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 audiences as well as 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 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.
Neeraj Pandey at the premiere of Baby (2015)
|Alma mater||Sri Aurobindo College, University of Delhi|
|Occupation||Film director, writer, producer|
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 blockbuster Toilet- Ek Prem Katha which won critical appreciation from the film industry and the audience. His next release was Aiyaary which starred Sidharth Malhotra and Manoj Bajpayee and was both critically and commercially unsuccessful, becoming his first failed venture.
Early life and educationEdit
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' 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.
Pandey has also written his debut novel titled Ghalib Danger which was launched on 6 December 2013. The novel is soon going to be made into a motion picture.
In 2017, having co-produced Toilet- Ek Prem Katha, a satirical take on the open defecation scenario in India went on to become both a critically acclaimed and a hit among the audience 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!. Anupam Kher is also played a major role in the film. The film was tentatively scheduled to hit the theatres on 26 January 2018, Republic Day but, was released on 16 February 2018 due to delay by the CBFC in providing the certification. The film was based on true incidents, a theme we have witnessed in his previous creations as well.
|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.
- "56th National Film Awards for 2008" (pdf). Directorate of Film Festivals. 23 January 2010. p. 1. Retrieved 13 April 2011.