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A moment from Rajuben; (above) Anurag Kashyap

Anurag Kashyap is a happy man. His Dev D and Gulaal have been well received and his short film Rajuben — showcased as part of Sony’s Specials at 10 series — is slowly but steadily grabbing eyeballs.

“I feel relieved!” begins the filmmaker, who has always courted more controversy than commendation for his work. “Post-A.R. Rahman’s double triumph at the Oscars and with Slumdog Millionaire going so big worldwide, it’s a great time for Indian cinema. Filmmakers here will start experimenting with newer subjects. Even Shantaram (Mira Nair’s Johnny Depp-Amitabh Bachchan starrer based on the novel by Gregory David Roberts) is being revived. It’s wonderful,” smiles the maverick moviemaker.

But then why has Kashyap turned to television? “Well, I started with television (with Auto Narayan and Trikaal) and it’s only fair that I come back to it sometime,” smiles the director. “Besides, I like doing television because the commitment time is far shorter and you can let your creative juices flow without having to worry about the box office being a pain in your ass,” laughs the man who isn’t known to mince words.

Fashioned in the same mould as his films, Rajuben is about a simple girl (played by Chak De! India’s Shilpa Shukla) who, compelled by circumstances, lands up in the underworld. “Rajuben is primarily a woman-centric story, but obviously not in the way the saas-bahu soaps are! It traces the journey of a common woman from being a simple homemaker to an underworld kingpin,” reveals Kashyap.

The subject may be close to his heart, but Kashyap isn’t the one wielding the directorial baton for Rajuben. “I am creatively involved in the same manner as I was for the film Aamir. I have given my creative inputs, I have had a say in the choice of actors and I have had my own technicians. Amit Trivedi (music director of Aamir and Dev D) has done the music for Rajuben. So I am there very much in spirit, although I don’t find it necessary to go to the sets everyday and interfere in Lalit’s (Marathe, director of Rajuben) work, “ smiles Kashyap.

And what does the filmmaker feel that Specials at 10 will do for the Indian audience habituated with watching family dramas and reality shows?

“This initiative could change the way we look at Indian television. If Specials at 10 works, then personally it will be very very special for me,” he says,

More special than his stuck-in-the-cans for years Paanch releasing sometime in the summer of 2009? “Oh, Paanch will be more than special. It will be relief. Again!”

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