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Sunday, June 5, 2016
Published by: Anurag Kashyap
Published: on Dec 20 2008 @ 9:20 am
It was during the FIFA world cup 2006. I was at the Mariott watching a
match, Abhay was with me. The match wasn’t happening. He told me he had
an idea, a story. I said ,”ok tell me”. He narrated me a story of a
stripper in a L A strip club and a guy who is attracted to her. The guy
had a back story, an unrealised love story. After he narrated the whole
story, he asked me guess what is it. I couldn’t. He then told me it is
Devdas. I looked at him. I never thought before that moment, that Devdas
could be retold like that. That was where Dev.D was born.
Now me and abhay go way back. Much before he wanted to be an actor.
Vikramaditya Motwane my co-writer on dev.d has been abhay’s best friend
since they were in school, probably 8 or 9 years old. Vikram i met in
1994 but really got to know him in 1999 when i was working on water and
he was assisting deepa. We spent some great time together in Varanasi,
doped out rebelling and generaly happy. Water wasn’t to be made that
year, but we stuck with each other. I went on to make my first movie
Paanch that very year and Vikram was the director of songs and also the
sound designer of the movie. I met abhay through him. At that time I had
a general aversin to people from film families. Abhay was refreshingly
different. He stayed on his own, he sketched( Abhay before he became an
actor , did some story boards for the blast scenes of Black Friday for
me), he would make cartoons on the T-shirts and sell them in Goa. He was
a hippy born in a film family, Boston educated, sketching, drawing,
artist. We hung out. I introduced him to sanjay routray who introduced
him to imtiaz ali and an actor was born. The actor who I think is the
indian equivalent of an early Johnny Depp. I never thought he had even a
remote chance as an actor. He always told me that,” you don’t think i
can have a career.” and because i didn’t wan’t to hurt him, i would lie
but i believed that. Today I eat my words. After “socha na tha” Imtiaz
told him that how will he make a career or even expects to survive
without wanting to sing and dance and he smiled, he didn’t care. same
Imtiaz after “oye lucky…” told him that you have made a place for
yourself and there is no way they can throw you out. Abhay was right, we
were wrong. After I saw Ek Chaalis , and i talked about it here on PFC i
really wanted to work with him. Before that I would humor him and say
lets do something but let the right script come my way. Well, he showed
me the way. And today I feel very happy when Zoya Akhtar tells me, I
always liked him, Farhan said , he is very exciting and even Nikhil
advani goes on raving about him.
Well dev.d was conceived but nobody really wanted to do it. They were
scared and No Smoking put the fear of devil in them,until i met Vikas
Behl. I actually met him to pitch him Aamir but ended up pitching both
and he was excited. Amit Trivedi was someone Shilpa Rao recommended to
me. I remembered her from the the time she was a kid and she came to my
house to meet me with her mother. She was participating in some talent
show. Much later when i was doing no smoking, i met her and told her to
make me meet a new exciting voice on the music scene. Does not matter if
he hasn’t done a thing, but he has to have his own voice. Two days
later she brought Amit trivedi. I had my doubts on him. Largely because
of his name. He did not sound like a musician. I heard his sample music
and that was brilliant. I did not have a script at that time. I gave him
a situation based on what Vikram told me , he was doing with the script
and asked him to come up with a song. This was seven months before i
met vikas and then i forgot about it. After Vikas liked what i told him i
wanted to do with devdas, amit called me one day and he said he has
arrived at a song. I took vikas with me and went there. He played
“duniya” to me. Was I blown!!!! and then he said it took him six songs
to arrive at Duniya. I said can i hear those six. And he played them.
Six bloody brilliant songs, i told him i will take them all. They are
all in the movie. That is the moment that dev.d became a musical.
I went back to the script and rewrote it. and what came out was
brilliant, brilliant in terms of temptation, it made me greedy, i wanted
more music, more songs to make it feel complete. Emotional Atyachar
followed and its rock version and more. The film changed, music changed
the film, Amit trivedi changed the film. The essence, the soul remained
but the way it is told. The way it unfolded, the way i looked at it
And that was just few days before we were going on the shoot. Something I
was yet to figure out. When you make a film like Dev.d , one is dealing
with hell of a lot, perceived indian morality being the mother of them
all. one has to practice some kind of self censorship without killing
the soul of the movie. My dev is not just an alcoholic, he is a today’s
kid, he goes beyond alcohol, he is a coke-head, he experiments with
other drugs too, but is it necessary to show it. i wanted a way out. I
wanted to figure out a way where without showing the drug abuse and a
lot of drugs we could somehow portray that. I did not know the way out.
Our shooting began. first schedule in london, again talked about on PFC.
I called Danny Boyle. A social call because I was in london, because i
would often meet him , infact hosted him once when he was in bombay.
Danny invited us to lunch. Me , abhay and Rajeev Ravi my camera man
went. A small place in Soho where apparently a lot of film people hang
out. We got talking about his post on Slumdog and my Dev.d. I told him
what i wanted to do, and he told me about how he shot slum dog on SI-2K
and he also told me about a still camera, a nikon DS-3 or something that
was developed for war photographers that can shoot up to 11 frames per
second. He shared the entire technology(now public knowledge courtesy
American cinematographer) that he pushed for, got developed and used for
SDM. He gave us the details for where to get that camera from. He got
them from germany or holland. I immediately ordered for it, got it while
we were shooting in Punjab and did a test shoot on it, saw the results
and decided to go ahead with it. All the trippy shots you see in the
promos after abhay throws the glass at the wall was shot on that camera,
thanks to Danny Boyle.
Well rest later.