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Neeraj Pandey: 'OTT is the medium of the future'

The 50-year-old director's latest project is the second part of The Freelancer: The Conclusion, set to stream on Disney+ Hotstar from December 15

PTI Mumbai Published 14.12.23, 10:42 AM
Neeraj Pandey

Neeraj Pandey

Director Neeraj Pandey says streamers are the "medium of the future" as they allow directors to explore stories that don't fall under the traditional two-and-half hour narrative fit for feature films.

Known for films such as "A Wednesday", "Baby" and "Special 26", Pandey has been away from the big screen for some time now. His last theatrical release was Sidharth Malhotra and Manoj Bajpayee-starrer "Aiyaary" in 2018.

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In recent years, he has spearheaded espionage thriller web series "Special Ops" and "Special Ops 1.5: The Himmat Story" for Disney+ Hotstar. Pandey currently serves as a showrunner on "The Freelancer", another show for the streaming platform.

"This place (streamers) didn't exist before, it's a new medium. It is the medium of the future and you get a chance to talk about stories that normally you won't be able to fit in a two or two-and-half hour narrative.

"The idea was to explore those kinds of stories that would have longer narratives like that of seven or eight hours, and do justice to them. We felt that there are so many stories that you will never be able to make into films, and you can now chase them in this format," the filmmaker told PTI.

The viewing habits of the audience have evolved with time because of over-the-top (OTT) content, he said.

"The world has changed, the viewing habits have changed to a certain degree. What has not changed is the fact that you are always looking for a good story, and that a good story will always work," he added.

According to Pandey, the plot comes first regardless of the medium -- big screen or streamer.

"I've been fortunate enough that some of them (stories) have come my way. Some you chase, so it's a combination of both. It's a different process for different films. If it's an out-an-out fiction film, like in the case of 'Baby', it was a combination of both (reality and fiction)," he said.

His latest project is the second part of "The Freelancer". The first four episodes of the thriller series, directed by Bhav Dhulia, premiered on September 1 on Disney+ Hotstar. The second part, "The Freelancer: The Conclusion" will be out on December 15.

Pandey said one of his colleagues introduced him to Shirish Thorat's novel "A Ticket to Syria" and later Disney+ Hotstar came on board to adapt the book into a series.

"It was about four years ago that technically the journey started. That was also the time when we were coming out of lockdown. The whole season (of 'The Freelancer') was shot in one go. The decision to split in two parts was taken much later in post production," he added.

Mohit Raina, Kashmira Pardeshi, Anupam Kher, Sushant Singh, John Kokken, Gauri Balaji, Navneet Malik, Manjiri Faddnis, and Sarah Jane Dias also round out the cast of "The Freelancer".

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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