He is known for his guerrilla-style filmmaking and director Anurag Kashyap was back to doing just that in Raman Raghav 2.0 where he had both money and time in short supply. Putting behind the debacle of his last release Bombay Velvet, Kashyap says it was liberating to work in a limited time and space because he is familiar with this style.
When asked whether the failure of his last movie was on his mind while making the serial-killing drama and whether it affected the mood of the movie, Kashyap says he is only influenced by storytelling. "No, not at all. The mood of my film is always decided by the kind of story I am going to tell, the kind of money and time I have for it. All my life, I never had enough money to make my films. I have made films with less money. I know how to do that. That has always been my training," Kashyap told PTI in an interview.
"If I am making Raman Raghav 2.0 in Rs 3.5 crore, I know how to make it look like it was made in Rs 13 crore." Another factor that was liberating for Kashyap was taking on a more contemporary version of the Nawazuddin Siddiqui- Vicky Kaushal starrer rather than making the planned biopic on the infamous serial-killer, who operated in 1960s Mumbai.
"I knew I was not making a biopic so, I was not limited by facts. Another advantage that I had was that not much is known about this guy. I know a lot more than other people because I worked on Sriram Raghavan's documentary. "Vasan Bala (scriptwriter) had access to a lot of research material. We had the script for the biopic for the longest time. After Bombay Velvet, we realised that we can't make a biopic. So, I decided to make Raman Raghav 2.0 and it liberated me and allowed me to play more with my story."
The 43-year-old director says the glimpses of humour that is seen in the trailer is scattered throughout the movie as he finds it a great tool to relieve tension in a story like this. "Without humour, we can't survive anything. I know it is a very dark and disturbing film so, it is very important to have humour. It kind of gives the breathing space to the film. The humour is also dark. People laugh because they are uncomfortable, they can't figure out the character. I use it consciously."
Kashyap's contribution in Siddiqui's career is huge starting from Black Friday, which continued to Gangs of Wasseypur, where the actor played the lead role for the first time.
Siddiqui, who has earned a reputation for his shape-shifting persona on-screen since then, is depicting a killer on the loose in Raman Raghav 2.0. The director says they trust each other immensely and are quite exacting when it comes to doing something unexpected together.
"Actors keep repeating what has worked for them in the past because they feel secure in the image that the audience has for them. But Nawaz does not carry his past successes with him. He knows that something unexpected is expected from him. He is very secure and confident in that. When we are together, he comes with a lot of security, which allows me to go out and play with him. We start by thinking that what we are doing is something that we have never attempted before, together or individually."
Such was the impact of playing this character that Siddiqui fell ill during the shooting. "Nawaz fell ill, he was hospitalised. I remember the last day of shooting. The moment the last shot was over, Nawaz and Vicky did a high-five. They were so happy that it was over."
The director says he has started to ignore the brickbats that came with "Bombay Velvet" or the fact that some people are calling the movie his comeback project. "I have started ignoring it. What can you do? Earlier, they would ask me 'Why do you make such dark movies?' now if someone thinks it is my comeback so be it. I have come to terms with it. Now, people can say whatever they want but I will do what I want."