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Anurag Kashyap wanted to give a comic book kind of spin to Kennedy

Mumbai, Aug 7 (IANS) Indian auteur Anurag Kashyap, whose films like ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’, ‘Ugly’, ‘Dev.D’, ‘Black Friday’ and others have strengthened the parallel cinema in India and have cultivated an enormous fan base, is set to visit the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM) as his upcoming film ‘Kennedy’ has been selected as the closing film at the festival.

Kashyap, who is often credited as the poster boy of the present day indie cinema in India, shared that he had the idea of ‘Kennedy’ brewing inside him for 20 years but it only got materialised when the pandemic hit the world. In a way, the pandemic became the perfect physical setting for Kashyap’s story as he wanted to give it a very “comic book” kind of a spin to the story.

Talking about how the came together, the director told IANS: “I have had the idea for ‘Kennedy’ for close to 20 years, the titular character existed in my head for 20 years. It was based on a character that was narrated to me by Sudhir Mishra in 2003. But, back then I didn’t want to make another encounter-cop film because during those days this subject was a hot topic.”

The director shared that he wanted to render a “Giallo” kind of a treatment to the story. Giallo is a genre of Italian cinema of murder mystery fiction that often contains a broad range of themes like slasher, thriller, psychological horror and supernatural horror elements.

Anurag further mentioned: “I decided to give my own spin to it more like a comic book take. I wanted to render a Giallo kind of treatment to it. But, somehow it wasn’t materialising and then the lockdown happened and it gave me a great opportunity to set this film in the context of a lockdown because people were anyway wearing a mask during the lockdown so it presented an opportunity for the masked character to become one with the crowd.”

The director told IANS that the film is also based on a true story that happened in the late 1980s. Kashyap’s tryst with realistic crime films isn’t new. His debut film ‘Paanch’ which never saw the light of day due to its violent content, was based on the Joshi-Abhyankar serial murders, a series of ten murders committed by Rajendra Jakkal, Dilip Sutar, Shantaram Kanhoji Jagtap and Munawar Harun Shah of Pune, India between January 1976 and March 1977.

“I took the character and the story from the 1980s and put them in the context of lockdown and that’s how the film came into existence,” Kashyap said.

Anurag, who is known for his knack for fully improvising the scenes on sets, made a rare exception for ‘Kennedy’ as he said that the film was completely designed before the team ended up on set, leaving little to no room for improvisation.

“This film follows a pre-designed model and there were no improvisations in the scenes. Dialogues? Yes, but not too much. I even restricted myself to delve too much into improvisation,” he added.

‘Kennedy’ stars Sunny Leone, and Rahul Bhat in lead roles, and tells the story of an insomniac ex-police officer who operates secretly for the corrupt system, lives in different conditions and goes on a lookout for salvation.

‘Kennedy’ is the closing film for the 13th edition of the IFFM which is set to be held from August 11 to August 20 in Melbourne.

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