<br>"It all starts with a good idea," said Shital Bhatia, who has produced films like ‘Special 26’, ‘A Wednesday’, ‘Aiyaary’, ‘Naam Shabana’ and ‘Baby’ to name a few along with his long time associate – filmmaker-producer Neeraj Pandey. The two churned out 5 successful releases this year in the form of ‘Special OPS 1.5’, ‘Kaun Pravin Tambe’, ‘Secret of the Kohinoor’, ‘Bandon Mein Tha Dum’ and the more recent Netflix original ‘Khakhee – The Bihar Chapter’.
While a majority of their successes stem from pacey thrillers, comedy or sports drama, for them, it’s important to "chase the right story".
Neeraj told Ajit Weekly News: "We first narrow down to a good idea and a story. It begins with a good idea then the story comes into existence and then we kind of work our way around with the different genres. We have chased a lot of stories from different genres, even the ones you mentioned but they somehow didn’t work out".
The duo have known each other for over two decades now, 23 years to be precise, and the one thing that binds them and their ventures together – Friday Storytellers, which caters to the OTT, Friday Filmworks which is in film production and the self-explanatory Bootroom sports, is good storytelling at its heart.
Shital has pursued designing as professional and it "greatly helps" him in setting the tone for the overall look and feel of a project since his inputs as a design professional also seep into the construction of a project but for majority of time, he leaves it to the experts in the crew since they are a bit more well-versed with the new developments in the field of design be it costume, set design or the graphics.
"My knowledge of the design proves to be beneficial in a lot of ways for a project. In our system it’s imperative for everyone to chip in. After all, filmmaking is a collaborative process," Shital added.
National Award winning actor Manoj Bajpayee has been their frequent collaborator. Ask Neeraj about his creative partnership with the actor that has led to projects like ‘Special 26’, ‘Naam Shabana’, ‘Aiyaary’ and several others, he said: "Manoj is a good artiste to begin with. I admired him as an actor and eventually we ended up meeting for work," the film turned out to be ‘Special 26’ and "there has been no looking back since then."
He further said: "He gets me easily and I also find it comfortable to work with him, you can say we share a common creative wavelength. That saves a lot of time".
As Harvey Keitel said in ‘Pulp Fiction’, "Time is a factor" and it holds true for a film set in India which can be best defined as an organised chaos.
With the constant developments in the field of technology, the landscape of content is bound to change but how will it change? Shital has an answer: "The reach will further increase with broader Internet spectrum. The declining prices of smartphones will take content to places never imagined before. Things change every 200 kilometres in India, I feel that there will be enough (content) for everybody."
Neeraj added: "Also, I feel that the audience wants to see something new and what better example than a film like ‘Kantara’. It’s our duty as creators to make something new for the audience."
And rightly so, since experimentation not just keeps the economy of the industry well-oiled, but also opens up newer avenues for creators and pushes them to make brave choices.
–Ajit Weekly News<br>aa/kvd
News Credits – I A N S