Mumbai: Director Neeraj Pandey, who has been behind spy thrillers like “Baby”, “Aiyaari” and “Naam Shabana”, believes there is an appetite for such films and shows as long as one does not repeat the story.
With “Special Ops”, Neeraj has ventured into the world of streaming and the director is happy with the response to his show on Hotstar.
“These are fantastic stories that entertain people. We got this story for another format and it has worked so fantastically here as well. That means there is an appetite for such stories from the audience and that is what encourages us. As long as we are not repeating, the genre doesn’t matter,” Neeraj told PTI in an interview.
“Ultimately, what you have made is for the audience, you look forward to their response. The icing on the cake is when they loved watching it as much as you loved making it. It is satisfying,” he said, adding, he doesn’t read reviews but there are certain people, whose opinion he values.
Streaming platforms have opened an entire world of possibilities for directors, believes Neeraj.
“The format is new… There are stories that are getting made. The field is wide open for anybody to come and make an impression. Something that is well made and well told will have an audience that is eager to see it.
“If you manage to deliver a narrative that holds them for seven hours convincingly and engagingly, they are happy and feel their time is well spent.
The eight-episode series is about the 19-year-long manhunt to nab the mastermind behind the 2001 Parliament bombings.
Neeraj, who has co-directed the show with Shivam Nair, said it was a challenge to sustain the attention of the audience for a story that takes place in a time period of 19 years.
Kay Kay Menon plays Himmat Singh, a senior analyst and logistics head at the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) in the show, which also mentions of Babri Masjid demolition, Muzaffarnagar riots , 26/11 terror attacks.
“I consciously chose this particular story for this format because it allowed me to set it over a fantastically long timeline and put certain milestones so that people could relate to the journey of Himmat Singh,” he said.
On a larger level, he said, the aim was to convey the story about a man, standing against all odds, not ready to give up in face of adversity.
“If you look at it closely more than it being a spy or espionage drama it is a human drama, about a guy, his tenacity. He is someone who doesn’t give up for 18 to 20 long years. It is a story about his belief and that is how I approached the material.
“People can relate to it be it man or woman that how at some point of a time they are standing against the odds with people not believing in what they have to say or feel and your journey in proving the world wrong.”
Neeraj has added a touch of humour to Himmat Singh, which he said, gave an interesting layer to the character.
“Maybe it is the sense of humour that has kept Himmat Singh going for those 19 or 20 years. Maybe a guy, who is dead serious all the time would have given up or broken down but it is his ability to see through things and understand life at some level in better manner, with a quirky side he takes things with a pinch of a salt.”
Usually, web shows have an open ending but Neeraj said he wanted this story to complete in the first season. If they take up the show again, there will be a fresh story to tell.
“I don’t know when season two is happening and how. If it happens it will be a new story. It’s just been eight to nine days the season one has come and we are waiting for the feedback and then we will re-group and think what to do with it.”
The Hotstar Special series, which opened on March 17, boast of an ensemble cast including Divya Dutta, Vinay Pathak, Karan Tacker, Sajjad Delafrooz, Sana Khaan, Saiyami Kher, Meher Vij, Vipul Gupta and Muzammil Ibrahim.