An Open Letter To Neeraj Pandey

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An Open Letter To Neeraj Pandey

Dear Neeraj

Time flies. It seems like just yesterday that you treated us to A WEDNESDAY, your debut film which released on September 5, 2008. It’s difficult to believe that over six years has passed. The film is still fresh in the mind.

BABY, which released in the penultimate week of January was another cracker! In between you had the other gem, SPECIAL 26.

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While A WEDNESDAY was beyond brilliance, SPECIAL 26 and BABY suffered a wee bit because of ‘outside influences’ which would have been beyond your control.

This missive today is to request you to take control and not let ‘outside influences’ dilute your thought pattern, because what you know, only you can execute and you have a razor sharp mind that has been seen across all the three movies you have directed.

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I pointed out these aspects in SPECIAL 26 as well as BABY. And both these were huge irritants. It was only because of your brilliance that you were able to make light of these avoidable, ‘thought-out’ mistakes. I say avoidable, thought-out because I know these are not your scenes. This is not what you want in your script but you had to bow to diktats of ‘commercial film-making’.

The plot between Akshay Kumar and Kajal Aggarwal in SPECIAL 26 was an annoying interference. Minus this, the film would have been tauter and pacier.

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You repeated the mistake in BABY!

Every time you introduced Akshay’s family angle, BABY looked troubled. Like I mentioned in my review, “It was like a music conductor suddenly switching to a Bollywood item number when all the while he was treating his rapt audience to Beethoven!”

Your first film did not suffer from any of this. That’s because you were in control all the time. Don’t lose control. It’s OK if there is no family angle. Don’t give in to frivolous demands of change in scripts. You know what I mean?

You are Special, Baby! You have touched the nerve of the Common Man. And that is what makes your topics and films relevant.

A WEDNESDAY had the July 2006 serial train bombings as your base for the script. SPECIAL 26 was inspired by the 1987 Jewellery heist and BABY, by 26/11.

We lost the creator of the Common Man on January 26, 2014. My last letter was to Mr R K Laxman.

No, I am not comparing you to him, but yes, you do have that spark. Like Mr R K Laxman, stick to your guns. Do what you think is ‘creatively right’. Don’t bow down to commercialization of scripts just to introduce an actress when there is no need of one.

You are a genius at taking real-life incidents and giving them a ‘reel twist’, just like Mr R K Laxman did in his readings of politics and politicians in his cartoons.

Thank you for keeping the Common Man alive!

God Bless You
Martin D’Souza
(This weekly column tries to be as honest as honest can be…)

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