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Anubhav Sinha on being friends with contemporaries: We are driven by our films, not rewards

By: PTI | New Delhi |

Updated: July 21, 2020 2:23:53 pm

Anubhav Sinha films Anubhav Sinha’s recent hits include Mulk, Article 15 and Thappad. (Express archives photo)
It’s food, not cinema, in focus when director Anubhav Sinha gets together with his filmmaker friends Sudhir Mishra, Anurag Kashyap, Hansal Mehta and Vishal Bhardwaj.

Sinha said before the coronavirus pandemic, they made it a point to meet frequently, but now they make do with Google Hangouts calls or their occasional banter on Twitter.

“Vishal cooks, Hansal cooks, Subhash (Kapoor) cooks, and I cook. Kashyap also tries to cook, but he makes better films. Hansal and I make better food. We are friends, we read each other’s scripts, watch the first cut, share opinions and gossip.

“We have now found a way of entertaining each other on Twitter. Sometimes people end up telling us ‘Arre tum log WhatsApp group kyun nahin bana lete?’ (why don’t you create a WhatsApp group?)” the director told PTI in an interview.

Anubhav Sinha started his cinema journey with romance drama Tum Bin in 2001 and went on to make commercial potboilers such as Cash, Dus and Ra.One before changing gears to more meaningful cinema in Mulk, Article 15 and the recent Thappad.

Though he has known these filmmakers for a while, their friendship evolved in the last few years, he noted.

It may have to do with the frequency of their meetings, but they are more at ease with each other now.

“Sudhir bhai is my senior. I look up to him, but if I tell him that ‘this is wrong’, he will listen to me. Similarly, Hansal and I are of the same age. The other day, I told Kashyap, ‘I want to write a film for you’ and he said, ‘Sir, please do, let’s make it’. Vishal is quiet. He likes to keep to himself, but when you reach out to him, he is there for you,” Anubhav Sinha said.

“Since Mulk, I invite them (to watch films). They now come to my office and we watch a film, have a drink, discuss and gossip,” he added.

Sinha believes there is no professional jealousy among them because all the filmmakers have had their fair share of struggle and have emerged stronger.

“I think it is because all of us are driven by our films and not the rewards of it. We all have had our difficult and separate journeys, in which we succeeded and failed. So now both don’t matter much to us. What matters is the kind of cinema we can make and how we can help each other.

“We respect each other tremendously. It is a privilege that I know these guys, they are such fantastic talent. Maybe we should get a photo together and maybe work together,” he said.

The film industry seems divided these days on the ‘insiders versus outsiders’ debate that has come into the mainstream with the tragic death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput last month.

Anubhav Sinha said when a debate is used for personal gains, it becomes pointless. He believes nuance is missing in this blame game.

“If I have come from Banaras, I will obviously know very few people in the city and someone born in Bandra will know more people in the city. Now, if he uses that privilege against you because you came from outside, that’s discriminating but just because you came from outside, you can’t play the victim card. Shah Rukh Khan was an outsider but he is now an insider,” the director said.

Asked whether Rajput’s death at the peak of his career and the subsequent discourse surrounding the tragedy will discourage other youngsters from joining the industry, Anubhav Sinha said newcomers may become a little wary, but that will not stop them.

“I don’t think anybody knows why that boy took his life. We have created so many stories. Based on these stories we assume that he took his life for this reason. Maybe someday we’ll know or maybe not. He died under extremely unfortunate but personal circumstances. It was so personal that it was left only to him,” he added.

The director said Mumbai and the showbiz can initially be overwhelming for people from small towns, a feeling he understands well.

“I had never seen an ocean before I came to Mumbai, something that now we take for granted. But the first time I stood in front of the ocean, it affected me for a week. I had never seen something as enormous. It consumed me completely.

“It can be very intimidating, engaging or spiritual like the city and the business itself. People deal with it differently,” he said.

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