A hit didn't make me crazy, why would a flop make me sad: Neeraj Pandey

Justin Rao

Mumbai, Mar 1 (PTI) Filmmaker Neeraj Pandey says the awareness of shortcomings in all his movies, whether they shatter the box office or not, has helped him stay grounded.

After a string of consecutive hits such as 'A Wednesday', 'Special 26', 'Baby' and 'MS Dhoni: The Untold Story', Neeraj's last film, 'Aiyaary', failed to click with the audience.

There is learning, he said, with every film and the takeaways don't depend on the numbers.

A hit didn't make me crazy, so why would a flop make me sad? In spite of all my hit films that you'd remember, all these films have tremendous shortcomings. They worked at the box office, no one talks about it but the shortcomings have stayed with me.

'Similarly when a film like 'Aiyaary' doesn't work, the shortcomings stay with me. I have to live with it, learn and try not to repeat the same mistakes,' Neeraj told PTI in an interview.

The director, who has been in the film industry for over a decade, said once he is on set, he is doesn't ride on overconfidence.

'If you embrace one simple fact that you're learning on the job, you're sorted. There's no end to learning, whether it's technologically, collaborating with people or experience. I would like to believe that a reasonable amount of confidence is good. Overconfidence would be the end of it.' Neeraj, 46, is now gearing up to make his digital debut with 'Special Ops', a series which chronicles terror attacks the country has faced based on a fictitious story.

Barring 'MS Dhoni', all of Neeraj's directorial work has been set against the backdrop of the country or the 'system', chronicled in the form of a thriller.

The director said it was because he can't think of a story that is 'outside our lives'.

'Unless one is dabbling in a different genre altogether,' he added.

'These stories work for me because they're rooted in our lives. It can happen to you, me, or anyone, so there is a tremendous sense of catharsis and reliability. That gives me the impetus to tell that story. A lot of believability is inherent in these stories which drives me.' The Hotstar Special revolves around a manhunt for a fictitious terrorist mastermind responsible for carrying out multiple terror attacks, from the one on Parliament in 2001 to 26/11 strikes in 2008 Mumbai.

The filmmaker said though the digital medium gives one the space to explore all kinds of ideas, the team was conscious not to compromise on quality.

'This has became a homecoming for us because we came from television, then the whole scenario there changed in the early 2000s. With the digital platforms coming in, we were looking for an opportunity to tell the right story. What we learnt was every story demands a certain platform.

'You can't be like, 'we have a pending film story which hasn't been made so let's go digital with it'. That would've been the wrong mindset. With this collaboration, we got an opportunity to tell this big, long story this way. We are truly excited,' he added.

The action-packed spy thriller series, which Neeraj has co-directed with Shivam Nair, is mounted on international scale.

'Special Ops', featuring Kay Kay Menon, Karan Tacker, Divya Dutta, Saiyami Kher and Vinay Pathak, among others, will start streaming from March 17. PTI JUR RDS RDS