Anil Kapoor had refused Anurag Kashyap’s film during his brash days as hero.
The director won’t forget that or forget to gloat that he still made it to a place of his own. Film schools make documentaries on him and his cinema.
Who’s the boss? The director or the actor?
The tussle between Anil Kapoor and director Anurag Kashyap ends in a mad scuffle during a debate on stage.
The animosity is set with Anurag, full of himself and his special positioning in Hindi cinema, walking around with his own personal paparazzi as Anil Kapoor labels it. There’s a camera rolling even when Anurag is sitting bare-chested on the bed at home.
Anurag now wants to make a “real film” with Anil who looks through him.
Thick-skinned, the director will go to any lengths to make his film where daughter Sonam Kapoor has been kidnapped and Anil must save her even as the clock ticks towards dawn. Anurag sets the conditions: no going to the cops, no help to be sought from anybody else.
Anil has to hit the streets on his own to find Sonam, negotiating through cop stations, five-star hotels and public spaces, even as he’s inundated with selfie-seekers at every turn. Besides Christmas being around the corner, it’s Anil’s birthday too (it really is, on December 24). And all the merry-making in the streets and at home with family members that include brother Boney and son Harshvardhan get woven into Anil’s desperate hunt for Sonam.
It is an interesting experiment and there are touches of humour like Harshvardhan’s obsession with a different kind of cinema. Or Anurag reminding Nawazuddin Siddiqui of Wasseypur, Raman Raghav and Sacred Games and that he made him.
In the film, Anurag’s idea is to make Anil Kapoor, a superstar past his prime, put in a raw and real performance shedding genuine blood and tears “for the first time in his 40-year career”. However, when the viewer knows that this too is just as staged and scripted as Anil’s next film, why would he perceive it any differently?
While Anurag Kashyap who will “die for my cinema” wants to film the real thrill of Anil Kapoor who has to save his daughter Sonam Kapoor from her kidnappers before dawn, where’s the nail-biting thrill for the viewer who knows that what’s unspooling is just another make-believe drama? Or, just another of Anil’s “fake performances”, as they untiringly call the actor’s body of work?
Therefore, although accolades may be heaped on director Vikramaditya Motwane for daring to experiment with hand-held camera and the technical feel of a reality show, the excitement of what’s going to happen to the kidnapped victim doesn’t exist. Spewing Wasseypur brand of abuse doesn’t make up for the absence of palpable angst and anxiety. Towards the end, Anurag asks, “What the f—is going on?” Maybe the viewer will ask that too, more so when it finally halts as a noire form of Rohan Sippy’s Bluffmaster.
Once again, it’s OTT to the rescue as this kind of cinema which does have its slice of fans won’t have an audience in the theatres.
Anil Kapoor and Anurag Kashyap may pride themselves on being such sports that they don’t mind the many references to a few home truths about themselves, like ageing hero and self-obsessed filmmaker.
But honestly, a film needs to be more than just a home movie for AK and AK.