Research in our lab is focused on controlling the forces at the nanoscale to impart newer as well as improve the existing properties of nanomaterials. This “interplay of forces” can be achieved by decorating the surface of a nanoparticle with the ‘ligand of choice’. Our group strongly believes that the concept of “ligand-directed interplay of forces” is one way to realize distinct and specific functions from a limited set of nanomaterials. The journey has been rewarding so far in terms of achieving many important feats in nanoscience, such as self-assembly under equilibrium and nonequilibrium regimes, outplaying ligand poisoning in nanocatalysis, channelizing the flow of energy and electron in donor–acceptor systems, multicolour photopatterning using a single nanohybrid system, and so on. More details about the impact of controlling interparticle-interactions on the specific areas of nanoscience can be found below.