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Anurag Kashyap to recreate Mumbai in Sri Lanka for 'Bombay Velvet'

Director Deepa Mehta had opted to film 'Water' and 'Midnight's Children' in Sri Lanka and Kashyap too found the country historically more suited for his film. "It is set in the 60s and I needed a consistent heritage look and a skyline to loyally depict the era. 

Anurag Kashyap

But, Bombay's skyline has transformed dramatically, most of the heritage buildings have been replaced by high-rises. So it did not fit the period we are looking to recreate. That's why we are shooting in Sri Lanka, starting next month," Kashyap told PTI.

The 'Gangs of Wasseypur' director finds making an authentic period film in India a challenge as most of the heritage buildings in Indian cities have either "disappeared or have been modified beyond recognition".

"Unfortunately, India does not have a culture of preservation, whether it is films, monuments or buildings. Cities like Bombay have not been able to preserve their architectural heritage in the race for urban growth, and hence period films will face serious challenges in India, both in terms of shooting and authentically recreating the era." Kashyap shared the challenges that he faced while researching for the film during the pre-production days. "Not only the buildings were missing, we did not know how an area, or the city in general looked during that period.

So, we took help of not only available archival images but also approached families in Mumbai to share their old albums to help us in reimagining Bombay 50 years ago, a Bombay now largely missing in a vertically-growing Mumbai," he said. Some parts of the film is also likely to be shot in studios in Mumbai.

Talking about the journey of the film, based on historian Gyan Prakash's book 'Mumbai Fables', the 40-year-old director said that the "book and the script were being written simultaneously" written by the author. "I met Gyan before the book was published. And, when he told me about the story, I was fascinated. I never thought Bombay (Mumbai) had such a history.

And, so Gyan wrote the book while simultaneously penning the script for the parallel adaptation," Kashyap told PTI. And, the parallel act, he says has "lent the book somewhat a cinematic quality while providing the film with a rich, historical context". Setting aside reports that the film is the first in a trilogy, he said "there is only one film planned as of now and not three".

The film will see Ranbir and Anushka Sharma being paired together for the first time onscreen as lovers as their lives intermingle with the city's evolution through the early post-colonial decades.

Director Karan Johar is playing a negative role opposite them. The unconventional filmmaker also said that while it is fine to make films for people, one must not become victims of the fans. "Fans are your worst enemy.

They like your certain work and then wish to see you in that same mould, almost to the point of the filmmakers or even the actor ending up stereotyping himself, just to please the fans. I tell you, 90 per cent people want to play safe. But, I work backwards and want to make films in that 10 per cent category, were I am not told what to do," Kashyap said.  

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