THE RAGE IN ANUBHAV SINHA’S FILMS
Coming into his own as the maker of hard-hitting cinema, Anubhav Sinha does not want to take himself too seriously
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