After writing a television serial, Kashyap got his major break as a co-writer in Ram Gopal Varma's crime drama Satya (1998), and made his directorial debut with Paanch, which never had a theatrical release due to censorship issues. He then went on to direct Black Friday (2007), a film based on the book by Hussain Zaidi about the 1993 Bombay bombings. Its release was held up for two years by the Central Board of Film Certification because of the pending verdict of the case at that time, but was released in 2007 to widespread critical appreciation. Kashyap's followup, No Smoking (2007) met with negative reviews and performed poorly at the box-office. His next venture Dev.D (2009), a modern adaptation of Devdas was a critical and commercial success; followed by the political drama Gulaal (2009), and the thriller That Girl in Yellow Boots (2011).
Apart from filmmaking, Kashyap serves as the Member of board of the Mumbai-based NGO, Aangan, which helps protect vulnerable children around India. He was the co-founder of two film production companies: Anurag Kashyap Films and Phantom Films.