Anurag Kashyap: On the Wrong Side of Establishments, But On the Right Side of History


Anurag Kashyap: On the Wrong Side of Establishments, But On the Right Side of History

Illustration: Mitesh Parmar

Whenever a major news story breaks in the country, all eyes immediately turn to Bollywood for its views on the matter. It’s no surprise by now that most celebrities and public figures hesitate to speak out when this happens — either out of fear of trolling online or that they may say something that’ll affect the ticket sales of their next film. However, through all of this, Anurag Kashyap has been consistently vocal about most of the issues plaguing our country.

Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap, whose outspoken views often land him in hot water, as often as they earn him hundreds of doting fans, has never been one to shy away from giving his opinion when it matters most.

On Wednesday, the director was one of the few who rushed to the defence of actor Rhea Chakraborty, who has been the target of a massive vilification campaign, and several hateful messages since news first broke of Sushant Singh Rajput’s death.

Putting out a reminder that no one knew the late actor better than those who worked with him in the industry over the last decade, Kashyap said on Twitter that most of the Bollywood fraternity has been largely silent on the case only out of respect for Sushant Singh, and defended Rhea Chakraborty from the charges levelled at her.

Recently, the filmmaker was also one of the few who addressed the nepotism debate that was renewed following Kangana Ranaut’s claims of a “movie mafia” running the industry. Kashyap had argued back in July that Bollywood was bigger than its actors and instead paid tribute to the hundreds of crew members employed behind the scenes on the sets in a lengthy thread. He concluded that the debate on nepotism or favouritism would be incomplete without the inclusion of these voices.

Then again, back in January, when students and campuses of two colleges in Delhi were attacked by masked goons, Kashyap took the time out to show what side he was on. Despite not being in Delhi at the time, he changed his cover photo to one that showed actor Deepika Padukone meeting JNUSU leader Aishe Ghosh, in effect standing in solidarity with the much-maligned students.

The director also made his presence felt the same month, standing in support of the anti-CAA protestors at the Jamia Millia Islamia University as well as in Mumbai.

A few years ago, many will recall that Kashyap was also one of the few members of the industry who had been vocal about the controversy surrounding Pakistani actors, coming out in support of Karan Johar’s film Ae Dil Hai Mushkil after Johar was criticised for casting Fawad Khan.

He had also spoken out in support of director Sanjay Leela Bhansali and actor Deepika Padukone when members of the Karni Sena had threatened them during the filming of Padmavat, while most other members of the industry had chosen to keep mum.

Much before any of these incidents, Kashyap had also shown his support for the protests launched by anti-corruption campaigner Anna Hazare, as well as during the 1990 protests against the Mandal commission recommendations, years before several of his fans were even born.

In the last few years, Kashyap has emerged as one of the only voices in the industry who had the courage to question the ruling party’s policies, never being one to mince his words. Now as the controversy around Bollywood and its alleged mafia continues to rear its ugly head, the country should be grateful it has at least one mainstream celebrity who’s always willing to stand up for what they believe in.