Filmmaker Neeraj Pandey says it’s not just the casting, but an entire series of right steps makes up for a good project.
Currently basking in the success of Special Ops series, starring Kay Kay Menon in the lead role, the filmmaker gets candid about his first digital show and his journey which lead him to discovering love for movies and varied stories.
When asked about casting plays a very important role in a successful project and his reasons for choosing veteran Kay Kay Menon for the of Himmat Singh in Special Ops, Neeraj said, “First and foremost I would like to correct you; it is a series of very important decisions that eventually lead up to any project. When we start scripting, it is said you finish the scripting and half your job is done. Then after you complete the script casting becomes essentially important”
“So are the various other steps in production and post production also. So everything is equally important. Not that any one aspect needs to stand out. It is a series of right steps that make up for a good project and yes casting at our end is directly handled by our team and we also work with a casting director. So due credit to them” added Neeraj.
Talking about casting Kay Kay Menon, he said, “Kay Kay was one of the first people that I had thought of when we were working on the project and I remember I met him when the scripting was still on. I know Kay Kay since so many years so there is a certain comfort and we can exchange views on any subject. And that’s what happened when he was on board we could virtually see him in the part and the other episodes were written keeping him in mind. As we went on to complete the writing. That’s how it worked out more because it sort of customised the whole strength. He is an extremely versatile writer”
Except one or two projects in his filmography, Neeraj is known for making espionage thrillers with a dash of patriotism. So we asked him what led him to venture into digital space.
Neeraj said, “I started out in television so I am comfortable with it. That has been my training ground. WE USED TO do one off’s in late 1990’s -2000. We used to do episodic series where we had the opportunity to explore very different type of material and I remember those days, television had good work. Now when web has come in to places, it has same chances that are being taken on a bigger scale. In terms of content same chances are being given. For me it was a pleasure, because it was a new format, it was an exciting format. All those stories that can be told which are over a certain threshold of time, which has a six seven hour narrative they automatically fit into the medium. And as a storyteller we should be prepared for stories of any length and duration. That should be our strength as an individual and as a company. You are watching content from all over the world and you can learn from there. The best part is you get so much of exposure.”
Talking about his Television work, Neeraj said, “It’s been so long. But I remember all these channels were coming up with stand alone band programming, episodic stories. Also two hours special, we used to think of that as an opportunity to do something as a film. Obviously it was confined to television only but we used to think whether we will get to make a film or not, we should do this as a film. While we were waiting to get to work in a film, this was as exciting and motivating for us. I have mentioned earlier television was my training ground. Whatever Ii could learn, mistakes I could made, has enabled me to become what I am today”.