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A note from the editor: The legacy of Wasseypur

In an era when content is forgotten or feels dated within weeks, stories that endure are rare

A still from ‘Gangs Of Wasseypur’
A still from ‘Gangs Of Wasseypur’

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This week we pay tribute to two iconic works that turn 10 this year, and seem just as relevant today as they did when we first encountered them. Our cover story looks back at Anurag Kashyap’s Gangs Of Wasseypur, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2012 and went on to become the Hindi film of the decade. 

It arrived at a time when Hindi audiences had become used to slick films set in an aspirational, urban India—or even better, among the rich diaspora of New York, London or Sydney—with characters who lived the kind of life few in India could ever imagine. The rough, matter-of-fact, wisecracking characters of Gangs Of Wasseypur also defied imagination for many—but, at some level, their cadences and earthiness seemed to strike a chord.

It’s the only explanation for the string of imitators that have followed. Kashyap, however, tells Lounge that he doesn’t want to make gangster films any more. Whatever his feelings about it, the film’s influence has continued into this decade too. Shows like Mirzapur and films like the recent K.G.F: Chapter 2 clearly borrow from Wasseypur even if they do not match its style and power, as one of our reports observes. 

In an era when content is forgotten or feels dated within weeks, stories that endure and offer new meaning with every visit are rare. A similar work, which also turns 10 this year, and takes the focus away from the façade of the city is Katherine Boo’s Behind The Beautiful Forevers. The dilemmas and struggles of its protagonists seem just as real today, when ambition remains unfulfilled and inequity is rising, as our piece on the book notes.

Going back in time and yet finding a link to the present is also the inadvertent theme of other articles in the issue: One writer recalls the stories behind his many recipes, while another explores the family recipes of Lucknowi home cooks. We also meet 1970s star Neetu Kapoor, who tells Lounge that she didn’t set out to be a style icon when she got on to social media nearly a decade ago—at 63, as she awaits the release of her comeback film Jug Jugg Jeeyo next month, being an influencer is just a bonus.

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