Tripping on Tripling – The new age road trip by TVF
The thought of a road trip evokes memories of fun, frolic, scenic locations and friendship. While cinema has explored the theme quite often, Internet’s favorite content producers, The Viral Fever (TVF) are taking a step forward with their new web series, Tripling. While road trips are almost synonymous with friends hitting the road together, Tripling explores the journey of three siblings, interestingly called Chandan, Chanchal and Chitvan.
Starring Sumeet Vyas, who is also the co-writer with Akarsh Khurana, Maanvi Gagroo and Amol Parashar, the series is directed by Rajesh Krishnan. As the first episode opened to fantastic reviews, Pandolin caught up with the director and cast of Tripling to know more about this riveting road trip and their equation with each other. Also joining the conversation is Biswapati Sarkar, Creative Director, TVF, who shares how they are constantly on their toes to live up to the ever-increasing expectations and the upcoming ventures from the TVF stable.
Sumeet Vyas, Actor & Co-Writer, Tripling
How was the idea for Tripling developed?
Around six or seven months back Arunabh (Kumar, Founder & CEO, The Viral Fever) asked us if there were any ideas related to a road trip. So we were just bouncing ideas about friends on a road trip. But then I felt that this (concept) has been done to death; every road trip is about friends having fun. That is when I came up with the idea that we should try a road trip with siblings. As a writer, you keep pitching the idea and see how people react to it, and everybody seemed to like this idea. And that is how it came about.
Having co-written and acted in the show, how would you describe Tripling?
The series revolves around these three siblings and how over the years, they have disconnected from each other; something that happens quite often in life. The younger brother does his own thing, he ran away from home and later it was discovered that there was no reason to do so; but he is a rebellious kind of a person. The sister, Chanchal is someone who got married to her college sweetheart and now, she is going through her own issues in the marriage. So all three of them come together, at a point where their lives are a little screwed up. The series show how this accidental road trip helps them to evolve and reconnect.
The series show how this accidental road trip helps them to evolve and reconnect
Is it an added advantage to be able to enact the character that you’ve written, since you know its core?
It definitely helps, but I’d prefer not to do it again. I prefer either writing or acting because I am learning on the go as well. When you are a part of the project, it is tough for you to let go of things. When somebody is acting or directing, they come with their own vision and then, you as a writer, tend to interfere with their vision. Though of course, it is easier when you have written the series because then you know exactly where the character is coming from.
How did you get associated with Tripling? What was your thought process when you heard about the idea?
I know The Viral Fever (TVF) team before it (the series) even started. We have been wanting to do something together and have been thinking and discussing ideas. I’ve known Sumeet Vyas and Maanvi Gagroo since a long time. Sumeet and I have been told that we look like brothers, (laughs), in fact, even his own sister has said that we are quite similar, so we wanted to use that aspect at some time. So, I think this idea came about as a combination of all these factors.
The first time that I heard about this idea, I was a little apprehensive because my first question was, ‘What will happen on the road trip?’ Because there are no friends, there are no parties, no romance, no sexual tension. But that was the hook and that is how the entire show came about. The characters were written with the actors in mind, which I think is a blessing for an actor because when somebody is writing for you, they know your strength and weakness, they not only know what you have done, but also what you can do.
Tell me something about your character Chitvan.
He is the youngest of the three siblings and on the surface, he is slightly crazy. The interesting part about him is that even though he seems to be a person who will not be in touch with his parents, but it turns out that here, he is the only person who is largely in touch with them. He is doing wrong things but is constantly updating his parents about what is happening in his life. This is in contrast to the other two siblings. The elder brother, who is a seemingly sorted person, is married and has a job in America, but has been distant from the family. The middle sister is married into a royal family, but we don’t know how the marriage is going on now, and that is the hook of the first episode. But both the elder siblings have maintained a distance from the family.
Chitvan is a floater, a drifter and is constantly taking up different jobs; currently he is a DJ. He ran away from home and maybe he has done some illicit things, which his elder siblings might not approve of, but in certain ways he seems to be the most comfortable with life, which is ironical because he doesn’t seem to have anything going for him, but he is happy. And that is the essence of the character.
Hopefully Tripling will encourage people to go on a road trip with their siblings
What according to you will make this concept – a road trip with your siblings – relate to the youth of today?
We wanted to get this idea, that it is a road trip with siblings, across very clearly because we didn’t want the message to be confused. We got a great response to the trailer. In fact, the response to the trailer has been surprising because a lot of people have tagged their siblings and said that they should do a trip like this. The fact that people haven’t done this before is a relatable factor and hopefully Tripling will encourage them to go on a road trip with their siblings.
How would you describe Chanchal, the character you play?
Chanchal is the middle child and being the only daughter, she is the most pampered. Since she has always been with boys, her two brothers, she has been an adventure seeking person. In college she meets a guy, falls in love and gets married. He is an heir to a royal family, so she has to become the rajkumari (Princess) of the house, and that is where the conflict for my character arises. She feels restricted in that set up of being the rajkumari of the house. Also parallel to this, the three siblings haven’t been in touch. So through this journey, they discover their problems and themselves.
How do you think does your character evolve during the course of the journey?
When the show beings, Chanchal is stuck in a situation, but the road trip and being with her brothers eventually does help her discover things. This happens with us in real life as well. When you are going through problems and if you have your family or very close friends around at that time, you draw a lot of strength from them. And that is what happens with Chanchal as well. When her brothers come, she finds the strength to deal with her situation. She doesn’t realize this till much later because this connection with the family is a very subconscious thing.
When you are going through problems and if you have your family or very close friends around at that time, you draw a lot of strength from them
You have known your co-actors from a long time, how was it working with them as siblings?
I’ve worked with both of them, so I was very happy to see that they are playing my brothers because I am already very comfortable with them. I think siblings share this comfort level with each other, you’ll hit each other or hug each other, so there is no shying away from it. Since I was comfortable with them, we didn’t have a problem there. Sumeet is very similar to Chandan, he is relaxed but is very proper, he plans and wants to stick to the plans. Amol is also a lot like Chitvan; he is a little crazy, but is a very good guy. We had a lot of fun and because it was an outdoor shoot, we bonded a lot.
Rajesh Krishnan, Director, Tripling
What was the thought process behind shooting a road trip and what were the essential elements that you concentrated on?
I specifically concentrated on the cinematography part of it because you really don’t need to direct these actors. We were trying to make something bigger than a web series because we didn’t want to leave it at a web series. We wanted the show to be a point of conversation, where at the end of it people say that they don’t mind going on a road trip with their siblings, even though they know some uncomfortable things about each other. If that happens, then I think somewhere we have succeeded and that is what we were really focusing on. We wanted to make sure that everything rang and that nothing appeared to be phony. We wanted to keep it short, but intense.
We were trying to make something bigger than a web series because we didn’t want to leave it at a web series
While making a web series what are the difficulties or challenges that one comes across?
We are doing a web series and thus, resources are hard, this is not a big budget Bollywood film. You have to work within a format and have to overcome the limitations. Though resources are limited, you want to make it look good and that is always the brief and also the challenge. But I am very confident that if you have good content, you will be appreciated. On the other hand, if you put up bad stuff, you will be ripped apart on the Internet.
Biswapati Sarkar, Creative Director, The Viral Fever
What are the factors or elements that TVF looks for in a story to back?
I think a few factors that we look for is that the idea is fresh and progressive. The idea probably should be tied around the Indian theme. When you say the term ‘progressive’, we all believe that the portrayal of our generation in Bollywood and television has not been fair. When they show the youth, they are either shown partying or roaming around and I don’t have a lot of friends who are like that. I think that is the core value that we are presenting; characters that are close to home, like the people that we actually know. Though there might be certain portions that would be exaggerated, but at the core of it, we want to show a picture that is close to reality.
We all believe that the portrayal of our generation in Bollywood and television has not been fair
TVF is one of the most viewed channels, does that add pressure to constantly produce good content?
It does add pressure; a lot of times we feel that people are extraordinarily anal about whatever we do. They are extremely critical about our work at times. But I think that helps us to be on our toes, we really put in a lot of thought before taking a step forward. This helps us in generating good content and the fact that people like it, brings in a lot of responsibilities.
What next can be expected from TVF? Any unventured territories you will be exploring?
Apart from a few comedy shows, we are planning on venturing into intense and hard-hitting drama. We have just finished writing a show which will come out later this year and it deals with a crime drama. That is something that we are looking at, but haven’t locked on the project yet. Besides there is also a workplace comedy coming out very soon. There is another show about teenagers, so there are a lot of things happening.