The two Wasseypurs have been Anurag Kashyap’s biggest outings so far. In his own words, they are “three times bigger” than his first hit, Dev.D. With Salman ‘Bhai’ Khan roaring at the ticket windows with a 3,200 print run of Ek Tha Tiger, Anurag’s box office potential would obviously appear minuscule by comparison.
Gangs of Wasseypur 1 is poised to make Rs 28 crore net while GOW 2 had touched Rs 16.50 crore net in the first week of its release, according to boxofficeindia.com. With a combined production cost of Rs 18.40 crore and total cost of Rs 30 crore, including marketing, the Wasseypurs seem set to be modest earners for the distributors. Anurag reels off figures: Rs 10 cr from satellite rights, Rs 1.5 cr from music and another Rs 40 cr from theatricals to recover. It’s the kind of money that in the times of Rs 100-crore blockbusters hardnosed trade guys would dismiss as ‘chillar’. But it’s still big for the kind of cinema Anurag represents.
More importantly, they have managed to give Brand Anurag a major leg-up. With two production banners—AKFPL and Phantom Films—under him, Anurag is a studio in himself and getting to be known as the ‘Yashraj of small films’. No wonder the office is buzzing. “But we live from day to day when it comes to money,” says Anurag. His business logic is simple: a film may not be a blockbuster but it should be “risk-sustainable”. It should recover money, no one should make losses. “We work backwards, figure out the potential of the film and budget it accordingly,” he says. When it comes to financing, the route is co-productions, both national as well as international.
The international bit is showing. AKFPL co-produced Trishna, directed by Michael Winterbottom of Welcome to Sarajevo and In This World fame. Projects under works include No Man’s Land director Danis Tanovic’s next film. There’s plenty to expect from his stable in the next two years, more than YRF or Vishesh Films could churn out.