Exclusive: 'KK Menon Was The Right Person To Lead Special OPS' — Neeraj Pandey

Shravan Shah , 02 Apr 2020
Neeraj Pandey; Kay Kay Menon as Himmat Singh in Special OPS (Source: Instagram | @kaykaymenon02)
Neeraj Pandey; Kay Kay Menon as Himmat Singh in Special OPS (Source: Instagram | @kaykaymenon02)

There something about Neeraj Pandey‘s cinema that manages to impress the audience. He is one of the filmmakers who knows what the audience likes. Right from A Wednesday to Special 26 and Baby, all his films have been cinematic wonders. If that wasn’t enough, he recently made his OTT directorial debut and boy, what an amazing one it was! His show, Special OPS released a few weeks ago and whoever I have spoken to lately are all praises for it. It keeps you on the edge of your seat and is every bit gritty.

Ask him whether was it always written for an OTT platform, and he said,

Yeah, absolutely. And I knew that this was a very long story so it can’t be contained in a two-hours narration. You have to decide very early on, as to which format is going to be suitable for the story. We stumbled upon this story and we thought that since its not just a big story but a long story, it made sense that we took that upon us to take it to a platform. This married very nicely and easily to the concept and there we were with it! That exactly how it happened.

What also manages to impress me is that every project that Neeraj makes, he makes sure that the casting is on the point. Every role in his project seems tailor-made for his actor.

Talking about it, he added,

I can’t take the whole credit for that because it is the function of the team of the casting director. And the team spend a lot of time over it. Like it was a 2 and a half month exercise for the casting of this series as well. Shubham was absolutely on that and we went through a very vigorous process. In fact, Karan (Tacker) was the last person to be finalised. We kept on meeting people, we kept on auditioning people. We just wanted to be very sure. And I think KK Menon was one of the first people to be with us on this project.

He further spoke about how he has known KK for the past 18 years and it is always a pleasure to work with him.

KK is someone I know since the past 18 years. He came with me on my first television project, it’s been so long. And its always a pleasure to work with him. Ever since then, we were looking for another great opportunity to work together. And he was the right person to lead this ensemble, a very exciting one. And I would like to say that he was the best option and it was fantastic to have him back.

When Baby had released, the audience loved Taapsee Pannu‘s cameo so much, that Neeraj went on to direct a spin-off starring the actress.

Do we expect the same with Special OPS, considering there are so many agents and he added,

Not thought about it but yes, the option for that is available. And that’s one thing common in both the formats. That’s one thing you’re right about and I ‘ll think about it cause its common between both the film and the series format. The idea was to bring out something unique for the audience. Then it depends upon how much love, support, and affection they give to the work and then we can finally take it up from there. Right now things are pretty stalled. Once we regroup after this then we will see what we can do about this one.

What also fascinates me about Pandey’s work is how most of his films have a real-life incidence involved in them and then the story kicks off from there. Not many filmmakers manage to do that and Neeraj, nails it every time.

I find that exciting, to ankle the story of a real incidence in the timeline of our lives. It’s always exciting for me. Then organically you give it some route, to begin with. That is a sort of good way for me to tell a story as a film. It gives a certain amount of believability to the entire thing. It’s easier for people to identify a milestone. There might be an incidenct, there might be a particular time in our history which would be a milestone. It becomes a very easy reference point.

Currently, the filmmaker is busy working on his next project Chanakya and I cannot wait to witness it already.

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