Neeraj Pandey: Good shows don’t work by picking up elements from here and there

 

New Delhi, Nov 21:  Film director, producer, and screenwriter Neeraj Pandey opens up about his upcoming series ‘Khakee: The Bihar Chapter’ and why he opted for the particular story from Bihar which revolves around the 2004 clash between IPS officer Amit Lodha and a local mafia, Chandan.

He said: “When I met Amit for the first time, I found it incredible that there was an IITian who wanted to appear for the UPSC, cracked it, and then chose IPS. He was originally from Rajasthan but was given Bihar cadre. He landed in Patna and was a fish out of water. His entire journey, which started in Patna, and his face-off with this criminal is the core of the story.”

“This is a story that is very odd because this is a guy who is an outsider but has to fight against something which is very local and strong. When we got involved with the writing of the show, we understood that the tone of the show needed to be very interesting and must have had a lot of wit and humour. There are a lot of relief moments in this gritty cop drama. It’s not bland. There’s a lot of peeping into the world of Bihar. You get glimpses of what happens in trains, police stations, and a village. The show probably takes you to the heartland and you get to meet the people of that world,” said Neeraj.

Neeraj made his directorial debut with ‘A Wednesday’, and later also received a lot of positive responses for ‘Special 26’, ‘Baby’, ‘M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story’ and he also directed the web series ‘Special Ops’.

Created by Neeraj, and directed by Bhav Dhulia, ‘Khakee: The Bihar Chapter’ is based on Amit Lodha’s book ‘Bihar Diaries’.

It is seen whenever we speak about Bihar and UP, the ‘Bahubali’ comes to mind. When asked, do they have a connection with the people and do they have an extreme influence in these areas and that is why they get prominence in web series, TV shows or films, Neeraj replies that his perception behind making the series was not exactly the same.

“We did not have this approach at all. The book is the primary source in this case. So, we were very clear that elements from the book were going to be in the show and, elements that Amit couldn’t put in the book but had confided in us were going to form the core of the show. We don’t believe that customisation of this nature helps. Good shows don’t work by picking up elements from here and there. We have to stay true to the story, characters, and place of the story.”

The series features Karan Tacker, Avinash Tiwary, Ashutosh Rana, Jatin Sarna, Nikita Dutta, Ravi Kishan, Abhimanyu Singh, Anup Soni, Aishwarya Sushmita, Shraddha Das, and Vinay Pathak.

Neeraj further shared with IANS how the casting happened and said: “The script got locked. Generally, the process is that the casting director goes ahead and makes a PPT of who he thinks would be the right choice. So, Bhav (Dhulia) sat on this and gave his input. The best thing was that we got our first preferences in the ensemble. It’s a very exciting ensemble from two points of view. The first thing is that people from that part of the world are in the show. That takes care of a lot of issues as to the integrity of the show.”

“The second thing is the dialect, the voice of the show is completely rooted in that part of the world. This solves half of your problems when you are trying to tell this kind of story,” he concluded.

‘Khakee : The Bihar Chapter’ will be streaming on Netflix from November 25.

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