Cannes Regular Anurag Kashyap Talks ‘Dobaaraa,’ Starring Taapsee Pannu (EXCLUSIVE)

Cannes Regular Anurag Kashyap Talks ‘Dobaaraa,’ Starring Taapsee Pannu (EXCLUSIVE)

July 8, 2021

Indian filmmaker Anurag Kashyap, a regular at Cannes, is currently in post-production on his next feature “Dobaaraa,” a Hindi-language adaptation of Oriol Paulo’s 2018 Spanish-language film “Mirage.”

Kashyap had read the script of “Mirage” before the film was made and was taken by it. This is the first time Kashyap has done a remake. “It is a nice, fascinating idea for me to delve into, I can’t come up with an idea like that,” Kashyap told Variety. “So I said, why not step outside my secure zone and attempt something.”

In “Mirage,” a 12-year-old boy witnesses a death during a thunderstorm and is killed himself. Twenty-five years later the woman who moves into the same apartment is connected to the boy through a television set during a similar storm and has the opportunity to save his life.

The film is headlined by Taapsee Pannu, one of India’s top actors, known for her eclectic choice of films.

“Time travel or two time zones connecting is not new from an international point of view, but from an Indian point of view it is new, because we haven’t seen much of it in mainstream Hindi cinema,” Pannu told Variety. The actor says that audiences used to watching all kinds of subjects during India’s several lockdowns are now receptive to a wider range of subject matter.

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“We are jumping 20 years back and forth, and 20 years ago India was very different when we were growing up — the visuals, the technology, the looks of the streets, the way people were is very different to what India is right now, so it gives you a very distinct visual to present and hence it becomes easy to communicate to our audience that this is that world. That time zone, and this is this word, this time zone,” said Pannu. “I’m glad someone like Anurag who is always known to do something radically different, is part of it.”

“Dobaaraa” is produced by Cult Movies, an offshoot of uber-producer Ekta Kapoor’s Balaji Telefilms. Sunir Kheterpal and Gaurav Bose as coproducers.

Kapoor had been wanting to work with Kashyap ever since he made “Dev.D” a dark take on “Devdas,” a much-adapted classic of Indian literature. They co-produced “Lootera” (2013) and “Udta Punjab” (2016) but not with Kashyap as director. “She’s been totally supportive and I think we’ll do a lot of movies with Cult,” said Kashyap.

The filmmaker is skeptical about the current business model for films in India as cinemas are yet to reopen because of the ongoing pandemic. “Cinemas are not opening and a lot of people are making films, but producers are seeing very easy profits selling the films to OTT platforms,” said Kashyap. “They do it without even consulting anyone else. Right now in the industry there’s a lot going on —- from actors to filmmakers to writers feeling like, ‘But I was told we’re making this for the big screen, and we’re risking things.’ If you’re making a clean profit, everyone should know it and get a fair deal.”

Kashyap is also vocal about the current regulation regime which requires streamers to adhere to an ethics guideline prescribed by the Indian government.

“Right now we’re living in a time where everybody is tentative and very scared and very on the edge about what one should do or not do,” said Kashyap. The filmmaker’s last two films, 2020’s “Choked” and “Ghost Stories” were for Netflix.

Meanwhile, Kashyap is a special guest at Cannes, where several of his films including “Gangs of Wasseypur” (2012), “Ugly” (2013) and “Psycho Raman” (2016) premiered. “I need to watch films on the big screen, with people, the whole idea of it being a communal experience. I’ve been missing that a lot,” said Kashyap.

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