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Saturday, June 3, 2023

Raj Nidimoru: “The Family Man is Our Take On Geo-Politics & Counter-Terrorism”

Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK’s duo works wonders on the big screen.

From Shor In The City to A Gentleman, their collaboration has always been cinematic and a hilarious treat for the audience. 

Last year, they broke the glass ceiling even more by backing the highly successful horror-comedy, Stree.

Now, their creativity has only enhanced by directing the Amazon Prime Video original series, The Family Man.

The 10-episode series chronicles the struggles of a middle-class family man named Srikant Tiwari (Manoj Bajpayee), caught between the duties for his nation and his family.

Srikant is a middle-class man working for a government intelligence agency while trying his hardest to balance his family and professional life.

How will ‘The Family Man’ manage to keep his family happy while doubling up as the nation’s undercover hero?

In a special interview with Filme Shilmy, Raj Nidimoru discusses his experience of making the digital debut and what drives his unorthodox filmmaking vision.

You have done well in cinema – especially given last year’s triumph with Stree. What made you venture into the digital space?

It’s the most exciting medium right now. If you ask anyone what they’re watching, they will most likely respond by saying a web-series.

As a filmmaker, I’ve been wanting to do a long format for a while… Almost for 5 years, I’ve been considering it.

Now we have options of making a web-series or feature film to tell a story.

I think it is very exciting and I was just waiting for the right partner to come along.

Horror, crime and action comedies are genres you’ve depicted before. What determined you to explore an espionage thriller?

This was more about our take on geo-politics and counter-terrorism.

This story was always meant to be a longer idea because it delves deeper and there is much more to explore.

Since this is our first web series, I wanted to go further away from the field to us. I don’t think I would’ve done anything innovative.

The idea is to find a fresh angle to make a series like this.

From the feedback so far, people are understanding what we’re trying to do.

Usually, there is a sense of humour in a spy show… Typically, it’s either a slapstick comedy or a drama – nothing in between.

We wanted to get the balance of right humour in the series.

The trailer claims that the series is “inspired from news stories”… Which ones in particular?

That is more of a generic statement.

It’s like reading papers every day and all those little stories that look disconnected, we tried to weave those as a cohesive story and make it into a series.

You showcased dual narratives of Sidharth Malhotra’s character in A Gentleman. Is this what helped you exhibiting Manoj Bajapayee’s role in The Family Man?

No. In my head, there are two different kinds of ideas.

A Gentleman was a popcorn, action film – a throwback to the good old-school action movies where you have a twin and we had a good script as to why there are these two individuals.

That was more cinematic and not about the real world… Sidharth’s character was an ex-gangster in hiding whose past catches up with him.

Whereas The Family Man is about an ordinary guy – like most of us are but he has a very important job to do, where his life is at stake.

It’s just that he has to deal with the same issues we all do but his extraordinary job is what sets him apart.

People like Srikant Tiwari (Manoj Bajpayee’s character) are unsung. They don’t get credit or commemorated for it, it’s just their job.

That is the main theme of the show.

Your content is often recognised for its quirkiness and kick-ass nature. What drives this filmmaking style?

The classic films that people make, I don’t know if I’m good at it and there are far better directors at making classic cinema.

I realised that there is a lot of humour in our actual life. A heartbreak that can be shown in a dramatic fashion, can also have a light tone to it too.

I guess I’ve always seen things in a funny/quirky way.

With the kind of things we do in Shor In The City or The Family Man are quite satirically humorous.

At the same time, I’m not the sequel kind of a guy… Unless if people are liking a film so much.

I would rather explore a new concept because that’s what drives a filmmaker.

I’m always looking for something new to do.

You have been instrumental in reviving the ‘horror comedy’ genre and introducing ‘Zombie’ films in Bollywood. Why do you feel both of these categories were redundant?

Generally, I think they don’t think films straddling two different genres are made frequently.

The instinct typically is to make a movie of one genre.

I don’t know why we do this… We try to extend the genre into another one, just to be more exciting. We think as the audience first and then as filmmakers.

It’s like fusion food, you have other dishes to eat out there but it’s fun to mix it up a little.

It’s very few we have hit filmmaking duos in Hindi cinema. What would you attribute your successful collaboration to?

A lot of people ask us how Krishna and I are still together (laughs).

I think the reason why we are making films together is that we entered the industry together and have evolved since then.

We don’t fight enough I guess, which is why we are there together as a unit (laughs),

There has been a huge anticipation for the sequels of Go Goa Gone and Stree. Any developments on these?

Yes. In fact, Stree was written as a trilogy. I have the second part’s concept ready.

With Go Goa Gone, I’m pleasantly surprised that people look at it very fondly and has cult-following.

I have a whole script ready… We just finished a couple of months ago so those plans are definitely in play. 

In the meantime, I’m doing two more exciting series and another film. We are just trying to figure out the time.

The Family Man is now available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.

Anuj Radia
Journalist and film enthusiast.

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