Delving deeper into people’s psyche: Tandav

Saif Ali Khan

Bollywood actor Saif Ali Khan says his upcoming political drama series Tandav delves into the psyche of people caught in the greed for power. Created and directed by filmmaker Ali Abbas Zafar, the nine-part political drama features an ensemble cast headlined by Khan, Dimple Kapadia, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Kumud Mishra, and Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub, among others.

Khan said the show would have been equally impactful with a theme other than politics as it speaks about the Indian society in general. “This is primarily for me a show about people and pressure. What happens to ambitious people when you give them goals they really want? It’s a complete cross-section of Indian society. It didn’t really have to be on politics. It could’ve been on something else. But we are a political nation and we like discussing it, so it’s a really good idea for a show. This is a fantasy show, a fiction. It’s dressed up and has influences from all over the place,” Khan said at the virtual press conference for the launch of the show’s trailer.

Set in Delhi, Tandav aims to take viewers inside the closed, chaotic corridors of power and uncover the manipulations, charades as well as the dark secrets of people who will go to any lengths in pursuit of power.

The Amazon Prime Video series marks the digital debut of Dimple Kapadia. The 63-year-old actor quipped that she is now “flavour of the season”, thanks to her Hollywood debut with filmmaker Christopher Nolan’s Tenet. She also said she was instantly drawn to the fascinating story of Tandav and its rich ensemble cast.

“To get an opportunity to work with Ali Abbas Zafar was a major draw for me. My character is well etched and I thought it was interesting and a lot of fun. Web gives you more screentime, so your character can be developed a lot more. It’s great to be in this space,” she added.

The series also marks the digital debut of Zafar, known for directing blockbusters such as Tiger Zinda Hai, Bharat and Sultan. The filmmaker said he initially wanted to make Tandav as a film but soon realised that only long format would justify the material they had.

Two weeks after the release of his blockbuster Salman Khan-starrer Sultan in 2016, Zafar met Aparna Purohit, Head of India Originals at Amazon Prime Video to pitch the show. “We kept going back and forth. Tiger Zinda Hai happened, then Bharat released and the show kept getting pushed. But post Bharat I realised I had to jump into it. That’s how the journey started,” he added.

Produced by Himanshu Kishan Mehra and Zafar, Tandav also stars Dino Morea, Sunil Grover, Gauahar Khan, Amyra Dastur, Kritika Kamra, Sarah Jane Dias, Sandhya Mridul, Anup Soni, Hitten Tejwani, Paresh Pahuja and Shonali Nagrani, among others.