In Conversation with Karan Anshuman
The director of Bangistan talks films, favourites, fears and philosophy
What’s keeping you busy these days?
My three-year-long journey of making my first film, Bangistan, is hurtling to an end. It’s a lot of cardio these days, with a lot of running around, a continuously pounding heart and sleepless nights. I’m enjoying every moment of it.
Your biggest achievement?
Right now it feels like making it across the finish line that is the Friday of a first film’s release — it’s akin to conquering Everest. To have thoughts turn into words on a page which turn into images and music, and all of it in an uncompromised manner, feels like a major achievement.
Your biggest regret?
There is literally only one thing I regret in my life, and that is to have forced my non-scientific and non-mathematical mind to make hasty decisions in college and to have followed academic programmes that I had no aptitude for. I could have spent that time a lot better.
One resolution you break often?
Giving in to culinary temptation. Literally eating my cake and having it, too. It’s good, though, it keeps me motivated to exercise more.
What is the one skill every man should have?
Cooking. And, giving a good massage.
What is the one thing you desire?
What are you always searching for?
Space. Metaphorically, literally. I think living in Mumbai does that to you. It consumes your senses and assaults you without respite. It’s a place where you can’t spread your arms or thoughts without jostling.
A life-changing experience?
Fatherhood. The moment I first held my daughter in my arms, I changed as a person. It was a single, precise moment.
Your favourite place on earth?
New York. For a creator, there is inspiration to be found at every street corner, no matter if you’re holding a camera, a guitar, a pen or a paintbrush.
What irritates you most about people?
I think people who don’t deliver on their commitments or don’t perform to their potential are doing a disservice to themselves.
People who have inspired you in life?
MK Gandhi, for his values; Federico Fellini, for his film-making; Saeed Mirza, for his perspective; and my friend Saumil Gandhi, for being the paragon of friendship.
What is the word/phrase you overuse the most?
‘That is so 80s.’ Usually that’s a compliment.
If you could live someone else’s life for a day, whose would it be?
Anyone who is aboard the International Space Station right now. At least I’ll get some of the space I’m always looking for.
Gigantic lizards chasing me towards a sheer cliff. I have no doubt I will leap like a lemming.
An overrated virtue, according to you?
All theological virtues are overrated.
What makes you happy?
Sushi. Single malt. Some other things with ‘s’.
The ones that have stuck. School days, close friends, falling in love.
Exercise. Read. Listen. Learn. All of this should be a constant.
A film you wished you had directed, and why?
Apocalypse Now. The last truly epic film made without VFX. There will never be another, and what a journey making it must’ve been.