With the flexible story format and a wide variety of experimental subject lines for a receptive global audience, digital platforms offer a huge creative liberty for a storytellers, says acclaimed filmmaker Anurag Kashyap.
Kashyap has directed a short for the recently released anthology 'Lust Stories' for Netflix India and he is coming up with a web series 'Sacred Games' for the platform soon.
"The digital platform has given me the freedom of storytelling, in terms of format and content. In 'Lust Stories', I am telling a story in half an hour, and in my upcoming 'Secret Games', the story is longer than two hours. So as a storyteller, one does not have to keep the length in mind, but how engaging the story is," Kashyap said.
Anurag Kashyap’s story in the film ‘Lust Stories’ revolves around a married woman Kalindi, who develops a physical and emotional desire with her student. Having an actor like Radhika Apte was a bonus
'Lust Stories', an anthology with contributions from directors Zoya Akhtar, Dibakar Banerjee, Karan Johar and Kashyap—the quartet that had also earlier worked on ‘Bombay Talkies’—revolves around love and lust in human relationships.
Kashyap said with this project, he got a chance to tell his story without any compromise, and the platform made a difference to it.
"I think it was so liberating for me as a filmmaker to address such an issue. Raising questions on some matters without thinking about if the idea is salable at the box office, was very liberating for me as a filmmaker. I know, selling such an idea to a studio to release the film in the theatre could have been tougher.
"It also becomes the responsibility of the filmmaker to recover the money. And box office always controls certain things about the content," said the filmmaker, whose story has Radhika Apte in the lead.
Is theatrical release of a film in under threat due to popularity of digital platforms?
"No, I think cinema will change according to its content... It is happening already. I think more intimate content will be released online where people would enjoy the story in personal viewing, and event movies will be releasing more on theatre... Films like 'Avengers', 'Deadpool' where the audience has to go to the theatre to experience the film," he said.
Anurag Kashyap: It makes sense to tell the story of women in a country like India where a woman is supposed to repress her sexuality, she is not supposed to lust... Where a woman is supposed to have sex only for having a baby. I am asking, ‘Who said that? Patriarchy?’”
Kashyap’s story in the film 'Lust Stories' revolves around a married woman Kalindi, who develops a physical and emotional desire with her student. Having an actor like Radhika Apte was a bonus.
"I think the story was also possible because of Radhika. She is one of those actresses who is least bothered about coming out looking good as a character at the end of the story," said director.
He feels that somehow "we need to see things the way it is and put it out there without being judgmental, without manipulating in a manner so that people understand a stereotype".
"I believe that reality is lying in contradiction. You know the whole idea for us -- Radhika and I was not to judge Kalindi. If we judge Kalindi, then the audience will judge her for sure. So we just tried to be honest while presenting the character," he explained.
What is interesting is to observe how the protagonist of all four films is a woman.
Asked if it was a calculative decision, Kashyap said: "No, it was not by design that we chose the protagonist of our stories as a female. For me, it makes sense to tell the story of women in a country like India where a woman is supposed to repress her sexuality, she is not supposed to lust... Where a woman is supposed to have sex only for having a baby. "I am asking, 'Who said that? Patriarchy?"
Asked about what was his initial idea about the story, he said: "I knew what I do not want to get into while playing the idea in my head. I did not want to get into the story of infidelity, a broken marriage, and an extramarital affair or threesome... I wanted to go beyond that. I wanted to go deeper into the mind of a person."