That Girl in Yellow Boots (2010) and how I met Anurag Kashyap in Minneapolis!


Back on November 3, 2010, I had the pleasure of watching Anurag Kashyap’s new film written with, and starring Kalki Koechlin at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Asian Film Festival.

That Girl in Yellow Boots is an upcoming Indian Thriller film by critically acclaimed director Anurag Kashyap. Starring Kalki Koechlin and Naseeruddin Shah, the film will premiere at the Venice Film Festival. It will also be screened at the Toronto International Film Festival.  Ruth (Kalki Koechlin) comes to Mumbai to find her long-lost father, but when she takes a job as a massage therapist to make ends meet she becomes involved in the seedier side of the city. Although the money is welcome, and she does enjoy the adventure that comes with her new job, she soon faces an important moral decision. (source)

That Girl in Yellow Boots was the opening film in the festival, and as an added bonus, the director attended the film and answered questions before and after the screening. I had no idea this festival was going on and thanks to a tweet from Nicki, the Hmong Chick Who Loves Indian Cinema, I was able to learn about the event just 2  hours before it happened!  I’ve seen Kashyap’s  Black Friday (2004) and Dev. D (2009) and was already a big fan of his work, so I was delighted for the opportunity to see his new film. What was even more exciting was that Kashyap appeared at the event!

That Girl in Yellow Boots also was shown in September of 2010 as part of the Toronto International Film Festival, which you can read about here in a review by Marissa Bronfman

Look how fancy THAT event was! And get a load of Kalki’s gorgeous saree.   Kashyap’s outfits at the different events indicates The Minneapolis/St. Paul Film festival was quite a bit less formal that the Toronto festival.

Q & A before and after screening of That Girl in Yellow Boots

During the pre and post question and answer sessions, Kashyap graciously answered questions about his new film as well as previous works.  He spoke about the censor board in India and the difficulties to passing films through that process.  He also spoke about some missing (lost or destroyed, I can’t recall) footage from Black Friday (2004), and how it was merely pieced together with much of  its full/original content gone.  Having enjoyed Black Friday very much, I can’t imagine how more footage would have improved on an already great film.  A lot of the comments were basically, “Your films are so dark” and at one point Kashyap responded in good humor, something like, “With 800  happy films made in India in a year, it’s OK if 200 can not be happy.”  I bet there’s some recording of these before and after film comments by Kashyap and if I come across it, I’ll link it in.  I can only rely on my memory of the event, and I was so thrilled to be there that a lot of what I heard  has receded in to a vague happy memory.  I should have jotted down some notes or written this down right after it happened, but alas I did not.   There is a very nice interview with Kashyap done by MTN, and while the interviewer does not seem to understand quite how big of a deal Kashyap is, and doesn’t ever manage to say his name correctly, she makes up for this with her earnest curiosity, so I forgive her. :)  If you watch the interview, which I recommended, note how polite Kashyap is with his interviewer too, meeting her at her level of understanding and moving her along quickly to learn a lot in a short time.

The full interview with Kashyap on MTN can be found HERE.  There’s also  a very nice review of the film, by local writer, Will Wright, HERE.

Upon completing the question and answer session after the film, several audience members stopped Shree Kashyap for photos, autographs, and conversation while he was exiting the theater.  I caught him and said something like, “Do you want to know my FAVORITE scene from  Dev. D ?” I didn’t give him a chance to say no, and told him it was the scene when Mahi Gill’s Paro is dancing, knowing the Dev (Abhay Deol)  is finally on his way back home to the Punjab from London, but not back yet, and suddenly she glances up and sees him photographing her.

And then she meets him privately in the house, and he puts his arm up against the wall, to make sure she stays:

The scene described can be found here starting at 2:20:

That is one of my favorite movie sequences EVER for it completely captures the passionate anticipation the characters have for each other.  Though I told Kashyap how  much I loved that scene,  I’m not sure if he heard what I exactly said, since I said it so quickly and he was trying to attend to his other fans, but I loved having the opportunity to tell him that in person.

The After Party

If that wasn’t good enough, here’s the even better part: I actually got to sit and chat with Mr. Kashyap after the film! There was a gathering after the film viewing at a nearby bar,  Honey.  Now I know Honey sponsored the event, and they serve Asian fusion food, and this was an Asian film festival, BUT just across the street, within a stone’s throw of the Ganga Mississippi River,  is Nye’s Polonaise Room, voted best bar in America, which would have been my choice.

Nye’s has a lot more filmi charm and the character that a director of Kashyap’s reputation deserves, but I digress. Along with some of the audience, I made my way over to Honey and watched Anurag Kashyap speak with viewers.  I had a wonderful time talking about films with some NRIs and after about an hour we worked up our courage to approach that table where the director was sitting and eventually we sat down and talked to him.  As time passed I was able to sit right next to him and tell him another favorite scene I had from Dev. D. It’s the one where Kalki Koechlin’s character is asked to decide on a name to use in the brothel by Chunni (Dibyendu Bhattacharya)

and while watching Madhuri Dixit’s Chandramuki in Devdas (2002) on TV, she replies:

I also love the steaming momos sequence in Dev. D. but forgot to tell him that.

I asked Kashyap if he liked how Emosanal Attaychar was worked into  the background soundtrack of Peepli Live (2010). He asked what I thought of the new film. I told him it was fabulous.  Though the subject was dark, the humor and suspense worked in throughout relieved the intensity at just the right times.  I especially loved the scene where the goonda breaks into Ruth’s home and stubbornly struggles to work the various remote controls for her entertainment system.  I overheard one of the Tamilian NRI‘s at the table talk to Kashyap about Rajinikanth.  These Madrasis can’t help but talk about their superstar, I understand.  While Kashyap did not mention that he’d be working with Rajinikanth, he did say he was working on a film with Prithviraj and Rani Mukeji, if I heard correctly.  I’m not sure if he meant on the same film, if he was currently working on this project, or if they were separate projects not yet started.  My internet research does confirm the Prithviraj project.   Another thing discussed were the film’s yellow boots. Kashyap said in the store it was a choice between yellow or red Doc  Martens, and the yellow boots won.  I told him I thought the work boots were to represent that Ruth was there in Mumbai to do the heavy labor of finding out the mystery of her past;  she was there to take care of some dirty business, thus the work boots.  He said, no, but that this is the beauty of film, one can think what they’d like, make a variety of their own interpretations regardless of the director’s intentions.  I also told him that his films are in our Minneapolis library system, and he seemed to like that.  I did exercise great restraint by NOT saying some of these things I was thinking:  “Where’s Kalki?  I wanted to see Kalki too! How much does Nasruddin Shah charge  to be in a film? What about Abhay Deol?! He’s SO cute, what’s he like?!” I did though try to touch Mr. Kashyap’s feet for fun, something I like to do to Indians because I love when they say, “no, no, no,”   just like in the movies and it’s how I indulge my fantasies of being a gori extra in film.

He did the usual, when I tried to touch his feet and Anuragji said, “No, you must not do this.”  Kashyap left the table to go out to smoke and left his iPad, and I thought if I were the stealing type, a goonda, a dacoit, that would be a great iPad to steal, maybe get a few movie ideas out of it to sell.  While I did not steal his iPad, I confess, I stole on sip of whiskey from his unattended glass, only just a small part of the peg.  I felt fancy and daring doing this, and I’m almost positive that it was Johnnie Walker, and I would presume it was black label, hai na?  Wouldn’t you have done the same given the opportunity?

I was delighted to have the opportunity to see Kashyap’s new film and get a chance to share a few  moments chatting with him.  Read more about The Girl in Yellow Boots HERE, and in Katherine Matthew’s insightful Bollyspice review HERE, and be sure to see it when it’s released next year.

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18 thoughts on “That Girl in Yellow Boots (2010) and how I met Anurag Kashyap in Minneapolis!

  1. You are so adorable re: the whiskey! Crazy!!!!
    I’m so glad u got this opportunity to go to this event and meet anurag- sounds completely exhilarating.
    I was personally disappointed w/ Emotional Atyachaar, but am looking forward to Yellow Boots. Cheers!

    • shweta-ji!
      Thanks for stopping in to comment, and exhilarating was the right word to describe the experience. When you say you were disappointed with Emotional Atyachaar I didn’t even know there was a filum of that name, only the fantastic song with that title in Dev.D and of course the fabulous guilty pleasure Indian TV show Emotional Atyachaar like the American show “Cheaters.” The film looks like it has a great cast, too bad you didn’t enjoy it The Film Emotional Atyachar. I think you’ll like Yellow Boots, especially all the funny incidental parts. Example: One character tells Kalki’s Ruth that he likes her teeth, they’re like Bugs Bunny and Julia Roberts. Pause. Kalki: I like Bugs Bunny. I loved that line, since I’ve never seen appeal of Julia Roberts. I’ll look forward to hearing your impressions of the film. By the way, I know you’re a Abhay fan, and the festival also screened Dev.D, which I was so happy to FINALLY see on the big screen after already seeing it 2 X on DVD.

      • rofl- ive never been a fan of Julia Roberts either, so am with you there! We got Dev D in our theaters here when it came out (a week after the rest of the world did tho)- You need to tell me the next time you head out west- we totally need to see a movie together!

    • shweta-ji,
      Consider it done! I’d love to catch a film with you and the west coast crew (cmleigh, theBollywoodFan, Annie John, etc. ). I get envious when I read you al tweeting up a storm over when you’ll meet for a film. Didn’t y’all see a movie recently? Was it Guzaarish? I used to be all into that east coast west coast beef, you know with Tupac and Biggie, but bygones. ;) Likewise if you ever make it to the lovely Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul I will take you to a filum and out for a peg of viskey! Abhay Deol is made for the big screen, he’s got a great face to watch, as does Mahi and Kalki, which in addition to their great acting, made Dev. D such a great watch. :)

  2. Wow, what a fun event! That’s so cool that you got to tell Anurag about your favorite scenes from Dev D.

    Nice job sipping the whiskey–I’d be too worried about accidentally passing along a cold! But it sounds like Anurag has survived the incident ;-)

    • dustdevil.liz-ji,

      It was really a great opportunity for me, especially since I wasn’t expecting to have such and opportunity!
      And as far as the whiskey goes, I don’t think any germs could be passed since the alcohol kills them all…right? OMG! I got hepatitis from him! I’m going to sue! Speaking of starry types, how is your year of Prakash Raj going, behen? I need to go check now!

      http://myyearofprakashraj.blogspot.com/

    • Nicki-ji!
      Shukriya dost, it was all thanks to you letting me know to attend. I’ve been slacking on blogging, but it’s really also a good thing, since I’m not cluttering up the world wide web. Does blogging leave a carbon imprint? I want to start a new blog with that title now! Does blogging leave a carbon imprint? If you hadn’t alerted my I would have missed the chance. Thanks again for alerting me. :)

  3. That sounds like such a great experience! Anurag sounds so down to earth and unpretentious about his film and that is hilarious that you tried to do a ‘pairi pauna’ with him! You are soo crazy!

    • Rum-ji!
      Oh thanks you ji for giving me the term ‘Pairi Pauna’ to add to my lexicon! I never knew what it was called. I steadily get my Pairi Pauna on when I see desis! But there are a few who DON’T try and say “Nahin, nahin, nahin,” most famously, Pitu Sultan! If we ever meet in person, look forward to that!

    • SVH-ji, :) I think we were lucky to get such a chance and I’m wondering if the event being so low key here helped facilitate that access. I’d think in India there would be too many handlers and fancy people around, and no room for commoners like me. ;)

  4. Fantastic post – what a great experience!
    I would love to be able to ask directors questions about their films, and am so jealous that you got the chance to chat to Anurag AND see his latest film :)
    We had a few directors here for the Indian Film Festival, but they all seemed to vanish very quickly, and I don’t remember them being around after the film at all :(
    I really must watch out for this film – I have been neglecting Hindi releases recently
    Too funny about the whiskey!

    • heatherwilson-ji,
      Thanks for stopping in to comment, and I’m glad you enjoyed the story. It was very wonderful to see the new film and to be chat with the director. I think the casual after party combined with the lack of security, and Kashyap’s possible jet lag that allowed such accessibility to the star director. Plus we’re not a fancy city like NYC, Toronto, or Melbourne, but have a quiet cosmopolitan flavor, without a side of pretense, so easy star access. ;) And speaking of Kashyap screenplays, I enjoyed your write up of Udaan, a movie I wasn’t familiar with but now want to see after reading your post on it. I’ll send him a link to this post sometime on Twitter, to confess my whiskey thieving.

    • dunkdaftji!
      Sorry so late in responding to you here. I have indeed watched parts of the Emotional Atyachar TV series, but not lately, though I enjoy the guilty pleasure of it. Our American version of the show is (was) called Cheaters. I had no idea this type of behavior went on in India until I saw the show. ;) I watched mostly season 1 with host, Angad Bedi, (twitter @Imangadbedi ) and wish he was still hosting the show.

  5. Aadaab Sita-ji! I just now read this post, and think it’s amazing that a tweet (from our very own Nicki, no less!) got you going, and so spontaneously too! Sounds like you had a great time. I’m going to have to agree with that scene in Dev.D, the song that plays with the opening credits is something else, too. And to answer your final question, all I have to say is if I had access to Tabu’s glass of whatever, I might’ve considered it. ;)

    Cheers!

    • theBollywoodFan-ji,
      I know, right!? Thank goodness for Nicki’s tweet for notifying me of the event, and thanks goes to you as well, for you were the one who convinced me to break down and twitter to begin with. Glad you shared a whiskey with Tabu! Wonderful! ;)

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