Director Neeraj Pandey, the man behind spy web series "Special Ops" and "The Freelancer", says he doesn't plan on having a crossover of these shows as he is not interested in doing something that has become a trend.
At the press conference of "The Freelancer: The Conclusion" on Wednesday, the director was asked if he would like to create a multiverse of his own with the stories of "Special Ops" and "The Freelancer", both streaming on Disney+ Hotstar.
"Nothing of that sort is going to happen (where we will see the crossover of 'Special Ops' and 'The Freelancer'," Pandey said in his response, adding these are two totally different franchises.
"Now that it (multiverse) has become a trend, we are bored of it. I'm not interested. If it was not a trend, we might have given this an idea. Since everybody is doing it, it is not for us anymore," he further said.
Pandey has created "The Freelancer", based on Shirish Thorat's book "A Ticket to Syria". The first four episodes of the thriller series, directed by Bhav Dhulia, premiered on September 1 on Disney+ Hotstar.
Also known for espionage action movies such as "A Wednesday", "Special 26", "Baby", and "Naam Shabana", Pandey said his motivation to make a movie has always been the story.
"It's a great story that draws you in. In this case ('The Freelancer'), I was happy that Bhav was excited by the idea of leading this one, putting this ensemble cast, and helping us in shaping this particular story.
"It starts and ends with a story. If the story is worth sharing with the audience, if you have faith in your audience, the audience will enjoy that ride. That's the biggest motivation," he said.
"The Freelancer" features Mohit Raina in the title character also known as Avinash, Anupam Kher as analyst Dr Khan, Kashmira Pardesi as Aliya, a young girl held against her will in a war-torn Syria. "The Freelancer: The Conclusion", consisting of final four episodes of the series, will start streaming on Disney+ Hotstar from December 15.
Kher, who has collaborated with Pandey on films such as "A Wednesday", "Baby", and "MS Dhoni: The Untold Story", said he is always excited about working with his frequent collaborator.
"Whenever I work with Neeraj, I surrender myself. Whatever he tells me I just do that. He makes my job easy. From 'A Wednesday' till now, we have had silent communication... I enjoy working with them, they are like family," he said.
Raina said he was happy to have got the opportunity to play an underdog character like Avinash Kamath.
"I was following Neeraj sir and Bhav's vision. The character sketch that he had in his mind, so on that basis we would daily explore things and every approach was different.
"There was no baggage but I enjoyed the journey. I've never played an underdog, who comes out of nowhere and becomes something else, and has a second life in place. It was an interesting arc for me," he added.
When asked to comment on themes of action and violence in films such as "Pathaan", "Jawan", "Tiger 3", and "Animal", Kher steered clear of sharing his views.
"I was told in my contract that I should talk only about 'The Freelancer'. I want to maintain that clause," he said.
Gaurav Banerjee, Head - Content, Disney+ Hotstar & HSM Entertainment Network, Disney Star, said they are looking forward to ending the year on a high note with the release of "The Freelancer: The Conclusion".
"Let's end 2023 with a big high. We have three shows that are really exciting, we have the third season of 'The Legend of Hanuman' in January. We have an interesting story with Raveena Tandon in the lead. It is exciting to partner with her for the first time. It should be a good show, it's a twist on the kind of stories that Star has told over two decades.
"We are collaborating with Karan Johar on a fiction series called 'Showtime'. It is set within the film industry. It is Karan Johar telling the story of nepotism and what nepotism can do to a film studio. That should be exciting. Then, we have Ram Madhvani ('Aarya') and Neeraj Pandey coming with other stuff," Banerjee said.
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