To Cinema, With Love

Episode 4: Anurag Kashyap and Humour in the weird zone

Where do I even start with this guy:

Anurag Kashyap

There are very few directors that manage to tell stories the way Anurag Kashyap does, even though I have not seen all of his films, through the ones that I have, a certain style or a certain flair has become visible. I can just look at the trailer for a film and tell that this is an Anurag Kashyap film.

And there are so many factors that contribute to what makes his style his own. The chaotic story which is just filled with plots and subplots. His unique characters from the Dawood Phanse in Black Friday, to Bhagwan Das Mishra in Mukabazz to my personal favourite Faisal Khan in Gangs of Wasseypur I and II.

That swag though

But there is one thing that makes always makes me feel attracted to his style of cinema, and that is his humour. So through this essay, I want to break down his humour, specifically through my favourite film from his filmography:

Gangs of Wasseypur II

(Spoilers ahead)

But why do we need humor in films?

The answer is simple: because we need humour in life. Humour is necessary to make things easier, smoother, and that’s why you need it in films as well. Humour can make an extremely intense film or sequence better or light-hearted. A few examples to illustrate my point are:

In the dark knight which is a fairly intense film, there are several scenes in which Gordon is talking to Batman and then Gordon turns to remove his eyes from Batman for just a second to find that Batman has disappeared, this might not be a laugh out loud moment but it does remove the intensity.

In pulp fiction after John Travolta’s character Vincent Vega accidentally kills someone, the several scenes that follow it about the cleaning of the car in which the person is killed is just hilarious, especially with the character Winston Wolf who solves problems (this last line was a reference, please watch the full movie to understand it)

In films this way of adding humour in scenes is known as bathos, the actual definition of which is:

“(especially in a literary work) an effect of anticlimax created
by an unintentional lapse in mood from the sublime
to the trivial or ridiculous.”

You take a scene that is sublime or intense or dramatic and using an unintentional lapse or incident or character turn it into something trivial or ridiculous or hilarious.

But how does Anurag Kashyap use this technique?

He uses it just like anyone uses bathos: You take a scene that is dramatic or intense or sublime, add an unintentional lapse and turn it into something hilarious.

In Gangs of Wasseypur II, this happens pretty early in the film. Gangs of Wasseypur I film ended with Sardar Khan’s (the lead in this film) death. And this film starts right there, with his family getting to know about his death after his son reaches the scene and get to know about the incident we get to his funeral, this is an extremely intense scene, but an unintentional lapse of a singer changes things completely:

The singer literally sings “Yaad Tedi ayegi muhko bada satayegi”, and I have not written teri as tedi by mistake.

Another scene that does the same, is when Faisal goes to kill one of the people responsible for his father’s death, but takes a barber with him, who then cuts all of his hair to make him bald, Faisal looks at him and says “Ek dum Shakal lag Raha hai” and then kills him:

Who even thinks things like this! Also for all those people wondering who is this Shakal:

There is a slight resemblance

And the biggest example of this is one of the best scenes of the film, the killing of sultan khan. I don’t want to dissect this scene entirely but if you just watch the scene I think you will be able to see my point:


Even though I have put this entire thing into a formula, this is obviously not entirely true, I seriously doubt that Anurag Kashyap uses a formula to add humour in his films. The most important aspect of his humour is the fact that it is not forced or formulated, which is why his humour comes from a completely honest place, making it even funnier.

From the singer at the funeral to the shaving someone’s head before killing someone to killing someone in a vegetable market while discussing what kathal is none of these things can be forced. All of these come from a genuine and honest place. This entire essay doesn’t mean to put his style of humor into a formula or say that is constructed, just because of most of the good songs follow a similar structure of intro-verse-chorus etc doesn’t make it a good songs, it just helps us understand it, similarly analysing structures of film, style, character and humor helps us understand cinema better.

About The Series
Films may not just be art, and they’re not simply entertainment either. What they are, for sure, is an experience.

When you want to watch a film, you make a plan with your friends or family or sometimes with just yourself. You buy the tickets, get some popcorn, get in the seat and enjoy the show–even if you merely open up your laptop and watch the film, it still is an experience for you, whether good or bad.

That experience can make you laugh, cry or maybe even think. This series is a homage to that very experience.

This is a homage to cinema.

|| Note :- Now, I have not seen every movie ever made (I wish I had, I really do) so my information primarily comes from the films I see, which is why whatever I write might be totally meaningless in context of other films These articles are not going to be teaching anyone about films, these are just going to be about me talking about my passion for films, and the people who make them (which reminds me, Why are you reading this?)

TL;DR: Whatever I say doesn’t matter.

  I like this!

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