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Lashing from critics for 'No Smoking' hurt: Anurag Kashyap

By Staff

New Delhi, Jan 6 (UNI) He is a filmmaker who believes on making films delving into the dark recesses of human subconscious without caring about their box office outcome.

However, the widespread lashing that his last directorial venture 'No Smoking' recieved at the hands of critics in India left even the otherwise unflappable Anurag Kashyap shocked, sending him into a long phase of depression after the release of the film.

''It was not as much about the film being a flop. I don't care if a film I make is a flop. I make films that I want to make. My last release 'Black Friday' was not a box office phenomenon. And, I knew that 'No Smoking' was not the kind of film that would break box office records.

However, more than the audience response, it was the lashing that 'No Smoking' got from the film critics in India that hurt and send me into a depression,''Anurag Kashyap says.

Talking to UNI here, Anurag, who earlier made the highly-acclaimed 'Black Friday' and scripted the pathbreaking 'Satya' and Mani Rathnam's 'Yuva', said,''I can understand that the audience may not have seen, say, a Bob Fosse, from which 'No Smoking draws inspiration. However, I expected the critics to understand it.

After all, film critics have done a film appreciation course and are aware of latest international trends of filmmaking.

Unfortunately, however, most of the critics did not see the film for what it was. The film was not given that chance. If the film was seen for what it was, I would have been happy.'' The lacklustre response to the film notwithstanding, Anurag Kashyap said 'No Smoking' remained the film closest to his heart.

''No Smoking is my most personal and favourite film. It is unfortunate that it did not reach out to the audience,''Kashyap said.

Analysing as to what went wrong with the film, he said,''I don't think anything went wrong with the film. What went wrong was its pitching. The distributors wanted to get a good opening for the film in the opening weekend based on an item song.

The promos of 'No Smoking' showing the item song send to the people a wrong picture of the film.'' The filmmaker said he was shocked when he saw entire families, with women and children, coming to theatres to watch the film.

''No Smoking is a film that you watch alone. It is not a family film. So people got a wrong picture of the film and went to see it.

And when it did not turn out to be like they had thought, they got angry and misjudged it,''he said.

However, just as every cloud has a silver lining to it, for Anurag, the rave reviews that 'No Smoking' has elicited on the International scene is heartening.

''It was heartening to see the rave reviews the film has got in Italy and France. Also, 'The Guardian' in London categorically said that if ever India comes out with a potential crossover International film, it will be from this filmmaker and nobody else. That's the kind of reviews that the film got.'' Further, the prestigious British film journal 'Sight and Sound' called it the most original and bravest film to come out of India.

''It's amazing that 'Sight and Sound' goes on record saying all this but the mainstream Indian critics did not understand that the first Saturday,''Kashyap said.

However, couple of months after it was released, the message of the film is finally sinking in.

''What the film is doing now is something I never expected. Now, the intellectuals are coming forward; the professors are talking about it; people from JNU are discussing the film. It is now finally getting its due in India because initially people did not go and see it because they had read reviews and thought it was not worth watching. But when word of mouth spread, they are now watching it,''the filmmaker said.

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