Rating : 7/10
“In this day & age, visual medium is becoming what literature was to us when we were growing up” – Anurag Kashyap
If it were not for AKs gyaan, this book could easily be the screenplay of “The Making Uncut || GoW” minus the research bit about the mafia & interviews of Tigmanshu Dhulia & Piyush Mishra.
The movie is by Neeraj Ghaywan (then the AD of AK and now the celebrated director of Masaan) and it has quite a few of the anecdotes and trivia mentioned in the book.
But then AKs gyaan in the book is solid gold & it is Gangs of Wasseypur that we are talking about. It is a film which defined and redefined Indian cinema in countless ways.
If in Indian cinema, there was a DDLJ, which set the templates for how-world-will-look-at-Indian-cinema, thankfully we had GoW and DevD which set the language for a parrallel-world-cinema-from-India.
There are some special things which AK says in the book, quoting a few here.
“The camera loves anyone on whom you can linger & Nawaz is like that”
Out of the most memorable characters AK created Ramadhir Singh played by Tigmanshu Dhulia was my personal favourite. His line “Tumse na ho paega” is now equivalent to “Shaant gadadhaari bheem..shaant” from Jaane BHi Do Yaaron. [DDLJ is mentioned in this dialogue.. interesting !]
It’s surprising that Tigmanshu reveals in the book about his dissatisfaction of working with AK and how he is not going to act again.
“ If the role is substantial, kahin na kahin you need to make the character endearing, even if you are playing the villain.” – Tigmanshu Dhulia
Tigmanshu felt his character wasn’t fully explained to him. While AK thinks that thats the right way.
“I believe that what makes a character is the presence of contradictions that bring in complexities. Complexity is not just verbal. It is about actions, it is about what I am doing now and what I will be doing two hours later and what I am doing int he night and what I am doing five days later, which cannot be put together logically. If you give a character sketch to an actor, he becomes very one dimension. For example, if there is back story that the character is psychotic, that becomes the defining characteristic, the actor will play the psychotic all the time, his eyes will all go wild and all that. i don’t want it to happen like that.” – AK
About his ode to the popular Indian cinema :
“The sequence where Ramadhir Singh says that he has remained alive and successful when his enemies have died because,” main cinema nahi dekhta” is the key.. Those are my feelings about this country, about the world we live in. Everything comes from cinema; people here take cinema so seriously.” – AK
Talking more about conflicts in actors preparation vs spontaneity
“After her first shot, I saw Richa hunched over the script. I peeked over her shoulder and it was the script and she had made notes, ki yahoo pe main emotional ho jaoongi, here I will cry. It was like compartmentalising her emotions. I took her notes and tore them..”
About silence :
“Indian cinema has long been about dialogues, dialogues, plot & dialogues. Its all about mere emotional thrust kya hai? It’s like the old story of Hitchcock. Actors ask him about motivation. He says it’s in the script.  Most actors think if they have nothing to say, they are not doing anything.”- AK
About editing :
“Making a film is about evolution. It is a four-level process- first research, then writing, then shooting and then redoing the film. Forget about it being a factual or geographical or political space. Its also a personal space with actors when I start working with them. I start exploring their interrelationships, things that they would do.” – AK
About writing for oneself :
“While writing, my first criteria is that I write for myself. if I don’t like a film how will the audience like it?”- AK
He says that it is very difficult for a creative person to talk about his process.. and he is still able to do it.
Zeishan Qadri (Script/Acting) has a lot to say in the book and in his interviews, a Guftagoo here
With Pankaj Tripathi
With Neeraj Ghaywan
As with Dev D, GoWs music was phenomenal and so with-the-movie and its ethos. It’s a pity that it’s difficult to find what Sneha Khanwalkar has been upto (other than Sountrippin). In the ‘making’ movie, there are stories of the songs being made, as also mentioned in the book. One of my favourite moments is the making of ‘Jiya ho Bihar ke lala’
Here are all the songs:
Buy the book here on Amazon.