Filmmaker Anurag Basu is known for his marvelous ability to be able to infuse creativity and artistic beauty in the fabric of his works. Indulging himself in directing the cinematographical masterpiece Barfi! last year, he ranks as one of the most celebrated film makers in Bollywood presently. Still reveling in the beauty and brilliance of Barfi!, Anurag Basu began his work with television. In a recent interview on the eve of Indian Telly Awards, Anurag Basu proclaimed how he misses working for television, which he evidently finds a tougher job than films. As the maverick celebrates his birthday today, Koimoi traces the man’s staggering beginnings before his advent into Bollywood.
We are quite ignorant when we complain Indian television has never seen anything like the Carrie Bradshaw’s Sex and The City Series. Way back in 1993, Indian television saw this brilliant show Tara that still stands as one of the longest running shows ever. Running with brilliant TRPs for almost 5 years, the show showed the urban lives of contemporary urban women Tara, Kanchan, Arzoo and Sheena. Though the show was majorly directed by Raman Kumar, Anurag served as his assistant learning his first lessons there. Later he went on to direct almost 70 episodes of the show single handedly. Earning his early first experiences at the pitfalls of direction and taste of true success, Tara fortified the conviction of this Physics graduate to pursue his dream of making films.
Koshish… Ek Aashaa (2000-2002)
Ekta Kapoor perhaps began her K phenomenon with his spectacular serial. Well plotted concretely in a strong script, the story traversed through the life of its protagonist Kajal, married to the mentally challenged man Neeraj with utmost grace, patience and dignity. Sandhya Mridul, who played Kajal, exhibited her prowess in that author backed role while Varun Badola as Neeraj gave a first rate act. The serial was created so delicately by Basu that it went on to win him his first few Awards as the best serial. His strength as a director was elaborated upon with this spruce work of his.
Manzilein Apani Apani (2001)
Directing his first serial for his own production house, this one was a huge step for Anurag Basu. His first baby steps into solo direction went a little aimless as his emotional story was lost in the maze of script’s anarchy. The serial perhaps taught the director how to maintain a story’s lucidity. It is quintessential to maintain a story’s rhythm which luckily hasn’t been an allegation on him ever since.
Later made into a more popular Bengali film by popular director Rituporno Ghosh, this serial was perhaps the first instance of a contemporary translation of Rabindranath Tagore’s story Noukadubi. Making a serial based on it, Anurag Basu’s serial Miit was carved skillfully that metaphorically views the emotional complexity of mistaken identities and how fate plays a major role in what life becomes for us.
Love Story (2007-2008)
Soon after working on his film Life In A Metro, Anurag Basu returned to television with Love Story. Set against the backdrop of Delhi University politics, the story was tender tale of warm romance and love between two college goers. With the characters of Akash and Shruti, discerning wonderfully, the serial was hugely popular for its youthful and realistic flavor and thrilling plot line. In my opinion this serial still ranks as one of Basu’s better works which remains unhindered by commercialism.
Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, Kasauti Zindagi Ki and Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki
Anurag Basu, who has worked closely with Ekta Kapoor during his television days, has also directed the pilot episodes of three of her most popular and long running television soaps, Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki and Kasautii Zindagii Kay which still remain the three iconic names of Indian soap opera history.
The man, whose last film left a mesmerizing impact on everyone, is a product of mainstream Indian television. Though his films speak eloquently of the multitude of his repertoire, it is television where his real talent began. It would be an easier task to remember his brilliantly done work by breezing through the variety of genres his films hint through. However, television instilled a more impressionable mark on the man’s career which built the base for such experimental movies to materialize.
Here’s Koimoi wishing Anurag Basu a very happy Birthday!