Mirzapur is an upcoming Hindi crime thriller which will be available on Amazon Prime Video from November 16. Created and directed by Karan Anshuman and Gurmmeet Singh, it will take you to the world of crime which is camouflaged by a large scale carpet manufacturing. The series stars Pankaj Tripathi, Shweta Tripathi, Vikrant Massey, Shriya Pilgaonkar, Rasika Dugal, Harshita Gaur, Divyendu Sharma and Kulbhushan.
Karan and Gurmmeet share with Sakal Times how the lanes of Varanasi inspired them to create Mirzapur. Excerpts:
How did you conceive Mirzapur?
- Karan: I was in Varanasi, working on a project. One day, I was just standing in one of the local areas and I saw two young boys riding on a bike with guns in their hands moving in the narrow lanes of Varanasi. And as they were riding through these lanes, people bowed down to them. That moment intrigued me. I went around and enquired about these lads. Apparently they were a part of a group headed by a local gangster. Initially, he was a good guy with a good family background but with time, he turned to crime. I felt there was a story in there, so we started working on it and I started writing. I had to create a bigger world of crime of gangsters and mafias. So in a year’s time, I finished it and hence Mirzapur was conceived.
Gurmmeet, how did Mirzapur come to you?
- Gurmmeet: I have known Karan since last 17 years. We had worked together for Inside Edge, prior to this. I was the co-producer for Inside Edge as well and I was fortunate enough to be able to shoot some part of the series, especially the cricket part. So creatively Karan and I get along well. After discussing about the show, we all decided that I will be to handle the show and that’s how organically we moved from Inside Edge to Mirzapur and that’s how Mirzapur arrived in my lap.
You have directed films before, but this is your directorial debut for the web. How was the experience? Also how is working on a movie different from working for web?
- Gurmmeet: It was a great experience, in every way. I learnt a lot and at the same time we had a lot of fun. I am very proud of the way everyone contributed. Directing a series, at an execution level, is a lot tougher. For films, you shoot about 2 to 2.5 minutes of scene a day whereas for a series, shooting a 5 minutes scene takes more than a day. And you have to maintain the same quality. The material of the series is more complicated. For a show like Mirzapur, which is very layered and has complex characters, complex situations and a lot of action and detailing, it was extremely challenging yet fun. The creators actually made my job easier, because the content was rich and it was a pleasure to work with the fine actors. I am extremely happy with the kind of response Mirzapur is receiving globally. Some really fine directors have seen and loved it. So it feels very fulfilling that all the hard work has paid off.
Why did you pick Mirzapur over other dark adn disputed places?
- Karan: When we were researching and travelling all around Uttar Pradesh, I found out that Mirzapur is a huge exporter and manufacturer of carpets. So we decided to use this as part of the story. If you see the character of Pankaj Tripathi, who is called Kaalin Bhaiya, owns a carpet factory. In daylight, the factory makes carpets but once it’s dark, all sorts of illegal and dangerous activities happen in same premises. What attracted me to Mirzapur is the whole atmosphere and the aesthetics of the place. The colours, carpets etc make it extremely interesting visually, and also sets it apart from other generic small towns of Uttar pradesh.
Do you think there is a specific character in Mirzapur which the audience should look forward to?
- Karan: No, I think every single character has a critical part to play. As a viewer, whoever you are, you will find someone or the other who you will relate to or will form a connection with while watching this film. It will not be fair if I tell you that you should look forward to any one character.
How was the experience of working with such a brilliant cast including Pankaj Tripathi, Ali Fazal and Shweta Tripathi?
- Gurmmeet: Each one is better than the other. We all bonded very well. Everyone gave their best which made me give my best. It was pleasure watching them do their craft with finesse and precision. Their dedication shows on screen. They don’t have tantrums or any sort of excuses.