Com­ing into his own as the maker of hard-hit­ting cin­ema, Anubhav Sinha does not want to take him­self too se­ri­ously

India Today - - LEISURE - —Suhani Singh

AAnub­hav Sinha can’t think back to the epiphanous mo­ment that would ex­plain his trans­for­ma­tion from the di­rec­tor of duds like Cash and Tum Bin 2 to one who is earn­ing plau­dits for his powerful and so­cially rel­e­vant dra­mas, Mulk and Ar­ti­cle 15. He says what he does have is plenty of rage.

“I think I have be­come so­cially and po­lit­i­cally very an­gry,” says Sinha. “Anger can­not be sup­pressed, it’s the trig­ger. The image of the child in a red T-shirt, ly­ing face down in the sand by the sea, of those two girls hang­ing from the tree, and images of peo­ple beat­ing up oth­ers to say ‘Jai Shri Ram’ angers me.” Sinha is putting the emo­tion to good use. His next film, which he be­gins

shoot­ing for in Au­gust with Taapsee Pannu in the lead role, is also rooted in the kind of anger he speaks of. He also has two sim­i­lar projects lined up for 2020.

Sinha’s trans­for­ma­tion and new pro­lificity has sur­prised many. At a get-to­gether at his office, post the re­lease of Ar­ti­cle 15, friend Sub­hash Kapoor (writer-di­rec­tor, Jolly LLB) teas­ingly asked him, “What are you eating these days?” Anurag Kashyap, one of the five film­mak­ers that Sinha ded­i­cates the film to, has known Sinha for long. He replied that this is, in fact, the real him.

Sinha con­curs. He al­ways had this “voice”, that he’s only now voic­ing. Varanasi—the city he was raised in and one he has named his pro­duc­tion house af­ter (Be­naras Me­di­a­works)—and Ali­garh, where he stud­ied me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing at Ali­garh Mus­lim Univer­sity, helped fine-tune that voice. “Benares in­tro­duced me to In­dian clas­si­cal mu­sic and Hindi lit­er­a­ture, and AMU to Urdu lit­er­a­ture. My sec­u­lar views were shaped there,” he says.

In Ar­ti­cle 15, much like Mulk, one gets to see that. Sinha ven­tures into a ter­ri­tory few Bol­ly­wood film­mak­ers dare to. He makes caste di­vide and the sub­se­quent big­otry by those on the top, the crux of his nar­ra­tive. In one of the film’s stand­out scenes, a city-bred Brah­min po­lice chief (Ayush­mann Khur­rana) loses his cool as his of­fi­cers ex­plain the messy caste hi­er­ar­chy of the re­gion. Ex­as­per­ated, he says “fuck”, also Sinha’s favourite word.

So, does Sinha feel the pres­sure to score a hat-trick? “No. I take it as love, not re­spect,” he says. “If I start tak­ing my­self se­ri­ously and make films for the sake of caus­ing so­cial change, I’ll get de­stroyed. I want to have fun and ask some ques­tions.”

BRISTLING WITH RAGE A still from Ár­ti­cle 15

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