Anurag Kashyap Reflects on Dev D Controversy and Characters: “The Problem Isn’t With the Character; It’s With You”

Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap addresses Abhay Deol’s criticisms and explores the complexities of character portrayal in cinema

Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap recently responded to actor Abhay Deol’s critical remarks about their film *Dev D* and admitted that the protagonist of the film was a toxic misogynist. Abhay Deol, who has repeatedly claimed that Anurag hijacked his vision for the film, had previously accused Anurag of glorifying the titular character. In a candid interview, Anurag commented on the modern audience’s tendency to be overly ‘woke’ and emphasized the need for introspection when it comes to redeeming flawed characters.

Addressing Abhay’s comments, Anurag stated, “I have always done what I wanted to do and what I have observed. I strive for realism in my films. I don’t believe in adding unnecessary redeeming qualities to a character just because…” He elaborated that he often ‘tests’ the audience’s morality through his films. Referring to his upcoming thriller *Kennedy*, he said, “In *Kennedy*, when people sympathize with the psychopath character, I’m challenging them to question themselves. You see one redeeming quality and suddenly think, ‘Bechara’.”

Anurag continued, “The issue isn’t with the character; the bigger issue is with you. Reflect on why you enjoy watching such behavior. Reflect on why you cheer for certain actions despite feeling uncomfortable about others. Those who point fingers should look inward. That’s how I challenge the audience. Many filmmakers here are so dishonest; they fail to create grounded films and sometimes don’t even know if they’re making Indian films…”

A few years ago, Abhay shared a social media post expressing his long struggle to find someone to direct *Dev D*, a modern take on the classic novel *Devdas*. He mentioned that he wanted the female characters to be more empowered and preferred a different ending from what Anurag chose. “In my version, Dev gets shot by the police (he becomes a drug dealer) outside Paro’s house and dies, similar to the book. Chanda doesn’t fall in love with him and isn’t ashamed of being an East European high-class escort. She’s the strongest character, unafraid of judgment. She empathizes with Dev, seeing his broken state, and I embraced the ‘prostitute with a heart of gold’ theme from the book,” he explained.

He added, “Anurag believed a happy ending would make the film more acceptable to the audience, and his twist was to have Dev and Chanda fall in love. My vision was too dark! I went with the flow…” Since *Dev D*’s release in 2009, both Anurag and Abhay have taken occasional jabs at each other. Recently, Anurag mentioned in an interview that he reached out to Abhay to clear the air and congratulated him on his performance in the Netflix series *Trial by Fire*.

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