Critically acclaimed director of Dev.D and Black Friday, Anurag Kashyap abandons his director’s hat and turns actor in Onir’s upcoming film I Am, playing an abusive father.
According to Onir, filming was a challenging experience for Kashyap, who himself was a victim of child abuse for eleven years. Onir says that from the initial stages of the film – which has largely raised finance through posting bulletins on social networking sites such as Facebook and the I AM blog – Kashyap has been hugely supportive of the project.
“Anurag got to know about it and sent me a message saying he always wanted to make a film on child abuse, but didn’t have the guts. He said, ‘I cannot think of anyone else better than you to make a film on this subject, so if you need any help, just tell me, I’m there with you’.”
True to his word, the acclaimed director stepped in as an actor to take a role that was proving difficult to cast. “I was having a tough time finding someone to play a father who is the abuser and I asked Anurag to do it and he agreed. But enacting certain scenes were quite disturbing for Anurag because they brought back old memories,” says Onir.
I Am is Onir’s fourth film. It features four loosely connected short stories woven together – I Am Abhimanyu, featuring Anurag Kashyap and the theme of child abuse; the other three stories are titled I Am Omar, I Am Afia and I Am Megha. Joining Kashyap in the cast are two more actors more at home behind the camera: directors Anurag Basu and Nandita Das. along with Manisha Koirala, Juhi Chawla, Purab Kohli and Rahul Bose. The film is expected to release in July.