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Permanent Roommates: Going the web way

A still from YouTube group The Viral Fever’s web series Permanent Roommates.  

Kokila wakes up from a two-day coma, muttering incomprehensible words, and the serial ends there, leaving us on a supposed cliff-hanger. The following day, we are promised to be shown an amnesic Kokila.

These are the sort of storylines we see in everyday TV series. Nail biting? Not so much. Nerve wracking? Definitely. Sloppy scripts, high-end drama and long-drawn climaxes have made regional TV series more of a laughing stock than a meaningful show, worthy of our free hours. Mothers and grandmothers seem genetically driven to watch and weep over them, but what about us bored and insomnia-induced binge watchers of television series who have no access to Netflix? Worry not, for India has been faring very well in the web series department, giving us reason to abandon the ‘nothing to watch’ refrain.

Popular YouTube group ‘The Viral Fever’ came out with two new web series recently. Their first one, Permanent Roommates, earned rave reviews from audiences, mainly because of its fresh story angle and execution. The series follows the life of Tanya and Mikesh, who have been in a long-distance relationship for three years. When Mikesh comes down from the U.S to propose to Tanya, he finds out that she’s not yet ready for such a commitment and the story takes off from there. The five-episode web series is the second most-viewed long-form web series in the world. “I found it very appealing because it has less drama and more substance. It is very realistic, relatable and addictive,” says Sneha Madhuri, a fan of the show.

The group followed this with another web series called ‘Pitchers’. The first episode of the show, which focuses on the life of four friends who plan to enter the start-up world, was released a few days ago.

Another web series that is showing a lot of promise in the new media circle these days is ‘Baked’. It is the story of a three not-so-bright university flat mates who start their own midnight food delivery service. Akash Mehta, co-creator of the show, says the show is, in a way, an honest representation of today’s youth. He, along with Vishwajoy Mukherjee and Saaduzzaman, wrote the script for this seven-episode show, conceptualising campus life, and at times, modifying and adding some of their fun college experiences into it, in a bid to create a sense of comedy through relatability. “We always planned to release it first as a web-series only. I feel that who your audiences are is as important as how large they are.

In the past decades, watching movies and soaps were a family or community activity, but with the introduction of laptops and websites like YouTube etc, it has become a private experience and people want to watch things that suit their taste and at their convenience,” says Akash. The concept of web series is nascent in India and a lot of such shows are being created by start-up groups and college students. However, most of them go unnoticed due to issues with funding and other facilities. “Web-series is still in its primary stage in India. As it grows, the infrastructure for it will develop, and make it the most effective medium of expression for any artist,” adds Akash.

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Printable version | Oct 24, 2020 7:07:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/permanent-roommates-going-the-web-way/article7329851.ece

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