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Friday, January 15, 2021

Tandav director Ali Abbas Zafar: You are more fearless working on web

Tandav, starring Saif Ali Khan, Dimple Kapadia, Sunil Grover, Mohammad Zeeshan Ayyub and others, will begin streaming on Amazon Prime Video from January 15.

Written by Priyanka Sharma | Mumbai | Updated: January 6, 2021 5:51:02 pm
tandav trailer saif ali khan ali abbas zafar amazon prime videoAli Abbas Zafar makes his digital debut with Tandav. (Photo: Ali Abbas Zafar/Instagram, Amazon Prime Video)

Creating the upcoming political drama Tandav reminded director Ali Abbas Zafar of the fearless artiste that he was during his theatre days in college.

Zafar, who has helmed blockbusters like Sultan and Tiger Zinda Hai, is making his digital debut with the Saif Ali Khan-led Amazon Prime Video original Tandav. At the trailer launch of Tandav, Ali spoke about the liberation he experienced while telling the story on a digital platform.

“Web is a very liberating space for any filmmaker or storyteller. When you make a film for cinema, you have to tell a story in two hours. And, box office decides whether you have made a good or a bad film. You are more fearless when you work on web,” he said.

 

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The director mentioned that he was happy to let go of the mammoth box-office pressure that otherwise chases him courtesy his long-standing association with superstar Salman Khan.

“My last three film have been with Salman Khan, and with that, box office sits like a baggage on your shoulder. I have been saying this to myself and my close friends that, when I used to do theatre in college, I would be very happy working on the stage because I was working without any fear and I felt the same while working on Tandav. I felt this is something very honest and true to me.”

Tandav, as the trailer suggests, delves into the insatiable hunger for power displayed by political leaders and how they use every kind of manipulation to achieve their goals.

Ali Abbas Zafar said his commercial aesthetics went well with the “universal” story of politics. “Because I have a commercial sensibility, I want the story to reach maximum number of people, (so) I have tried to use that ability to tell a story that’s universal. Politics inherently is universal. You can’t sit on the side. Even being apolitical is taking a political stand. This is not just a story of India but of every country, set-up or dynamics.”

The director revealed that he initially wanted to make Tandav as a film but discussions with co-producer Himanshu Mehra made him realise that it needed long-form story-telling.

“When Himanshu and I were working together, it became broader and I realised it can’t be done as a three-hour film. It needed to be a show. After Sultan, I met Aparna (Purohit, Head of India Originals at Amazon Prime Video) to pitch it to Amazon. We kept going back and forth. Tiger Zinda Hai happened, then Bharat released and the show kept getting pushed. But post Bharat, I realised I had to jump into it. That’s how it started,” Ali Abbas Zafar shared.

The trailer of the nine-episode drama introduces every character with sharp dialogues describing their personalities and motives. When asked about it, Tandav’s writer Gaurav Solanki, who last penned the critically-acclaimed Article 15, said he didn’t write dialogues for effect but keeping in mind the lives of the characters, which inhabited his mind for more than 18 months.

“These dialogues come organically. They are never thought of separately for effect. I have lived with these characters for 18-20 months and some of them have really complicated, disturbing lives. The show is about power and why people need so much of it. What happens to that young idealism when you face the real world with all its beauty and ugliness. I got to explore several characters and their shades through the show,” Solanki said.

Also starring, Dimple Kapadia, Sunil Grover, Kritika Kamra, Mohammad Zeeshan Ayyub, Gauahar Khan, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Dino Morea, Kumud Mishra, Amyra Dastur, Sarah Jane Dias, Sandhya Mridul, Annup Sonii, Hiten Tejwani, Paresh Pahuja and Shonali Nagrani, Tandav is set to premiere on Amazon Prime Video on January 15.

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