Neeraj Pandey is one director who can become the sole reason to watch a film. This is because he has helmed some of the most successful, hard-hitting content driven movies seen in recent times, including his directorials – A Wednesday, Special 26, Baby and MS Dhoni. Now, the maverick filmmaker is ready with his latest – Aiyaary. The Manoj Bajpayee-Sidharth Malhotra starrer releases this weekend, after getting postponed several times. Ask him about the film’s journey from being a Republic Day release to a Valentine’s weekend, and he says, “It changes a lot of things. Apart from the logistics, the actors have to find out time from other projects they are doing and come together (for promotions). Good thing however is we are all still smiling and equally motivated than what we were three weeks back. We are very eager to find what the audience feels about the film. I’m looking forward to their response.”
Neeraj was recently in New Delhi for his film’s promotions, along with Manoj, Sidharth and leading lady Rakul Preet Singh. In an exclusive chat with indianexpress.com, Neeraj told us why he brought together these actors in Aiyaary. “First and foremost, the requirements of the character in the script prompts you to take a call on the casting. We were looking for a Colonel so automatically Manoj Bajpayee was the right choice for that. For a young Major who would look both vulnerable as well as tough, Sidharth fitted that profile. I was looking for a girl who could play an IT hacker, immediately Rakul came to my mind. It wasn’t too complicated actually. It was the easiest casting,” Neeraj said.
Aiyaary is the story that revolves around army men, mainly a mentor and a protege, who have a fall out after the latter discovers flaws in the system. As per reports, the film takes cues from the Adarsh Housing Society scam. It also stars Naseeruddin Shah, Anupam Kher, Adil Hussain, Kumud Mishra and Vikram Gokhale.
Those who follow Neeraj’s style of storytelling will know how his films take real life inspiration or are a slice-of-life. He revealed his inspiration behind Aiyaary too. “Again reality of what’s going around and awareness of the fact that someone needs to talk about these things – that being the underlying reason. Also it was a fantastic story. Once you see the film, you’ll agree that something like this has never been spoken about in this format. So, that was the temptation to address a story like this,” he shared.
Neeraj made us realise that the power lies in the hands of a common man in A Wednesday. He went on to give us splashes of similar stuff in his subsequent films too. So will the common man play an uncommon role even in Aiyaary? “He is going to be a little more explosive than the last time around – the common man, that we are talking about. I feel it is necessary to voice these incidents and these stories. It is extremely important for us as storytellers to come up with these certain stories. And that’s why I think it is a very relevant film,” Neeraj said.
Aiyaary releases on February 16.