Gangs of Wasseypur
The film premiered at Cannes to rave reviews. Now it’s all set to hit the silver screens in India. Anurag Kashyap’s highly anticipated Gangs of Wasseypur, which introduces the trigger-happy, filmy, mafia town of Wasseypur to the world, promises to keep you at the edge of the seat. Based on real incidents, the film tells the story of three generations spanning over six decades. The filmmaker and scriptwriter, Syed Zeeshan Quadri (who also plays a pivotal role in the film) tell platform_ how the two-part saga came about…
Anurag Kashyap: ‘Releasing it in two parts was a necessary option. Gangs of Wasseypur is from a completely different zone. It’s a musical gangster drama and much lighter but there are moments, which are very intense. I chanced up the story. I had heard stories about this place and of the coal mine and the mafia and Dhunbad etc, but I was not aware that there was actually a place called Wasseypur. I met (Syed Zeeshan Quadri) who told me the story and it intrigued me instantly and I thought it was worth make a film on. So this guy wanted a Rocky deal, the Stallone deal where he said ,“I’ll give you the whole story, but I will play this role.” He is the writer of the film and is also acting in the film. The world of Wasseypur is like that of frogs in a well. Anyone who tries to climb up the walls of the well that is Wasseypur, is pulled down by its inmates. The people that reside there don’t know of another world that exists outside that well. If you meet those gangsters, you can’t really take them seriously. They are a herd of people that all move around with weapons and take Hindi cinema and the melodrama so seriously that they live their lives like that. There is a character that fantasizes that he is Amitabh Bachchan from Trishul and has conjured up an image of his father being Sanjeev Kumar. This first part ends and then the second part begins… The first moves on from 1940 to 2000, so the shooting and the way the story is told and the editing, all changes. Till date it has been my most ambitious project.’
Syed Zeeshan Quadri: ‘On a given day, I would go for about 4 to 5 auditions, wandering all day, slinging a bag across my shoulder, dressed in formal wear. But when nothing came out of it for some time, I understood that it was futile waiting for their responses. This, however, didn’t deter me from my dream. I made a pact with myself that I would enter the arena of acting through the strengths of my stories and started working on a few scripts,’ Zeeshan recounts. Since he was familiar with the workings of the local mafia in Wasserpur, the idea for a film soon took form. He then spent a couple of months researching and developing that idea into a full-blown story. He drew from real incidents, fictionalized them a little bit and eventually wove a story that portrayed the potent mix of money and power, the very root of the mafia.
With years of watching world cinema behind him, he knew he had a good story on his hands with the potential of being turned into a great film. And soon, after working on the final concept with two other friends, he approached Anurag Kashyap, who loved the story. But before the contract could be signed, there were some conditions to be met. ‘I had a pre-condition – I would only part with the story if I got to play the role of ‘Definite’. Anurag agreed on one condition – I had to appear for auditions. And eventually, I got through the auditions. Anurag asked me to go ahead with the story and once I finished the entire script, it became a tad too long. It wouldn’t fit into a single film. But he found the story so interesting that he didn’t want to leave out anything. So he decided to make the movie in two parts.’_
Pick up our Writer’s Special 2012 (on stands) to read more about Zeeshan.
Gangs of Wasseypur releases today, 22nd June, 2012.
Follow platform_ on twitter @platformag