarziyaan (2018), Ghost Stories (2020) and Choked (2020).
As a Producer
As a producer, Anurag has funded films like NH10 (2015), Hunterrr (2015), Masaan
(2015), Udta Punjab
(2016), Trapped (2017) and Haraamkhor (2017).
As an actor
There are a few films in which Anurag has acted like Bhootnath Returns (2014), Akira
(2016), Anjali CBI (2018) and AK vs AK (2020). His 2021 acting credit includes Bansuri
, a musical drama movie directed by Hari Viswanath.