The Unreleased and The Unknown - Part 2 : Paanch

It is incorrect to club 'Paanch' in a group of little known movies, in fact it might be India's most famous unreleased film till now. However, for the benefit of those who think Anurag Kashyap came in to existence only after Dev D, here's a post celebrating that much watched film (thanks to youtube and file sharing networks) yet not released publicly (thanks to a bunch of old government types who may have never written a story in their life, but have the power of releasing/chopping up films).

There was a time when three of Anurag Kashyap's movies were completed/in the process of completing and none of them had a hope of getting released. Black Friday was able to hit theaters thanks to a court order, Gulaal (which was left in limbo because of AK's other films being unreleased) he was able to complete later thanks in part to Dev D. And Paanch, it is still unreleased. Here's a 10 year old interview of Anurag Kashyap in which he mentions the battles he was fighting at that time to get his film released, and why he was confident that he would be victorious.

His big FU to the censors of that time

The censor board said that they could not release a film which glorified violence, did not provide healthy entertainment, had no message, had no positive characters and thus was not fit to be released.

Pictured : Healthy Entertainment
Scores of hindi films literally glorify rape by making them into titillating scenes, but none of them face any trouble with getting through a censor board. Comedy films use double entendre and get away with it, I consider that to be more risque because it is going to be shown to little kids, I would rather have full blown gaali-galoch in an A rated movie than have Pungi in a 'family film'.

Paanch did not have 5 merciless cold killers, it had 5 conflicted characters who were at the end of the day trying to save their own skin. The dialogue was not heavily laced with swear words, it was in fact witty and realistic, and the film DID have a message, it was up to those who wanted to see it.

And yes, the film had violence, and yes they were an integral part of the story, of establishing Kay Kay Menon's character and his motives. But it did not elevate it, in fact the most violent scene of the movie is off-camera.

It was the story of a rock band, who accidentally turn to being criminals, it was inspired by an actual case, and it is indeed a horror story of the decisions that circumstances can force you to take. Although the movie is not just about that, it has an interesting thriller twist of its own in the end (which is not the same as a fat kid growing up to become Hrithik Roshan, still...)

Kay Kay Menon (that great actor) and AK have had a relationship almost like Scorsese and De Niro, Kay Kay was his first choice to play the role of 'K' in No Smoking, but the actor refused, because this was supposed to be the director's first out and out commercial film. Think of the possibilities, think of how different the treatment of the film would have been if we replace the overgrown face wash model who ultimately did the role with an actual actor.

Also, had Paanch been released, it would have saved Anurag Kashyap from writing atrocities like these

Although, for a director who is known for realism in his movies, he does not shoot the 'Rock Music' scenes in the movie well. The actors do not look as if they are actually playing a song, and the music too would have been better if Indian Ocean would have contributed (they collaborated with AK on Gulaal and Black Friday)

Do yourself a favour, if you are one of the few who have not seen this film. Go watch it. Now.


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