Neeraj Pandey: Idea stayed with me for almost five years
Director Neeraj Pandey, who makes his digital debut with Special Ops, on how the concept of the espionage thriller struck him during the making of Baby.
Adept at creating espionage thrillers, Neeraj Pandey has turned to the digital medium to tell his latest story, Special Ops, which revolves around the Indian intelligence service's 19-year manhunt for a dreaded terrorist. He may have woven fiction with real-life incidents, such as the 2001 Parliament attacks and the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, but the director agrees that developing such material demands exhaustive research.
Pandey says he has spent the last five years with the concept that struck him during the making of Akshay Kumar-starrer Baby (2015). "I stumbled on this incident [lesser known facts about the 2001 Parliament attack] during the filming of Baby. I couldn't do anything with the research material at that point of time as we didn't need it [for the script of Baby]. But it stayed with me. Later, when we were planning [a web series centred on it], it all came back. The research took a long time, and once we had fixed the format, it took about four to six months to film it," he shares.
Director Neeraj Pandey
The eight-part series is fronted by Kay Kay Menon, whose character Himmat Singh is in hot pursuit of a terrorist, who is the mastermind behind several attacks in India. While the thriller has a glorious ensemble cast, Pandey asserts that he couldn't imagine the story without Menon taking centre-stage. "Kay Kay was the only choice; we didn't have to look beyond him. Several incidents [terrorist attacks] are merely touch-points and political milestones that exist in the recent history of our country. There is a pattern behind everything that occurs and RAW officer Himmat Singh tries to connect the dots."
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