For "Article 15" co-writer Gaurav Solanki his upcoming project "Tandav", a fictional story inspired by real life, came as an opportunity to delve deep into the past and present Indian politics. Featuring Saif Ali Khan in the lead, the germ of the web series, Solanki said, came from its director Ali Abbas Zafar, who is making his digital debut with the project.
"He had this very interesting beginning and two-three major characters and that's when I came on board. I had a small team we did brainstorming and did research and that's how I wrote the series," Solanki told PTI in an interview.
"I was excited because it had so many things to say about today's India, India's past and about all of us. Though it is completely fictional it has threads inspired from real life," he added.
The screenwriter said the political drama will explore the ambition and greed for power.
"It is about what people can do for power and why people need power so desperately and what it does to common people. And what happens in power corridors, what kind of manipulation happens, etc. I have tried to go beyond ideology and to the human core of everything."
Solanki added that the show, set in Delhi, will deal with national and student politics.
Asked about the reported similarities of "Tandav" with American series "House of Cards", the writer said even though it deals with a power-hungry politician like Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey), the story is deeply rooted in India.
"I think the only thing similar to 'House of Cards' is one of the protagonists is a very ambitious politician and it is the inside story of power corridors. Otherwise it is completely Indian, our politics, characters and storyline is completely different.
"Maybe in a genre it is bit close to 'House of Cards', I love that show it is a very well written show. But our story is completely Indian."
After his successful digital debut with "Sacred Games", Saif will headline "Tandav" that will stream on Amazon Prime Video.
Solanki said the actor's character in the show is a combination of popularity and privilege.
"Saif is playing a political leader in his mid-40s. His character is very popular among youth, he comes from a political family. He has the lethal combination of popularity and privilege. While writing we had no actor in mind, but after scripting his name came up and we felt he is the right choice."
Given the current political scenario in the country, when asked if he feels restricted as a creative person, Solanki recalled how some people protested during the release of "Article 15".
"There were some groups who had come up and said their sentiments are hurt and they protested, broke things and tried to prevent the release of the film. Filmmaking involves a lot of money so a lot of producers are concerned to tell something edgy.
"We all must learn that we should have things with which we agree and disagree, there should be diversity of people and diversity of thoughts. We should teach this to children from an early age."