NewsIndiaTimes – that’s all you need to know Entertainment 27 News India Times January 19, 2018 By SHILPA JAMKHANDIKAR n his latest film, director Anurag Kashyap focuses on sports and poli- tics in small-town India, with the story of a young boxer's struggle to make it big. Kashyap, 45, spoke to Reuters about "Mukkabaaz", why he doesn't like Bollywood biopics, and whether his Phantom Films production house has strayed from what it set out to achieve. Q: Would you call “Mukkabaaz” a sports film? A: It’s a film about sports, but it’s an honest sports film. Q: What do you mean by that? A: I mean that we turn everything into formula. Even our biopics are not honest. See the films that have come out … it has become a formula now. People with one singular achievement have a biopic being told about them. Or people whose life is not over yet … and all biopics are super nationalist and patriotic and end with the national anthem. And that pisses me off. They are born heroes, from the first frame to the last. I find them extremely manipu- lative and don’t like most of them. Q: Why is nationalism and patriotism in the movies working now? A: People have always bought patriot- ism. Most people across the world live very meaningless lives. When they feel patriotic, they think they have a purpose and that’s why patriotism is sold to them, because their other issues they cannot redress. Cinema in India is less of an art form and more of a business. So producers always say, put in a bit of this and that. You should hear when they say ‘we should put in the national anthem in the end’. It’s like putting in a bit of jeera (cumin) to a dish. That is what they reduce patriotism to. It pisses me off and that is what I have addressed in my film. Q: Your film has politics mixed with the sports theme … A: Which sport doesn’t have politics? Why do you think politicians head every sports organisation? It is soft power. Q: Why did you want to work with Aanand L Rai on this film? A: It just happened. I was looking for money, and we had a great script. Vineet Kumar Singh (the lead actor in "Mukkabaaz") had gone in and put in so many years, but he had been a character actor. People loved the script so much, but they said take Vineet out of the equation. Let’s take the film to a big star and you take whatever money you want. They didn’t have a problem with Zoya because 'hero- ine koi bhi ho' (the female lead could be anyone). I didn't want to take Vineet out of the equation, so we walked out of one place. Aanand Rai called me because he wanted me to do "Manmarziyan", but I said I wanted to do this one first. So he said let’s do both together. Q: How do you assess Phantom Films right now? A: Phantom is doing bigger things now, and I want to do smaller things, so we have figured out a way for us to work together, all of us. The last year, Phantom has been very busy … because of Netflix. Both Vikram (co-founder Vikramaditya Motwane) and I have been consumed by only that. And then we have two big films going on floor in 2018. One is "Super 30" and one is "1983", so they are both massive films. Q: Phantom was supposed to be the production house that gave voice to indie voices, to smaller film-makers, but your films are now with big stars like Hrithik Roshan and Ranveer Singh. How has that happened? A: Exactly. That is my question. Q: Shouldn’t you have an answer to this question? A: I don’t have an answer. That is my question to all of us. When we become a company and it has its own set of pres- sures and its own employees …My con- stant question is, how large do we become? Do we become so large that we start doing a certain kind of a thing and stop doing another kind of a thing. That’s something that we deal with on a daily basis. For me, our whole philosophy is that it’s a director- driven company. So if I want to do a cer- tain thing, the onus is on me, within the company. Four people have different takes on what kind of film they want to make, and we each are doing that. Q: So how is it a cohesive company? A: It is a cohesive company because I know how to budget the film, how to put it together, but I don’t understand finances. I depend on them for that. I ammaking this film with Aanand L Rai, but I don’t sit together on the contracts or the budgets. They sit in on that - I deal with neither Phantom nor Aanand - I go out and make my film, the way I want to make it. Q: Does Phantom’s change of focus indi- cate that there is no way beyond the movie star system? A: No, I don’t believe in that. I don’t believe in that at all. Q: You spoke about having employees on board and the pressures that come with it. Is the answer to go big and get stars on board? A: That’s an easy answer. Q: So you all are taking the easy way out? A: We are doing both things. Q: How?Where are the smaller films? A: Imagine four people in a room… if they are always in sync, 24 hours, isn’t it boring?We will always have our conflicts and we have different ways of looking at things. But we are always together. We will be fighting, but we will always be together. My point of view is exactly your question - is going big the easy way out? Yes, it is. Are we taking the easy way out? Yes, we are. So I believe contrary and I am doing the con- trary thing. They are supporting me in that. They are doing what they believe in and I am there for them. Q: Do you believe that Phantom has moved away from its original philosophy? A: No, it has not. Phantom is still involved with “Mukkabaaz”. -R EUTERS 'Mukkabaaz' An Honest Biopic: Anurag Kashyap I By Sugandha Rawal -NEW DELHI "T he Big Bang Theory" is making headlines with stories around the brewing ego hassles and jealousy between the cast. But American actor Kevin Sussman, who essays Stuart Bloom in the hit sitcom, says the show "lucked out by having a group of people that work well together" with no ego clash- es between the team. "It is by far my longest job of any kind -- be it acting or non-acting. It is amazing. I had done enough TV stuff before 'The Big Bang Theory'. I had done enough to sort of appreciate how awesome everybody is on 'The Big Bang Theory', how nice and cool everybody is," Sussman told IANS over phone from California. Though he spoke out before the reports about the showrunners planning to end the series owing to the differences between the cast caught everyone's attention, Sussman said: "I really think one of the rea- sons why the show is so successful is pure luck. There are really no jerks involved. Everyone is super-nice, there is not a lot of ego and stuff. "The cast, they all are good friends. I think it is the only show, that I have been involved with, that has been so successful. But I would assume that it is a sort of nec- essary accident that needs to happen in order for the show to be successful because you are working in such close proximity for so long. "I think I lucked out by getting the job and I think the show lucked out by just having a group of people that work well together." "The Big Bang Theory" universe origi- nated with the story of how four nerds -- Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons), Leonard Hofstadter (Johnny Galecki), Howard Wolowitz (Simon Helberg) and Raj Koothrappali (Kunal Nayyar) -- react when a girl Penny (Kaley Cuoco) enters their life as a friendly neighbour. With all the idiosyncrasies, quirky behaviour, cultural one-liners, including a lot of Indian references courtesy British- Indian actor Kunal, as well as dating fun- das -- the story that highlights the personal life of scientists and geeks was loved by one and all, making it a phenomenon. Its universe expanded and introduced characters like neuroscientist Amy Farrah Fowler (Mayim Bialik) and Bernadette Rostenkowski (Melissa Rauch) and Stuart Bloom, the owner of a comic book store the characters visit essayed by Sussman. Currently in the middle of its eleventh season, the show might conclude with the twelfth edition. Sussman, who has also featured in films like "Little Black Book", "Ugly Betty", "The Mentalist" and "Hitch" -- which will air in India on Friday on Sony PIX -- feels "surre- al" to be part of such a big show. "I used to actually work in a comic book stores in NewYork. The creatives didn't know this when they offered me the role... I love this job," he said, adding that a movie version of the show "would be awesome". Having been associated with showbiz since 1990s, Sussman says he has learnt a lot of things over time. "I have a better sense to understand when to stop working so that I can contin- ue to explore the work while the cameras are rolling," said the actor, who also likes to write and is working on a project at the moment. -IANS No Jerks Involved In 'The Big Bang Theory': Kevin Sussman Reuters/ Dario Pignatelli Director Anurag Kashyap poses during a photo call at the Rome International Film Festival October 24, 2007. Twitter/@KevinSussman Kevin Sussman