From being on the fringes of the Hindi film industry to becoming a sought after director with a dedicated fan base, Anurag Kashyap has come a long way but the filmmaker says he would rather stay at the periphery than be an insider in Bollywood.
After more than a decade in the industry and a host of brilliant films to back him, Anurag says he is extremely comfortable in his own space and no longer wishes to be part of the "interiors" of Bollywood.
"I am still at the periphery in Bollywood. The fact is that I have stopped trying to be part of the interior now. I am very comfortable where I am right now in my career and with myself. I have become mature. May be that's because of my age... I just want to make films," Anurag told PTI.
Entering the industry at a point when soft romantic stories were popular, Anurag's work explored the grittier and darker stories be it is writing in films like "Satya", "Shool" and "Kaun" or initial films as a director, "Black Friday" "Paanch" and "No Smoking".
He eventually got acceptance with critical acclaim for "Dev D", "Gulaal", "That Girl in Yellow Boots" and his biggest success till date, "Gangs of Wasseypur- 1 and 2" and Hindi film industry had found its new rebel.
But the director cringes at the many fancy labels that have been attached to him.
"I never called myself rebellious. All my life has been about one thing, I will do what I want to do and will stand by what I believe in. In that, people have given me definitions and interpretations. So, I think it's their problem, not mine.
"I find these labels irritant. It irritates me, it nags me like a leech and I feel why doesn't it go. I want to be left alone. If I had my way, I would want the world to leave me alone. I love complete solation," he says.
There is also a belief that this tag of a 'filmmaker with a difference' cost him heavily when he offered the audience an opulent and stylish "Bombay Velvet".
While audience and critics felt the director "deviated" from his path of realistic cinema, Anurag begs to differ and says the movie was his choice.
He, however, admits the presence of a star, a big budget and opening weekend pressure put him on the back foot.
"I did what I wanted to do. All the choices were mine. I now realise that I should not be on the back foot again. There is a hell lot of pressure about the money and opening weekend and that put me on a backfoot and that's entirely my fault that I went on a back foot."
One might assume Anurag regretted casting Ranbir Kapoor in his ambitious project but the director is full of praise for the actor.
"Ranbir is amazing. He is a great actor. It's the expectation from him. The only big problem was that it is such a big stress, like one actor who is trying to experiment has gone to back to playing safe. It's my loss, it's our loss."
Anurag says in India, Bollywood stars do not have it easy to experiment with their work because their fans always want to see them in a certain way.
"In this country, which is so celebrity-obsessed, stars come with their images and expectations. So, it doesn't matter if a star wants to break the image, he also has to be brave enough to face the consequences.
"The fans don't expect him to do something which they don't want him to see in."
When asked whether he will work with stars again, Anurag says, "I don't have a problem in working with stars but if they are willing to work with me my way then I am fine with it. But, I am not going to allow that to pressurise me and I am not going to make a film that's so star dependent."
Naturally, Anurag is wary of these 'fans' as he feels a fan is the biggest enemy of an artist.
"For me there's no bigger enemy of an artist than his fans. That's the ultimate truth because the fan has expectations and if you fall for that and start catering to that you will never grow in life. I don't give a damn what fans say. My fan does not matter to me.
"It's my audience that I want to create. If a film is good it will find its audience. If my fans have their way all my life I will be making 'Wasseypur' or 'Dev D'. Fan is good for stars and celebrities but I will rather not have fans," the filmmaker says.