Meet the showman behind the latest web series Mirzapur
Karan Anshuman, who debuted as a director with his first feature film Bangistan (2015) starring Riteish Deshmukh and Pulkit Samrat, may not have hit the jackpot at the box office, but his recent work has surely put him on the world map.
Karan’s Indian-American web series for Amazon Prime, Inside Edge, bagged a nomination in the Best Drama category at the international Emmy Awards. Now, the filmmaker’s latest show, Mirzapur has been receiving rave reviews for its thrilling storyline and exceptional acting. Starring Pankaj Tripathi, Ali Fazal, Vikrant Massey, Shwetha Tripathi, Rasika Duggal, and Shriya Pilagaonkar among others, Mirzapur has certainly made a mark. Talking about his cast, Karan says, “We wanted really good actors for this story. Their off-screen personas were secondary. What we were looking for was, if they could pull this off. This is a lot more demanding than films. They really had to be good with their craft.”
Pankaj, Ali and Vikrant star in the lead, and all of them have portrayed characters that are quite different from the usual roles they play. “Pankaj is known for his comic timing but we knew he could play the role of a gangster with equal ease. Ali has mostly done chocolate boy roles and very subdued characters. In this he has gone all out. It was a bit of a gamble. But at the same time I knew they were good actors. The same goes for the women as well. Shriya is starting to get her due now, for the feisty character that she has portrayed,” says Karan.
What’s quite interesting to note about Karan, who is an admirer of the American filmmaker Stanley Kubrick, is the fact that he effortlessly manages to tell stories in different genres. Inside Edge was an urbane thriller, while Mirzapur is an out-an-out small town gangster story. When asked how he manages to be so versatile, the filmmaker says, “It’s not about versatility, it’s about having enough experience and having met enough people to explore different stories.”
This experience of his reflects in Mirzapur. Shot during peak summer in Benaras, Mirzapur and the surrounding areas, the series captures the rustic India story perfectly for the global audience. Karan is now working on adapting his book Kashmirnama to a web series.