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When Neeraj Pandey gathered hope from a red umbrella

Speaking at Mood Indigo at IIT Bombay, the director-producer went back to the time when he was a nobody.

Photo: Shutterbugs Images

Keyur Seta

After a smashing debut with A Wednesday (2008), Neeraj Pandey has continued to climb the ladder of success with his next films, Special 26 (2013), Baby (2015) and MS Dhoni: The Untold Story (2016). In between, he also turned producer.

But there was a time when he was struggling in Mumbai and wasn’t getting any work. That was when the filmmaker experienced a moment that showed him hope and made him continue with his struggle.

He spoke about it during a panel discussion about his upcoming film Aiyaary at the Mood Indigo festival at IIT Bombay. “I was in Mumbai at that time," Pandey said. "I was not getting any work and I didn’t know anyone. I was just sort of down. I don’t get depressed at all. But I was sort of down and questioning myself why isn’t life moving. Why are things not happening for me? Where am I failing to put that extra bit?

“I was walking on the Lokhandwala back bridge, where people generally shoot. Suddenly I felt the whole bridge was empty. I couldn’t see what was coming from the other end. But I saw a red umbrella. Then I saw a huge security guy and a heroine. So, that visual in itself was like a huge sign for me that beta kuchh ho jayega life mein [something good will happen in life],” he said.

The filmmaker believes one can’t plan such moments. “You couldn’t plan that shot for all the production you can buy. It just happened like this and you see it as a sign and things move on,” he said.