News from the Locarno Festival

Anurag Kashyap director of “Bombay Velvet”



Mr Kashyap, this is your second time in Locarno. How did you get here the first time?

It was in 2004, Irene Bignardi had come to India and watched Black Friday – she wanted to bring it to the Festival. I therefore asked for an Indian passport, I never had one before. I came to Ticino and the movie was screened in Piazza Grande. And then, yes, I also stopped to the Casinò for playing with a slot machine and I won 200 Swiss Franks. But that's not the main reason I love the Festival del film Locarno, of course (he laughs, ndr).

Have you used that passport a lot?

A lot. I started being invited from several festivals and travelling non-stop. The Festival brought attention on me, this is why I am saying that Piazza Grande is an emotional, special place to me: as filmmaker, I am born here.

This year you are presenting Bombay Velvet, which is set in the past. But is contemporary India also represented in the movie?

Bombay Velvet is the beginning of what India is today. There is no green anymore in Bombay, they have built and built, there are random constructions everywhere. Population was told that it was made for them, but they destroyed our heritage.

Beyond listening to music and watching movies, how did you prepare for making this movie?

I love reading, I started when I was really young. I think that books offer you many ideas, giving you the time to understand. In the last several years, for example, I read several noirs from all over the world – for example all Massimo Carlotto's works. Now I am reading this (he shows us the book is grabbing in the hands, ndr), Malcolm Mackay's The Necessary Death of Lewis Winter.

After eleven years, if you could sit next to the youngest-you, in Piazza Grande, that night in 2004. What would you tell him?

Probably nothing, but I am telling you one thing: at the time I had no idea what was going on, totally unaware of everything and definitely overwhelmed by the events. But you know what? I miss it. I would like to live it again, I would like to have it back.

Mattia Bertoldi
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