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The balancing act

Updated on: 27 February,2024 06:33 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Letty Mariam Abraham |

Director Singh discusses navigating the thin line between patriotism and jingoism in upcoming series Ranneeti: Balakot & Beyond

The balancing act

A still from the series

Curiosity usually kills the cat, but for director Santosh Singh, it gave birth to his upcoming series Ranneeti: Balakot & Beyond. After wrapping up Apharan, when the producers approached him with the story concept, the intrigued filmmaker dived headlong into research, which took almost two years. “We all know about Pulwama and Balakot, but what happened behind the scenes? When you go into the depth of it, you realise there is so much more planning and plotting before the execution happens. [The series covers] what happened in the war room, the planning, the people and agencies involved. That was the most interesting part,” says the filmmaker of the JioCinema series.

Santosh Singh

While the nine-episode series, featuring Ashutosh Rana, Ashish Vidyarthi, Jimmy Shergill, Lara Dutta, and Prasanna, is based on real events, Singh did take creative liberty, albeit with permissions. “We met a lot of people, did documentation and started reading. We got a consultant on board to get his viewpoint. The writing, to create the drama and string the information all together, took a long time because [we had info] dating back to 50 years—from the first aerial action between India and Pakistan. There was no one source of information. Because it was classified information, there were a lot of people involved. Once the script was ready, we took an NOC from the Defense Ministry. To create the drama, you have to take certain liberties. [We took it] to present things in the simplest and engaging form. For example, for the aerial action, the commands, how they talk, how they approach each other, how they fight, we took liberties there. Apart from that, I think it is pretty authentic,” he explains.

Considering the nuances of patriotism and politics within the series, Singh explored the themes of national pride and strategic warfare without crossing the line and without making Ranneeti too jingoistic. He shares, “I’m passionate about my storytelling. For a show like this, the line between patriotism and jingoism is rather thin. I don’t like the jingoistic side of patriotism. [When people] see the show, they will feel patriotic without me telling them to feel patriotic. The platform, producers, and everyone associated were on the same page on this matter. We wanted to make a balanced series.”

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