After the success of Love per Square Foot, Anand Tiwari is back with yet another directorial, Bandish Bandits. The web series, which is streaming on Amazon Prime Video, stars Ritwik Bhowmik, Shreya Chaudhry, Naseeruddin Shah, Sheeba Chadda, Rajesh Tailang, Kunal Roy Kapur, Atul Kulkarni and others.
Bandish Bandits is a 10-part romantic-drama that follows the love story of Radhe (Ritwik Bhowmik) and Tamanna (Shreya Chaudhry), who hail from diverse musical backgrounds.
In an exclusive chat with indianexpress.com, actor-director Anand Tiwari talked about picking a story around music, casting for the show and roping in Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy.
Here are excerpts from the conversation:
Q. Why did you plan a show around music?
Amrit (Amritpal Singh Bindra, producer) and I have been making different kind of content for the past 5-6 years. When we looked at the content that is being created, there wasn’t something like Bandish Bandits. So we thought why not create something that deals with the youth of today trying to express through art. Music is the most transcending of art forms. Hence, the idea of Bandish Bandits came in. And what better way to summarise India than throwing in two forms of music that are popular – the traditional form and the pop.
Q. The series stars newbies like Ritwik-Shreya to some of the stalwarts of the industry. How did the casting happen?
We wanted absolutely fresh faces, who are capable of taking the weight of the show and a love story. After a long process of audition, Ritwik and Shreya were chosen. There is a sense that youngsters aren’t focused and don’t work hard. These two will prove everyone wrong. Also, we have some of the stalwarts of our industry. All of them came into the show because I think they liked the content and the fact that music is going to play an important role in the show. Lip-syncing wasn’t easy at all. Actors had to grab the sur, aalap, alankar and other elements of music.
Q. Bandish Bandits marks the digital debut of Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. How did they came onboard?
We couldn’t think of anyone else, who could’ve done something as magnanimous, as deeply traditional and as deeply today. They are like an ocean of knowledge as far as music is concerned. When we approached them, they were so moved by the piece. I don’t know if they knew what they were saying yes to, given the ridiculous amount of work they have put in (laughs). A lot of drama which deals with music was planned after our sessions with Shankar sir. He was able to give nuances of what happens in a studio when a song is created and what happens in a riaz session. So every musician will see those realities coming through and I hope they enjoy it as much as the general audience, which will be educated on how the greatest of pieces are created.
Q. How have you grown as a director after Bandish Bandits?
My understanding of direction has increased after Bandish Bandits. Also I directed something that was heavily written by someone else. That’s a new experience for me. That made me understand direction a lot more. Shooting something for this long with so many episodes was also new to me.
Q. You are an actor too. Does that make things easy when you are directing?
It definitely gets easier. I keep telling all actors that they should be a part of any production where they are not directing or acting and experience the set. Actors should also understand editing so that they understand what they are acting for. They have to understand camera too because lensing plays a huge role in your performance. Understanding psyche also helps. It gives you a sense of what this actor might be going through when they are appearing to be nervous or not getting something.
Q. From being an assistant director on Barfi to directing your own projects, how has the journey been?
I don’t plan too much. I only roughly know what I want to do as my current project or next project. I became an actor by accident. I was doing theatre, but I always wanted to be a filmmaker. I thought if I keep acting, I will be able around directors and learn from them. But I lucked out that I found Anurag Basu. So every director that I worked with after that, be it Vikramaditya Motwane, Raj and DK or Dibakar Banerjee, I was able to fully become their assistant on the days I wasn’t acting. I was in their meetings. I was with them during pre-production, I was watching them direct other actors. That became my schooling. So every project I get to direct, I learn.
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