By Komal Panchamatia
Mumbai, Sep 12 (PTI) Filmmaker duo Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK are making their digital debut with "The Family Man" and they believe the Amazon Prime Video web series is closest to their 2011 critically-acclaimed film "Shor in the City" in terms of its mood.
"The Family Man" follows a middle-class man, played by played by Manoj Bajpayee, secretly working for the National Investigation Agency.
"Shor in The City" was the story of an NRI businessman, a small-time crook and a budding cricketer grappling with life-changing choices during the chaotic period of the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi.
"For us, this show is closest to 'Shor in the City', in terms of its mood. It was a gritty film, it was about a love-and-hate relationship with the city and yet there was an element of quirk and humour.
"That way 'The Family Man' is closest in spirit to that film as it is real, grounded and has its quirks. But at the same, the series is more rooted in reality because it deals with current affairs, the geopolitics of the subcontinent and terrorism in general," DK told PTI in an interview.
The duo had the script of "The Family Man" ready five years ago but talks for the web series with Amazon began in 2016.
"Working on a series takes more time as there is a lot of content to write. We met Amazon three years ago, they were fresh at that point and we were busy with films too. It takes time to put everything together. We write our own stuff, we don't pick up from anywhere. The process starts from writing to producing to directing."
Raj and DK, who have written films like "Shor in the City", "Go Goa Gone" and "Stree" among others, said, the web platform gave them the opportunity to delve deeper into the story and characters, something they thoroughly enjoyed.
Raj added the idea was to not get lured by the no-censorship policy on digital space but focus more on getting an intriguing long-format story.
"Now that we are coming up on the web doesn't mean we had some pent up angst that we had to explore on this uncensored platform. We did not think that let's do something crazy.
"For us it was like let's do something different in this long format, let me dig deep and showcase something that we cannot in films due to limited time," he explained.
In the web series, Bajpayee plays Srikant, who is described as a middle-class man but a world-class spy.
The duo added the National Award-winning actor was the perfect choice for the show as he is a family man who looks believable as an intelligence officer on screen.
According to the official synopsis, Srikant works in a special cell at the National Investigation Agency. And while he tries to protect the nation from terror threats, he also has to protect his family from the impact of his secretive, high-pressure and low paying job.
"The show is inspired by real incidents. We are setting it into the real world and we don't want to be preachy. So it is up to the audience to decide how they take this story," DK said.
Raj believes intelligence agents are the unsung heroes of a nation.
He said he was amazed by the sincerity and dedication of these agents, who are never rewarded publicly and yet they do their best to protect the country.
"It is a de-glamorised job, unlike what we see in films like how they are running around in suits, especially an Indian spy, who is on the road. He is a common man, he is somebody's father or husband working hard to make ends meet.
"What is amazing is, the effort they take and what drives them to fight for the country, when there are no perks in it and sometimes you lose your family. They go unnoticed but give the most. I felt it is a fascinating study of a person, who goes to great lengths to protect the country and gains nothing."
DK added the team did thorough research on the life of intelligence officers as they wanted to get everything right -- from their body language to how they function.
The series was shot last year in Kochi, Mumbai and Kashmir.
Talking about shooting in the Valley, Raj said, "We had a great experience shooting in Kashmir. We wondered why many people did not shoot there. It is such a beautiful place, the people are helpful and welcoming."
"Currently, where things stand today, I think it will be little difficult to shoot there right now. Let hope things normalise soon," he added.
The cast also includes Priyamani, Sharib Hashmi, Gul Panag, Sharad Kelkar and Dalip Tahil.
The series, written and directed by Raj and DK will be out on September 20. PTI KKP RDS