Anurag Basu: A Cinematic Journey through Triumphs and Trials

A Potpourri of Vestiges Feature

Pallavi Tripathi

His roles have included being a background dancer, a best friend to the hero, an assistant to a cinematographer, an assistant to a make-up artist, and eventually an AD on TV shows. He has experience directing television. “Tara,” anyone? The TV taught him the valuable practice of budgeting. Not only did he defeat cancer, but he also earned the esteemed title of director in Indian cinema. Anurag hails from Raipur and grew up in Bhilai, known as the Steel City of Chhattisgarh. With parents involved in theater and films, his career is truly outstanding. He has seen as many ups in his life as downs. 

According to Anurag Basu, younger people should not wait for huge opportunities and should utilize their time and talent wisely. Seize whatever opportunity crosses your path! He also believes in the cliched philosophy of “believe in yourself” as the key to success. Anurag ranks theater as the toughest, followed by TV and cinema, and considers TV commercials the least challenging.

Metro in Dino is about to release, and his birthday is on the way on May 8th. Time to look back into the films directed by Anurag Basu. He almost made a film for Ekta Kapoor (“Kuch toh hai”), which he has disowned. Anurag has done various films for Vishesh films, including the adaptation of “Unfaithful”, “Murder,”  a film for Rakesh Roshan. He became known in a larger sphere with “Barfi!” “Ludo” has added another cap to his feather.

Anurag’s directorial prowess lies in his skill to create complex and emotionally charged stories that explore the depths of the human mind. He excels at eliciting genuine, intricate, and captivating performances from the exceptional and not so exceptional actors he works with. He was learning to be a cinematographer, and he makes use of the knowledge in his films to enrich visually stunning images. Basu’s films have the quality of resonating with audiences irrespective of borders, as they combine emotional depth and universal appeal.


Despite it being a debut of Barbara Moori on Bollywood and starring Hritik Roshan and Kangna Ranaut, the movie bombed at the box office. The major reason being it’s convoluted plotline, the plot is unbelievable even by Bollywood standards, which makes even the breathtaking cinematography go to waste.There were rumors of a clash between its producers and Anurag. “Kites” like many other Basu films, rely on flashbacks, but this time the Spanish speaking and Hindi speaking plotline isn’t believable. The characters fell half-baked and are not etched out. The car- chase sequences become repetitive after a while and what you’re left with is a mumbo-jumbo with love at it’s core. It has a good soundtrack by Salim-Sulaiman and lyrics by Rajesh Roshan. The film’s ending has a “Gangster” touch, which doesn't work for “Kites”.


This movie, being Anurag’s first, showcases the qualities that have made him the renowned Indian director he is now. Whether it is visual flair, inventive storytelling, or emotional depth, the elements are all there. The film borrows a bit of the plot from R.K. Narayan’s “The English Teacher.” A widower, Akash, played by John Abraham, grieves the loss of her wife, Maya, whom he lost in a flood. He believes she is attempting to reach out to him from beyond through individuals who have had near-death experiences. Is she truly contacting him, and if yes, what is the reason? The film provides us with the answers, adding a touch of magic. Good songs and a cameo by Mahima Choudhary embellish the film.


Starring Emraan Hashmi and Mallika Sherawat, “Murder” was a sensation at the time of its release. Whether it was the captivating songs that stayed in your mind or the seductive scenes featuring Mallika Sherawat, everything became the topic of conversation in town. The movie relies heavily on flashbacks, sometimes flashbacks within flashbacks, which adds to the intensity of the final climax of the film. Murder is an adaptation of “Unfaithful,” which itself is based on the French film “The Unfaithful Wife.” “Murder” established Anurag as the director to look up to today. “Murder” marks beginning the film series by the same name. It boosted the careers of both Hashmi and Mallika. It is an erotic thriller centered around murder, and spoiler alerts may have never taken place. It caused a stir by portraying adultery from the wife’s perspective in a sensational manner.


The release of “Gangster” marked beginning Kangna Ranaut’s successful career in Bollywood. The songs from the film remain popular and are played at select events. The film plays in flashbacks and flashbacks have flashbacks. Simran, portrayed by Kangna, gets shot in the chest. The identity of the shooter and the motive are unknown. We are then transported to a flashback. Simran is drowning herself in booze. Her only friend Akash, played by Emran Hashmi, wants to help her but she’s not allowing it. Simran is actually a bar dancer who falls for the gangster Daya played by Shiney Ahuja. It is later revealed that it is because of this troubled relationship that she has developed a drinking problem. It’s essential to keep in mind the unanswered questions about Akash and his intentions towards Simran, as revealing them would spoil the experience for viewers. The originality of the film “Gangster” can be attributed to Anurag Basu, who both wrote the screenplay and directed it.

Jagga Jasoos

Jagga Jasoos as the name has it is a detective story the caviar is that it’s a musical. The reason it’s a musical is that our protagonist Jagga stammers, so to overcome his stammering his adoptive father, told him the trick to sing out his words, which works for him. The movie revolves around Jagga trying to find his guardian  Mr Bagchi, a journalist Shruti Sengupta comes and help him in the case. Jagga feels drawn to her because her ways closely resemble Mr Bagchi’s ways. Anurag is highly inventive in his use of audio-visual medium. First, he makes the dialogues lyrical as suited to the plot and then he brings the idiosyncrasies of character to draw parallel between them. He makes Jagga a very observant detective. If not in the style of Sherlock or Poirot, then in the style of Feluda or Tintin. Even though the film bombed, it received the critical acclaim. The songs of the film is memorable.

Life.. in a Metro

The actual strength of the film comes from the actors such as Irrfan Khan, Konkona Sen Sharma, Shilpa Shetty, Kangna Ranaut, Dharmendra and Kay Kay Menon playing their parts in interwoven stories set in Mumbai. This film showcases hyperlink cinema, emphasizing love and its attachments. “Life.. in a metro” makes use of Pritam and team’s music with them playing the instruments and singing on-screen, which gives film a very improv look. There’s a sequel underway to the film called “Metro.. in dino” with a different ensemble cast. The movie will have people lining up for tickets if it’s similar. Let’s hope it doesn’t bomb like “Love Aaj kal”. The movie has already faced a few delays.


Flashbacks are signature to Anurag Basu and he uses it to best effects here. Anurag Basu uses flashbacks to great effect, presenting us with a love triangle that breaks all stereotypes and a unique love story accompanied by pleasing songs and eye-catching cinematography. Barfi played by Ranbir Kapoor is a deaf and mute happy-go-lucky man who doesn’t leaves her positive attitude come what may. Shruti, played by Ileana D’Cruz is a girl who’s engaged to Jisshu but falls for Barfi. He too falls for her but her mother convinces Shruti to go through her marriage with Jisshu. She does. Muskaan, a special children’s home, receives Jhilmil, a rich autistic girl who has been left all inheritance by her grandfather. However, she gets kidnapped in exchange for money. She’s kidnapped by Barfi, who needs money to save his father’s life. While returning her to her home, Jhilmil heads back to him and the love story begins. The movie is an emotional cousin to the French film “Amelie”. With few dialogues, actors act out most scenes due to the subject matter. Both Ranbir and Priyanka do a commendable job. As a director Basu’s ability to play out complexities of human emotion with genuine eyes is a testament to his skill as a storyteller.


Anurag does a cameo in “Ludo” which has a stellar cast including Abhishek Bachchan, Aditya Roy Kapur, Rajkummar Rao, Pankaj Tripathi, Fatima Sana Shaikh, Sanya Malhotra, Rohit Suresh Saraf, and Pearle Maaney. Another multi-narrative from the director with cameo as Ludo playing Yamraj in the film. The movie being a comical crime film delves deep into the intricacies of fate, it doesn’t leave easy answers. We are presented with twisted answers regarding the fate of twisted characters, just like the dialogue in the movie “Sawaal Jalebi par jawab kalakand chahiye”. Despite receiving criticism for its convoluted plot, causing confusion, loose ends, and tonal inconsistency, the film compensates with the captivating play of kismet of the characters. It got rave reviews from critics and audiences alike. The script for Ludo 2 is ready. The chaos continues.

About Pallavi Tripathi

Pallavi Tripathi likes to describe herself as poet at heart who loves to see the world through cinematic lense. She loves auteurs from around the world, goes on movie dates with Kurusawa, Ray, Lynch, Bunuel and tries to find meaning of life through those conversation. She is a civil engineer and has done post graduation in English. She is self employed as a Autocad/SketchUp designer. 

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