"I offer a balanced narrative. If there's a great story, I don’t shy away from any genre," says filmmaker Neeraj Pandey on his debut web series Special Ops
Twelve countries, five agents and a 19-year-old search for the sixth terrorist involved in the 2001 Parliament Attack — this is the premise of filmmaker Neeraj Pandey’s debut web series Special Ops. A Hotstar Specials show, the thriller went on air earlier this week and has garnered some rave reviews. Neeraj who is known for scripting and directing films like A Wednesday, Baby and Naam Shabana, says Special Ops was best suited for the OTT platform.
“We often face a challenge when we know that certain content is not meant for feature films and Special Ops was one such case,” says the director. The series follows Himmat Singh, an officer at the Research and Analysis Wing who has been investigating the 2001 Parliament Attack and is convinced that there was a sixth person involved — a mastermind who has been controlling every move. Talking about pre-production research, Neeraj says, “It’s always a challenge to research such subjects. What appears in the newspapers is very little. When we started looking up we delved deeper, and organically found a lot of things to include in the narrative. Nothing (in the script) changed on sets, but only towards the completion of the shoot, new updates were reported on the 2001 attack.”
Shivam Nair, director of Naam Shabana, has co-directed Special Ops. This is the second time he has collaborated with Neeraj. “I like his (Neeraj) writing, his visualisation, concept and understanding of characters. He really gets deep into his characters, and that’s what makes them memorable,” says Shivam.
Audiences who have follow Neeraj’s work closely, say the filmmaker tends to focus on subjects like terrorism and espionage, but the Neeraj refutes, “I have made films in different genres, but people box them in a category. I keep correcting them, I try new subjects always, and offer a balanced narrative. If there’s a great story to be told, then I don’t shy away from any genre.”
The filmmaker is currently busy with reading up and finding authentic records about Chanakya, the subject of his next film. “It seems like a lot of text is available on Chanakya but honestly it’s a lot of myths. There are just a few accurate texts available. So it’s quite an exhaustive but exciting process we are going through,” he signs off.