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A Chat With Indian Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap

Screen CanterburyNZ were privileged to host Indian filmmaker Anurag Kashyap in Ōtautahi Christchurch for a screening of his new film, Kennedy. As he took in the magical views from the Christchurch gondola, we asked him about India’s passion for film, his favourite pieces of work and what he thinks makes a great movie.


Tell us what you love about being a filmmaker

I love doing what I do so it never feels like a job. I get to say what I want to say, express things the way I want to. I have my freedom - that’s the biggest joy of being an independent filmmaker.

India produces the largest number of films in the world

The greatest advantage that we have in India is that we are so obsessed with film. It’s almost like a soft-power – everyone from the Prime Minister to the man on the street wants to make movies. It’s much easier to make films in India compared to anywhere in the world. But there are still restrictions. There are 1.4 billion people so we have no space. We don’t have circus, we don’t have opera, we don’t have many things. So cinema becomes all encompassing in the sense that within our films you have a concert. You have songs, circus, drama, comedy – everything. Cinema becomes that one thing that everyone goes to for all sorts of entertainment.

What makes a good film?

The uniqueness that a filmmaker brings to it. The script and the perspective. What separates two films from each other are they ways that the filmmaker looks at things. The more truthful it is and the less it caters to everyone, makes it a better film.

Tell us about your film Kennedy

It’s a character study and a thriller set during the lockdown. During the lockdown the police started hassling people and the main character does the cleaning up job. He’s a ghost in the system also dealing with his own ghosts and looking for redemption. Then he starts to unravel.

What are your favourite films you’ve made?

When I was the most naïve and innocent filmmaker, I made film called Black Friday because it was a very honest piece of filmmaking. Outside of that the ones I like the most are Ugly and another called Mukkabaaz – it was the first time I made a relationship love story which I really enjoyed doing.

What brought you to Ōtautahi Christchurch?

ScreenCanterbury NZ brought me. We screened Kennedy at Lumiere - it is such a good cinema. Christchurch is a beautiful place. One of the things I love is that people have homes and gardens rather than living in apartment buildings – they have their own space and that’s what my childhood was like. Everything is beautiful – from mountains, to ocean to small water bodies. This is my first time here so I’m just taking it all in. It really lends itself to storytelling.