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Wanted to create prototype for digital media with 'Bandish Bandits': Anand Tiwari

The show marks the digital debut of Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy.

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Anand Tiwari, the man behind Love Per Square Foot is back with yet another directorial venture Bandish Bandits. Tiwari is a stage actor and director known for his roles in films like Kites, Udaan, Aisha, and Go Goa Gone. As a stage actor, he is best known for his role of a 'lamp post' in Rage Productions' One on One. For the uninitiated, Tiwari is the co-founder of the theatre company FAT Productions in Mumbai.

Set in the backdrop of Jodhpur, the Amazon Prime Video is a 10-part series. The series introduces newcomers Ritwik Bhowmik and Shreya Chaudhary as Radhe and Tamanna respectively. Romantic drama Bandish Bandits is a love story of Radhe and Tamanna who hail from diverse musical backgrounds.

In conversation with indiantelevision.com, Bandish Bandits director Anand Tiwari talks about the importance of music in storytelling, the idea behind creating the series, roping in the trio of Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and much more.

Edited Excerpts:

Please tell us about your journey from being an assistant director in Barfi to now directing your own show.

It has been fantastic, every day you spend on the set or with actors and technical team teaches you something. However, sometimes you have to learn and unlearn so many things. The circumstances are always different and not like an office job. I like to keep exploring new things. Even when I am shooting a romantic scene or any other scene, I pretend like I do not know this. I do feel that my storytelling has matured as I grew but it is a long journey, I have just started learning.

What was the concept behind making Bandish Bandits?

We have been making movies on music since time immemorial because that is how we have weaved our stories since theatre times. Music is an integral part of storytelling in India. Amrit (Amritpal Singh Bindra, producer) and I love music. From the time of Band Baja Baarat we have always told stories that get conveyed by music. When we looked at the content that is being created in today’s time, there wasn’t something similar to Bandish Bandits. It’s high time we create a prototype for digital media and we were convinced that audiences would also like to watch it. I believe music is the most transcending of art forms. And what better way to summarise India’s culture than mixing two forms of popular music – traditional and pop.

How long did it take to do the research and create the whole series?

Amrit and I have been making different kinds of content for the past five to six years. For a long time, we wanted to do a project together. It took us almost one and a half years of pure research. We spent good three to four years to make the entire series right from ideation to creation.

Also, did you approach Amazon Prime or did they contact you?

We took Aparna Purohit (Amazon Prime head of India originals) through our story idea and that is how it happened. Amazon Prime has always given us good originals; that is known internationally. We were hopeful that they will also like the content that we are giving to them.

Speaking about direction, do you think you have grown as a director? Also, you are an actor too so does it help you while directing?

Yes, it absolutely helps to be an actor because I understand that most of the time actors are struggling. It has very little to do with their fear or talent, sometimes it is so much to do with their understanding. There are so many things such as one might agree or disagree with the scenes or sometimes they are dealing with something which has nothing to do with the shoot itself. As an actor, I know the psyche of the other actors and I have a special relationship with every actor on the set. We all share a very special bond, so it doesn’t sound like an instruction which always helps.

Which is your favourite part of the role, actor or director?

I like being a storyteller, sometimes I can be a writer, director, actor, producer, anything. However, during a specific time, it is more exciting being a director. It also depends on the story that comes because accordingly, you will focus on that specific part. But as a director, you have a far greater perspective to the story. I really enjoy every role that comes my way.

Bandish Bandits also marks the digital debut of Music geniuses Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. How challenging was it to bring them on onboard?

When we were planning this series, Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy were on top of our list. Apart from giving music in movies, they have also done many albums. They have done classical, hip hop and every kind of music. They were the first people we approached. Here, storytelling was challenged through music that they took up with us. A lot of scenes which had music in them were planned after our discussion with Shankar Mahadevan. He was able to give us the insights into what happens in a studio when a song is created.  It was a brilliant experience; all the songs that one can see in the show have been created in front of us.

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