Pocket Aces is continuing to find innovative ways to create new content to keep its audiences constantly engaged during lockdown. With this, it has returned with the second season of its successful series ‘Firsts’ on its long-form channel Dice Media. The season stars popular digital actors and real-life couple Kriti Vij and Pranay Manchanda.
The season unveils the story of Aman (30), a fun-loving marketing executive and Tanya (28), a software developer with an optimistic approach to life, being stuck at their respective homes amidst the ongoing lockdown. We see the two being vulnerable, go through the ups and downs of long periods of isolation, trying out new things together, consoling each other through their lows and most anxious moments, and finally meeting after the lockdown ends
In conversation with IWMBuzz.com, Kriti and Pranay spoke about the experience shooting at home and more.
How was your experience working indoors for the series?
Kriti: We did not have any other choice hence it was fun working indoors. It was amazing as we had to create two distinct and different spaces for both the characters because we’re showing them from different houses. We were shooting from the same place so that was an interesting challenge and it was fun.
Pranay: It is definitely better than working outdoors (smiles). I would always choose to work indoors if I had to pick one.
What was the most challenging part?
Pranay: There were a few but it was all a learning experience. Because, you know, we had no tripod to shoot hence had to innovate. You know, bearing in mind, neither Kriti nor I have ever shot something before like this without a DOP. Luckily we had our DOP who was on call and we were troubling them day and night figuring out lighting, and other things. But I think because we have been able to overcome the challenges, we enjoyed the process.
Kriti: Also, we had tapped the selfie sticks on doors to shoot, which was very interesting. And of course, we learned so much along the way so it was a lot of fun.
What is the intriguing factor which will excite audiences to watch the series?
Pranay: I think a lot of people are in that position right now where they are single, they want to meet new people, but because of this lockdown, they are not able to actually meet people and through these dating sites there are new ways to be able to actually meet new people, not only for romantic relationships but also building friendships and building new connections. I think relating that aspect to the show would be quite interesting.
Kriti: For the first time, I think in the history of civilization, the entire globe has been hit by the exact same problem, so for this show, to not be relatable is just not possible. I think everyone will relate to it easily.
Pranay, you directed the series, so how was the experience?
It was absolutely amazing. I really enjoyed directing. I’ve directed plays before and a short film. But nothing on screen and as elaborate as this. And because this was a sort of crash course in filmmaking, not only direction. It was a big learning experience for me. And, of course, working with Kriti was a lot of fun because we have that working relationship hence we could try different things. It was exciting to have that one minute limit and making sure that the story comes out in that one minute, so all these challenges were more exciting for me making it an enriching experience.
How are you spending your quarantine time?
Kriti: It took about 12 to 13 days of lockdown period to shoot the series. Other than that, I think the first two weeks I was trying to just get used to the idea of what is happening. But now we’re getting used to it, I guess. We understand that this is something that will take time hence we are trying to keep as busy as possible at home. I started cooking. I didn’t think I was capable of doing it and I’m really surprising myself every day.
Have you explored something new during your free time?
Kriti: I am catching up with my friends.
Pranay: I am trying to write something. I am trying to find new ways of doing the same old thing with newness. Of course, there’s been a little bit of cooking but I can’t be as successful as Kriti. I am watching a lot of sports that I haven’t seen before. I am really enjoying learning about other people’s experiences in different industries.
How important is it for a couple to spend time at the same time give space to each other?
Kriti: I think they’re both equally important. We all need a little mental space to be able to understand what is going on and to be honest this is a traumatic time for the entire world. So there are bad days and good days. Sometimes you wake up with the really awful mood and you don’t want to speak to anyone. It is also very important to stay connected and to spend time with people because everyone is going through the same phase. We have to be as comforting to somebody as we need to be with ourselves as well.
Pranay: You are absolutely right that spending quality time and giving each other your own personal space is equally important and there needs to be a balance between the two. And I think the people who are really sort of successfully doing that have a fundamental of respect within them. We must respect the way the other person is feeling. As Kriti said, it is a traumatic experience and we shouldn’t shy away from saying that this is affecting our mental health.
What are you missing the most during the lockdown?
Kriti: I miss going to the Mamagoto restaurant. I am missing traffic jams and things that I used to hate.
Pranay: I miss things like playing gully cricket. I miss doing activities with people.
What is the first thing you will do post lockdown?
Kriti: There would be many things.
Pranay: I think the lockdown will lift but I think we all need to be prepared that social distancing is still going to be a norm. So I don’t think we’ll be able to do a lot of the things that we actually want to do. But at the same time, we have to enjoy and have as much fun as we can in life.
Any message for fans?
Kriti and Pranay: Watch our series Firsts. It is fun and you will enjoy it. Stay home and stay safe. This will definitely pass.