Talented Filmmaker Neeraj Pandey, who gave path-breaking hits like Baby, Special 26, and MS Dhoni: The Untold Story, is back with a project revolving around cricket. He is gearing up for his docuseries Bandon Mein Tha Dum which starts streaming on Voot Select on 16 June.
The series sheds light on the trials and tribulations that the Indian cricket team had to navigate ahead of their unforgettable victory against Team Australia at their home ground of Gabba, where they hadn’t lost a Test match for 32 years. The docuseries focuses on how the team played extraordinarily high-quality cricket and simultaneously redefined the concept of hard work, perseverance, determination, and commitment, setting the highest standards of sportsmanship while breathing new life into the fading format of Test cricket.
In an exclusive conversation with IWMBuzz.com, the director Neeraj spoke about the thought behind the docuseries, working with cricketers, and more.
How was the experience working on the docuseries?
It was fantastic. I came back to making a documentary after a long time. I had started my career with documentaries. Now, I got back to it and thoroughly enjoyed the process. The way documentaries are made now has undergone a sea change. It is very different from how we earlier used to make documentaries. Overall it was an amazing experience.
What made you choose this story?
There are two reasons. Firstly, we have never witnessed a story like this. In the entire history of international test cricket, very rarely we have seen a fight back like this. It was unique from that point of view. The second reason is that there was no way that we could recreate this in the fiction format. A documentary became the best to tell this story hence we went ahead with it.
How is it different directing a docuseries as compared to a film?
It is very different. In docuseries, there is no script in place. You are making it while interviewing the people or when you have it at the edit table. A lot has been made in the editing room. Me and Pravin (my editor) spent a lot of time going through the footage and then started compiling them. We came down to the desired length. It was a challenge because we had tons of footage.
Did you face any challenges while working on the project?
The pandemic was a challenge. Also the schedule of the Indian cricketers. They were busy with their games. Also, they were in bio bubbles and in strict quarantine. Finding their time between schedules and going through the docuseries was a big challenge.
You directly worked with the cricketers (Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin, Cheteshwar Pujara, Mohammad Siraj, Rishabh Pant, and Hanuma Vihari), so how was the experience? How different is it from working with actors?
Cricketers are trained right now to interact with the media. They are completely at ease with the camera. The only challenge was to take them back in time. To make them revisit the key moments of the game. Having said that, all of them spoke very beautifully. When you will see the documentary, you can figure out that they all can be fantastic storytellers.
Will you ever make this historic win into a Bollywood movie?
No, not at all.
Any final message?
I hope they enjoy Bandon Mein Tha Dum. I hope they shower this with the same amount of love and affection that they do to our other works.