Neeraj Pandey at IIT Mumbai (2017)
|Alma mater||Sri Aurobindo College, University of Delhi|
|Occupation||Film director, writer, producer|
Neeraj Pandey (born 17 December 1973) is an Indian film director, producer and screenwriter. Pandey made his directoral debut in A Wednesday!, which was largely praised by critics and which later became a recipient of many accolades. His second film was Special 26 (2013), which was followed by Baby (2015), the latter of which received critical acclaim and became a huge commercial success. He served as a producer in Rustom (2016). Pandey returned to directing in 2016 helming the biopic movie M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story based on renowned Indian cricketer M.S.Dhoni which fared well critically and commercially. Besides being a filmmaker, Pandey is also a writer and has written a novel named Ghalib Danger in 2013.
He has also directed a Web Short 'Ouch' with Manoj Bajpayee and Pooja Chopra which is nominated for Filmfare Short Film Award 2017. He was the co-producer of the film Toilet- Ek Prem Katha. His next release was Aiyaary which starred Sidharth Malhotra and Manoj Bajpayee and was both critically and commercially unsuccessful, becoming his first failed venture.
In March 2020, Neeraj Pandey presented and directed his first web series Special Ops on Hotstar. The eight episode series, the first production of Friday Storytellers, the digital arm of Friday Filmworks, was extremely well received by the critics. He is currently working on his next feature film Chanakya.
Early life and education
Pandey was born and brought up in Howrah, West Bengal. His father, who originally came from Arrah, Bihar and worked for Bosch in Calcutta. He did his schooling from St. Aloysius High School, Howrah (till Class X) and then St. Thomas' High School, Dasnagar, Howrah (Class XI and XII). Pandey moved to New Delhi, where he graduated in English from Sri Aurobindo college(University of Delhi) .
Pandey started his career working with Delhi-based 'Legacy Entertainment', a company started by the Dalmia Group to make television programs.
In 2000, he moved to Mumbai, where a friend got a grant to produce a documentary, and offered him the project. Soon he started making documentaries and ad films. Thereafter, he formed a production company 'Quarter Inch Productions', along with his colleague Shital Bhatia which specialized in making television programmes, ad films and documentaries. In 2008, Neeraj and Shital Bhatia formed a production house named Friday Filmworks, which was the original producer of his debut film, A Wednesday!. The film's script was inspired by the 11 July 2006 Mumbai train bombings.
In 2011, Neeraj produced the film Taryanche Bait.
After directing his first movie in 2008, Neeraj directed his second movie Special 26 in 2013, starring Akshay Kumar and Kajal Aggrawal. Neeraj is very fluent in Bengali and also produced a Bengali film, The Royal Bengal Tiger in 2014. In the same year he also produced the film Total Siyappa starring Yami Gautam and Ali Zafar. In 2015, he directed the movie Baby starring Akshay Kumar. In 2016, he produced the film Saat Uchakkey which was a comedy film starring Manoj Bajpayee, Kay Kay Menon and Aditi Sharma.
In 2016, Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Entertainment announced a joint venture with Pandey and Friday Filmworks to form Plan C studios for production of films. Akshay Kumar starrer Rustom was the first film under the banner, Plan C Studios. It is an equal partnership joint venture between the two.
In 2017, having co-produced Toilet- Ek Prem Katha, a satirical take on the open defecation scenario in India went on to become a critically acclaimed movie.
His next release was Aiyaary which starred Sidharth Malhotra and Manoj Bajpayee and was both critically and commercially flop emerging as his first failure. This film was written, directed by himself and produced under the banner of Plan C Studios, the film was an action thriller on the Indian borders. Sidharth Malhotra and Manoj Bajpayee played the lead characters Jai Bakshi and Abhay Singh respectively. Naseeruddin Shah reunited with the filmmaker after their first venture, A Wednesday!. The film was based on true incidents, a theme seen in several of his previous films as well.
In March 2020, Neeraj Pandey presented and directed his first web series Special Ops on Hotstar. The eight episode series, the first production of Friday Storytellers, the digital arm of Friday Filmworks, was extremely well received by the critics.
|2014||The Royal Bengal Tiger||Yes||Yes|
|2016||M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story||Yes||Yes|
|2017||Toilet: Ek Prem Katha||Yes|
- Ghalib Danger (2013)
|A Wednesday!||National Film Award. Best First Film of a Director:||2008|||
|A Wednesday!||Star Screen Award, Best Film, Best Story||2009|
|A Wednesday!||IIFA Awards Best Story. Best Dialogue||2009|
- Times of India
- "I grew up on Bengali films". The Telegraph. 17 June 2012. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
- "Neeraj Pandey to Helm Spy Thriller Web Series 'Special Ops'". www.news18.com.
- "56th National Film Awards for 2008" (PDF). Directorate of Film Festivals. 23 January 2010. p. 1. Retrieved 13 April 2011.
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