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Anurag Kashyap on the Creative Crisis in the Hindi Film Industry and Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s Tenacity

Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap has highlighted a significant issue plaguing the Hindi film industry: the prioritization of monetary gains over creative storytelling. In an interview with Humans of Cinema, Kashyap explained how the chase for box office success is stifling creativity and originality in Bollywood.

The Impact of Success on Creativity

Kashyap observed that success often “destroys” creativity, trapping artists in a cycle where they repeatedly try to replicate their past triumphs. He noted, “I have often seen that success destroys more than it breeds.” Using the Marathi blockbuster “Sairat” as an example, Kashyap explained how its immense success led to a shift in focus from storytelling to profit-making. “When Sairat made Rs 100 crore, I told Nagraj Majule, who is my friend, that Marathi cinema is now finished. Because now no one will want to tell stories, they would want to earn Rs 100 crore.”

The Creative Crisis in Bollywood

Kashyap identified a similar trend in the Hindi film industry, where the pursuit of massive box office numbers has led to a creative drought. “The problem with our Hindi film industry is that they now want to earn Rs 500-800 crore, not make films. For that, you have to first dumb down your films, sacrifice your story,” he said. He criticized the industry’s tendency to follow formulaic trends, particularly the “pan-India” film trend, resulting in a slew of indistinguishable films that often fail at the box office.

Kashyap attributed his own career longevity to the absence of a Rs 100 crore hit, allowing him to avoid the trap of repetitive formulas. He explained, “All those filmmakers, whose films do record-breaking business, are eventually stuck in a bracket where the producers, the audience, the hero, everyone expects the same. Then you start making formulas, copy your own style and eventually fall flat.”

Challenges for Smaller Films

Kashyap also addressed the difficulties faced by smaller films in securing screen time. He cited the example of Dibakar Banerjee’s “LSD 2,” which struggled to remain in theaters even for a week. He praised Vidhu Vinod Chopra for his determination to keep his film “12th Fail” in theaters despite these challenges. “When a 12th Fail works, there is a Vidhu Vinod Chopra behind it who won’t let the film be taken down. He puts all his might ki ye film utregi nahi.”

Upcoming Projects

Anurag Kashyap is eagerly anticipating the release of his next film, “Kennedy,” starring Rahul Bhat and Sunny Leone. The film, which premiered at Cannes in 2023, is expected to hit theaters this year.

Kashyap’s insights shed light on the broader issues within the Hindi film industry, emphasizing the need for a balance between commercial success and creative integrity.

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