Neeraj Pandey (born 17 December 1973) is an acclaimed Indian film director, producer and screenwriter. In his first movie A Wednesday!, his work was largely praised by audiences as well as the critics. A Wednesday! also won many awards in different categories. His second film was Special 26 (2013). Not just a filmmaker but a writer too, Neeraj has written a novel named Ghalib Danger in 2013. He also directed the movie Baby (2015) starring Akshay Kumar which received critical acclaim from the audience and was a huge success.The movie Rustom which was produced by Neeraj, was released on 12 August 2016 and received mixed reviews by critics but was a runaway commercial success. His last movie was a biopic on cricketer M.S.Dhoni titled M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story which was loved by the audience.. He aims at making more commercial content in the sports genre. Neeraj has carved a niche for himself in the film industry with his adept handling of different topics and is one of the most sought after Directors of his generation.
In 2016, his Production House Friday Filmworks and Reliance Entertainment entered into a joint venture and formed Plan C Studios.
He has also directed a Web Short 'Ouch' with Manoj Bajpayee and Pooja Chopra which is nominated for Filmfare Short Film Award 2017. As the co-producer, his recent blockbuster Toilet- Ek Prem Katha is getting critical appreciation from the film industry and the audience. His upcoming movie is Aiyaary which is set to release on 2018 starring Sidharth Malhotra and Manoj Bajpayee
Pandey was born and brought up in Howrah, West Bengal. His father, who originally came from Ara, Bihar and worked for Bosch in Calcutta. 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.
He has also directed the short film Ouch with Manoj Bajpayee and Pooja Chopra which is nominated for the Filmfare Short Film Award 2017.
Pandey’s upcoming project Aiyaary, written, directed by himself and produced under the banner of Plan C Studios, is a crime drama thriller on the Indian borders. Sidharth Malhotra and Manoj Bajpayee play the lead characters Jai Bakshi and Abhay Singh respectively. Naseeruddin Shah reunites with the filmmaker after their first venture, A Wednesday!. Anupam Kher is also playing a major role in the film. The film is tentatively scheduled to hit the theaters on 26 January 2018, Republic Day. Aiyaary is under production and most of the shooting is completed. The film is based on true incidents, a theme we have witnessed in his previous creations as well.National Film Award
2008: Best First Film of a Director: A Wednesday!
Star Screen Award
Best Film: A Wednesday!
Best Story: A Wednesday!
Best Story: A Wednesday!
IIFA Award for Best Dialogue: A Wednesday!