E-Summit '16 ended on a high note with a performance and interaction session with the members of The Viral Fever (TVF) media labs. Third year members of Panacea, Gourav and Paritosh, got a chance to interact with them personally. Here is a transcript of their conversation.
Paritosh: We know that Jitendra and most of the other members of TVF are IIT alumus, but we don’t know about you much (talking to Abhay and Maanvi). What’s your background?
Gourav: How did you come across Pitchers and how did it happen for you?
Abhay: I was in Pune for 9-10 years. I was doing mostly Marathi theater and Marathi films. I completed my B. Com. and started doing theater. Then I studied dance in Bangalore for a year. I came back and taught body awareness to actors. I was doing one of the shows of a play. That time, Nidhi was casting for Pitchers and she saw me. Then I auditioned for Pitchers. And that's how Pitchers happened for me.
Maanvi: I finished my schooling in Delhi. At that time, there was this Disney show happening in India. It was Disney's first show in Hindi. So they had auditioned people in Delhi. I was also a dancer and that's how they called me. I got selected for the role. It was in Bombay and I was in my first year of college so I came for three months and then returned to studies and finished my college. I returned in between to shoot a film. I didn't want to do acting at all, I wanted to study. I was doing psychology in Delhi. But then I got many good reviews for the film Aamras. So I moved to Bombay and since then I've been acting. And Nidhi, who casts for TVF, was my old friend. We did theater together. She'd called me for a role of the girl whom Abhay’s character (Mandal) meets in the cafe. But that role was too bubbly for me. Then Amit Golani, the director of Pitchers, wanted to try me for the role of Shreya. So I did one scene and they really liked it. The next day I did my scene with Naveen. And since we knew each other from before, our chemistry was really good. So they took me (laughs). That's my story.
Gourav: Jitu sir, how did you get here? After graduating from IIT-KGP how did you associate with TVF?
Jitendra: I did a lot of plays in college and enjoyed it a lot. When I was in the third year of my college, Biswapathi Sarkar had directed a hit play and I went to him and told him that I wanted to do some funny plays too. He agreed and called me for a play that he had written. It was a 2 character play which lasted for an hour. After that we did a couple of other plays too. That’s how I got into acting, plays and storytelling. After that, Arunabh got in touch with us and told us about his plans to start a YouTube channel and post funny videos. He wanted to shoot something in IIT Bombay but couldn't because he didn't get the permission to. I was called for that but it didn't work out. That's how I was introduced to TVF. After college, I didn't get a job. Bisso told me that he was joining TVF and asked me to come with him. That's how I joined. But I didn't enjoy it initially. My family too started questioning my choices. So I had to leave after 4 months. However I had already shot 2-3 videos till then. But those videos were not uploaded while I was still a part of the team. They did upload them later and got good reviews and I was asked to return. So, 9 months into my job, I quit and returned to TVF.
Gourav: Sir, were Biswapathi Sarkar and Arunabh your seniors in KGP?
Jitendra: Yeah, Biswapathi Sarkar was a year senior to me. Arunabh was an alumni.
Paritosh: Sir, you seem like a very serious person. Even on the stage, you became serious at few instances. Are you really a serious person or is it just the looks?
Gourav: Yeah because your roles are the most comical and we enjoy yours the most.
Jitendra: No I'm not really a serious person.
Maanvi: He is serious about his acting and his career but otherwise, he is cool.
Abhay: Even during the show today, everyone was asking questions about Pitchers. They think that our personalities on the show reflect our real life persona. But we are really different in our real lives.
Gourav: Sir, as a fellow IITian, would you like to share some of your experiences? Any instance with teachers or something fun you did with your friends?
Jitendra: Yeah we had a lot of fun. We used to gather in the common rooms and interact with the freshers. So one day all the juniors were sitting and we were talking with them. There was this very strict professor, from my department, who used to look really young. He came and sat with us. We didn't notice him and continued with our chats. Suddenly someone realized, he had never seen this guy before. Then I recognized him and we all got really scared. But, he didn't say anything and just walked off. So yeah, that is one experience.
Gourav: Abhay sir, do you have any plans of joining Bollywood. I mean you look really dashing.
Jitendra: He actually started from Bollywood. He's done a couple of films, which are yet to release. Day before yesterday, his film won an award at the Pune Film Festival.
Abhay: Thank you. It was a Marathi film. All of us are getting a few offers right now. And we're choosing what to do and what not to do. So whatever you see us in, it'll be good.
Paritosh: So how does it work at TVF? Do only a few people at the top are involved or does the whole team decide and plan together?
Abhay: Everyone at TVF is involved in the core part of it. We have a big discussion about it. Despite being distributed into smaller teams working on their series, everyone discusses about the narration and the jokes. This is done for every script, video and series.
Gourav: Sir, as you said, you have 7-8 new series coming out soon. Can we have any ideas about the genre and what it is about?
Jitnedra: Every genre will be covered. You already know about Pitchers. There's also a romantic Permanent Roommates series coming out soon. We're also trying an out-and-out comedy biopic series. There is a thriller space, some horror, a wild zone and even a family show. So there's something for everyone.
Gourav: Great! Ma'am what plans do you have with TVF? Where do you see yourself in the future with regard to TVF?
Maanvi: I've known these people for quite some time despite Pitchers being my first series. I want these guys to succeed and TVF to reach the levels of Disney and Yash Raj. None of us have relatives or support in this industry like, say, Ranbir Kapoor had because his father is Rishi Kapoor. We are just a bunch of guys who decided to do something different on our own. We struggled initially but we worked hard. These guys are technically good and creative and they deserve credit. They have everything from good and entertaining content to strong reach. It’s really nice. Everyone enjoys it. I just want them to keep going and do more content of that sort.
Paritosh: TVF was the first channel of its kind. After that the likes of EIC and AIB came along. How does it feel to be the pioneer in this field?
Jitendra: It’s good. It’s competitive now. We have to maintain our standards and do our job. We don't really bother ourselves with what the others are doing. They have their own story and we have ours. And eventually, we'll all want to work together.
Gourav: That’s great. Thank you for this lovely interview.
Paritosh: Thank You!