Realism, relativity & effectivity are what drive a web series
The Viral Fever (TVF) revolutionised web content in India by its flagship humour extravaganza, the Q-tiyapa series. It went on to innovate and come up with gems like Barely Speaking With Arnub, and The Making Of… series. Then it came out with Permanent Roommates, arguably the first-of-its-kind fiction series made only for the web. Its massive reception encouraged them to come up with Pitchers, another show, which set the bar for web content extremely high.
They are now back with the second season of Permanent Roommates. And here’s what the Director, Deepak Kumar Mishra has to say about the much awaited series.
According to you, what led to the success of Permanent Roommates season 1? Did you expect it to become such a breakthrough in web content?
Permanent Roommates season 1 struck a chord with the audience. The characters of Mikesh and Tania were very fresh and relatable and the setting of the story was also very authentic. We weren’t expecting such a great response. We were making a transition from Q-tiyapa to web series, which was very experimental, as at that time, the concept of web series was not big in India.
Did you always plan to make a second season?
It wasn’t like a full fledged plan, but we always had the idea at the back of our minds for continuing the series. After the success of Pitchers, the audience expectations were very high. We didn’t want to disappoint them. We had to come up with something more fresh and more mature at the same time, for Permanent Roommates season 2.
Coming from a successful season 1, what have you concentrated on in season 2? Tell us about the premise of the second season.
Season 1 was more like a foundation of the couple’s relationship. In the second season, however, the story revolves around how they deal with unplanned pregnancy. It explores the complete dynamics of their relationship from when they hear about the pregnancy news till the delivery, and the ups and downs they face during that time. There will be a total eight episodes, which we will release fortnightly. Also, you will be seeing a lot of wild card characters in the coming episodes.
What was the casting process for the season like?
After the script is finalised, our primary focus becomes performance. We spend a lot of time casting the appropriate actors for their roles. I understand that in actors looks are important, but they have to be performance-oriented also. We are always on the lookout for theatre and stage actors who would fit in our characters perfectly. We keep visiting Prithvi theatre a lot. Some of the people that we discovered there are such fine actors! These actors are a delight to work with. They bring in a new level of energy to the script.
How do you prepare the actors for their respective parts?
I don’t have a hard and fast rule for spontaneous acting or method acting. I always tell my actors to do their natural thing. If spontaneity comes naturally to you, then do that. If a particular part or expression in the script demands something which is not natural for you to do, then twist it a little and do it in your own style. We also conduct various workshops in the beginning to inculcate the zone of the character in the actor. The process as a whole is very contributive.
What was the visual treatment you’ve adopted for this season?
We have ensured that the visual treatment is kept as simple as possible. It has to be portrayed as a realistic love story. The shot-taking is also very simple.
What makes Permanent Roommates?
Umm…the script, humour and the performance of our actors!
How different is the approach to shooting a web series in relation to a TV series?
Since it is a web series, we need to keep it as relatable as possible. It has to be fast paced and avoid being over-dramatic. You won’t find sudden low-angle shots to build up drama. The experience is real and not cinematic. Realism, relativity and effectivity are what drive a web series.
So, what’s next? Any concrete plans for a season three?
[Laughs.] What season three, yaar? Shooting for season two is not finished yet. We keep writing the script and shooting simultaneously, bit by bit.