Outlaw Unleashed: Karan Anshuman
You are a screenwriter, director, and author. Which is the best role to be in?
An author’s journey is a lonely one. You’re writing in isolation for months on end, never certain whether the output is good or not, always second guessing the reader. But the joy is in creating worlds that are yours alone. On the other hand, screenwriting is more usually a collaborative, interactive process with gifted, individual minds. The best ideas always win, often after rounds of heated debates. Then there’s directing, the
most intense and dynamic of the three, which requires a completely different set of skills. It’s difficult to choose. I wouldn’t pick one over another. Often when you’re shooting you begin to miss the Zen of a writers’ room and sure enough, when you’ve had enough of that, you start missing the shoot life and want to get back on set.
To convey your stories, which medium do you think is simple or challenging, movies or streaming shows?
Both are challenging in their own way. On one hand in movies, you need to tell a story from start to end within two hours and keep your audience - who’ve come with certain expectations - engaged during the entire period. Add to that the box-office pressure. On the other hand, with streaming shows, you have the liberty to take your time to develop the world and the characters. I’d say shows are more demanding because you have to tell an 8-10 hour story - that’s like three films - in the same resources you’d have for one feature film. Plus the viewer has the option of opting out at their convenience. The pressure that comes with delivering multiple episodes season after season, in the most cinematic way possible is what makes it challenging and fun at the same time.
You have written Kashmirnama, a book showing the real side of Kashmir. How did the idea of writing on such a sensitive issue come about?
It’s interesting how people consider Kashmir as a ‘sensitive’ issue but aren’t aware of what the issue really is. Where did the problem start, is there a solution in sight, is Kashmir worth the cost we’re paying for? The book in the garb of a page-turner, a political thriller, cuts through the propaganda and uses facts to weave a fictional story. The intention is to entertain, but also to act as a primer for those who are not entirely aware of what the problem is.
What is your consciousness with regards to writing? What truly motivates you or attracts you to weave a story?
I believe people’s lives are the best source of stories, and I’m forever stealing snippets from their reality and looking to dramatise them in a context that is sociologically relevant.
How do you feel about your first series Inside Edge being nominated for Emmy Awards?
We were so overwhelmed, surprised and honoured that our show made it to an international awards platform. It’s still hard to believe that it all happened. Now we’re hoping for an encore.
What is next on your cards?
I’m hoping to make Kashmirnama, my book, into a series. It’s going to be one of those rare occasions where an author gets to direct his own work. It’s exciting times in the streaming space and I’m very excited to be a part of it.