The best Practical Indian Filmmaking Lessons from Anurag Kashyap’s Gangs of Wasseypur
Gangs of Wasseypur is often cited as a modern cult classic. It is a masterpiece of epic proportions. Anurag Kashyap puts his touch of perfection on all the aspect of the film from script, treatment, camera, edit, music to the factual authenticity.
Any modern filmmaker can learn these lessons from the making of Gangs of Wasseypur-
The Script was first shown to Kashyap by Sachin Ladia & Akhilesh Jaiswal. As it was based on real incidents Anurag re-wrote it with the help of news clippings. Later as he wasn’t happy with the script, he asked Zeishan Quadri to write everything down as a novel. He then sent his research team
to Wasseypur to verify everything. His AD Jai Mehta stayed there for a month and wrote a script. Anurag then took all these three scripts and wrote the final script. The multiple scripts & thorough research were done because of the authenticity that a film like Gangs of Wasseypur needs.
Resources: Download 10 Bollywood Film Scripts
Anyone who has watched the film can guess how difficult it is to make such a film with numerous characters, different time periods and real locations. What adds to the misery is the shoestring budget.
The film was shot in-and-around Benares as it was impossible to shoot in Wasseypur. It was shot in places where Anurag grew up and many of the residents there knew him as a child. Anurag said, “If the film was shot somewhere else, the budget would have been three times more.” Shooting in familiar locations with cooperative people can be a big budget saver.
Since the film deals with three different time periods and it was difficult to portray these time periods in this budget, Anurag used CGI which was much cheaper.
Related Read: Learn the Filmmaking Techniques of Gangs of Wasseypur
There were many important characters in the film. It is said that Kashyap spent 15 cr. on the actors while the total budget was 18.4 cr. Most of the actors were struggling actors at that time including Nawazuddin Siddique, Huma Qureshi, Richa Chadda. All of them went on to become successful actors in contemporary time. Manoj Bajpayee was selected in the initial stage of filming because Kashyap was very sure he wants Manoj to play the role of Sardaar Khan. Manoj after reading the script suggested some actors for other roles including Jaideep Ahlawat as Shahid Khan. Casting struggling actors is a very good move when making such a challenging film. The actors had to face many challenging conditions but they were sporting enough to take those.
Production and Post Production-
It took around 120 days for filming and the post production was done hurriedly within a month. Cinematographer Rajeev Ravi used both film and digital cameras to shoot the film. Multiple cameras were used including Canon 5D, 7D and Sony CineAlta F900 R. The goal was to get a natural look without much manipulation. Basic Lighting was used and most of the time naturally available light was used. The locations chosen were so convincing that no fancy lighting setup was needed.
Sets were built in real locations but with very minimal elements. Since it was a period piece special attention was given to costumes.
All the actors and the crew members agreed that Anurag was very clear what he wanted and he gave them lots of creative freedom to do their part and improvise. This helped the making of the film in such small budget and tight schedule.
Watch: Behind the Scenes of Making Gangs of Wasseypur
Anurag believes a good film needs good promotion, otherwise they might get lost. He started a unique marketing campaign to promote Gangs of Wasseypur. The crew wore a Gamcha in the Cannes Premier and later danced on streets wearing a Gamcha. Instead of posters, wall paintings were painted around major cities which said “Goli nahi marenge, keh ke lenge”. A fictitious newspaper called Wasseypur Patrika was also released online.
These quirky promotion ideas were successful in creating hype among the public. The film did well at the Box Office and is still very popular.