Friday, June 14, 2024

Arunabh hints at Pitchers Season 2 being meaner & better

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Amartya Smaran

In 2015, TVF came up with a fantastic web series titled Pitchers, which attained cult-like status. The series is about four guys trying to make it big in the startup world. In the process, they come face-to-face with real-life problems like quitting their comfortable jobs for an endeavour that doesn’t promise success.

Six years after the release of season one, the second installment of TVF Pitchers is going to premiere on December 23 on Zee5. Ahead of its release, the lead cast of the franchise took some time from their busy schedule to talk to The Pioneer about the riveting series. In a world, where a zillion seasons of shows are being churned out year after year, the makers of Pitchers stayed put for six long years. Although TVF has been continuously producing some interesting and groundbreaking content, all that fans wanted was a new season of Pitchers. So, why wait any longer?

Let’s ask Arunabh Kumar, the creator of the show, what kept them away, “Fortunately or unfortunately, we started making web series when something like that didn’t exist. All of the OTT platforms were about to go live. So, a lot of these things were happening, and we also didn’t know what we were making. That’s what I keep telling people. I used to tell them that we ended up inventing the car before there were roads. When we made season 1, people started appreciating it, and the series got such a positive reputation. Then there was real pressure on us to up our game for the next season, and we thought it would be better to wait for the right partners. Finally, we had Zee 5, one of the biggest platforms, who said we want to take the first long-form premium content and work on season 2. After they got on board, we started the creative process, and anyway, writing takes time. It takes around a year to write a 100-minute film, and this series is approximately 300 minutes. Therefore, it took us a lot of time to do the research to keep the content authentic.”

Season one starts with an interesting analogy: when Naveen’s character is going through a midlife crisis, a successful entrepreneur grabs the beer bottle to explain why he needs to come out of his comfort zone and asks him a pertinent question, “Who are you?” This one question is the hook for season one, and so we asked Naveen Kasturia the same question. To this, he says, “Who am I? I’m still trying to figure it out (haha). It’s tough to limit yourself to one thing, but I think I’m so many things at once. I’m a mixture of everything. I’m a cocktail, actually,” mused the performer.

Ridhi Dogra is the new addition to the show, and when asked about what made her say yes to the project, she replied, “Getting to work with TVF made me say yes. There was no way I was going to let go of this opportunity. I’ve always sort of looked for people who don’t find it funny when I ask ridiculous questions because I need a certain level of comfort. In my process of figuring out what I want to do with the character, I can become quite stupid because I just ask. I knew that TVF was trying to break all the barriers in many ways, but they were extremely original and authentic to themselves. So, all those reasons made me very comfortable with wanting to work with them. I had my reservations and doubts as to why they wanted a woman to play this character. “Once the makers gave their reasons, I put all my reservations aside.”

People who watched the previous season took a great liking to the organic writing and performances. Speaking of what went on behind the scenes in the writer’s room, Arunabh commented, “Season 1 was beautifully written and directed by Biswapti Sarkar. He is one of the best writers in this country, and I was very happy when they liked the story that I wanted to create and came on board. When we started working on season 2, we had discussions and took some of his opinions as to how we should approach it.
When we sat down for season two, it became clear to us that we needed to maintain the spirit of season 1, yet this is a plot-driven story, so it will move forward in season 2. Later, we went about meeting a lot of real-life entrepreneurs and founders. Vaibhav and I, along with our writing team, thought we shouldn’t ape Season 1, but stay true to its spirit. This season has a lot more sadness and drama than in season 1. I remember Garima (the writer) telling me in the writer’s room that this season was going to get a lot meaner and unkind. Pitchers season 2 has a lot of interesting things.”

Naveen won many hearts with his impeccable acting, leading the disoriented pack in season one of Pitchers. Here, he takes us through his acting process, “I was honestly very dependent on the makers this time, and I was simply trying to create what they wanted from me as an actor. We all interpret texts and prepare in a certain way, but at the end of the day, it is someone else’s vision. I would just rely on them and create truthful moments. If the show looks good, everyone looks good. Apart from that, I didn’t do much homework. They taught me much about the start-up world and its jargon. If people like the show, they’ll like me too.”

Ridhi Dogra, who’s extensively worked in the television industry, spoke about the many challenges she faced while shooting for the show. “Now that I come from the television world, I am used to playing full-fledged characters where you can work magic with a character if you use your intelligence and add another dimension to it. What I find challenging about the OTT world is that there are a lot of things that are intangible, and a lot of things will never be said. Sometimes it is just two dialogues, and you have to show so much within that time frame. I felt that was the most challenging aspect of the project. That’s when I realised that the job of an actor is to simplify complications.”

Wrapping up the exciting interview, Arunabh put forward his thoughts on what he’s really looking forward to for this season, “There are certain creative choices that we’ve made trying to stay true to the world of startups and entrepreneurs. 99% of the time, what happens is that when one of the founders has a difference of opinion, they leave the company. We had to cover this track, and we covered another track where relationships break. To understand how these characters come back together, one needs to watch the show. I’m mostly excited for people who haven’t seen the show before. That’s really exciting for us as makers.”

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