If there’s one word that aptly describes The Viral Fever’s brand of shows, it’s ‘Relatable’, with a capital ‘R’. Heck, there’s not a single aspect of the millennial’s life that these guys have not touched upon with their exceptionally relatable content. It’s like they’ve found permanent residence in the minds of youngsters, and know exactly what the millennial wants; and even how to serve it to them. Through their eminently relatable web shows, that’s how! (And with this para, I’ve broken my own self-imposed rule of not repeating the same word throughout a write-up, after using it once, vocab Nazi that I am. But holy crap, I’ve used ‘relatable’ thrice in the same paragraph!).
But TVF’s content does that to you – makes you lose yourself in its effervescent eddy of engaging evocation.
College admissions prep – they’ve been there, done that; hostel days – tell us something new; dreaming of and executing a start-up – well, we’re still waiting for Season 2, guys. And now, they’ve gone and created a show that chronicles something that takes place in the life of every young ‘un – uh no, it’s NOT puberty.
Cubicles, latest from the stables of TVF, is a series that captures vivid vignettes from the debut of a youngster in the mind-numbing world of jobs. Every youngster has faced that first day in office – the trepidation, the terror of the unknown, when they step out of the sheltered world of their college and alma mater, to step gingerly into a whole new world of work life.
So we have young, fresh-faced, wet-behind-the-ears Piyush Prajapati (Abhishek Chauhan) walk into his new company to begin his first day at his coding job. Of course, an engineering-related job for a TVF protagonist is a must, for the company is populated by IITians, all of whom live, breathe and get high on engineering. The beginning isn’t too great for our naïve young Piyush. His first day at office begins with him being denied access into his floor, making an enemy out of the systems guy, Angad (Shivankit Singh Parihar) because of the botched up access system, and then being censured by the HR person, Supriya (Khushbu Baid), for being late to office on the first day itself.
But from then on, things get progressively better. Now, generally, it’s a dog-eat-dog word out there, especially in the uber-competitive corporate world. Yikes, that certainly sounds fearsome. But in the rainbow-coloured world that TVF creates with such deft skill and assured coolness, even the darned world of a new job seems like a dreamland.
There’s no dog-eat-dog milieu in a TVF show, for heaven’s sake. Instead, there are benign, lovable and cute colleagues, Gautam (Badri Chavan), Naveen (Niketan Sharma); a supportive boss, Mahendra (Sameer Saxena); and a lifegyaan-giving HR head, Megha (Nidhi Bisht), who mostly has Piyush’s back, but at the same time is startlingly blunt and blasé. Despite Megha’s bluntness, Piyush, greenhorn that he is, talks nineteen to the dozen with her, trying to ingratiate himself into her good books. The result is several hilarious conversations between the two, which magically turn into evocative life-lessons that every member of gen-next will relate with.
Each episode of Cubicles deals with a distinct issue in a newbie coder’s life – be it the anxious wait for the first salary; living on bowls of Maggi with your roomie (Arnav Bhasin) for sustenance; attraction towards a pretty colleague; good-natured ribbing, and the like.
Of course, since the series is backed by a mutual funds and investments firm, there is the mandatory lecturing from Piyush’s strict father (Rajendra Chawla) to invest money in mutual funds instead of squandering it away on frivolous show-sha. Listening to him going on, we aren’t surprised that the ‘Ok Boomer’ trend has caught on like wild fire. Gosh, even though we were on the other side of the screen, there was nothing more we wanted than to tell him – Ok Boomer!
At its heart, Cubicles is that series that can put you in a good mood even when you’re screaming blue murder. But then, isn’t that how every TVF series is? Cubicles puts a smile on your face despite yourself, and you’re soon humming along with its eminently hummable songs. The title track, especially, gets on your mind like the proverbial ear worm. The dialogues are sublime and though-provoking, without sounding preachy and overbearing, making you ponder over a lot of things, things that are common place in all of our lives.
The entire setting is so cool and refreshing that we wish all of us had such work environs to go to daily. Jeez, we even start expecting violins to strum in the background and a gently blowing wind ruffling Piyush’s hair to add to the magic when he walks into office every day. Chaitanya Kumbhakonum’s direction is on-point, while the writing, by Amit Golani, Avinash Singh and Vijay Narayan Verma is sparkling and real. The fourth episode, especially, has several sharp lines that stay with you for a long long time. It is the one where Piyush gets attracted to his colleague Richa (Srishti Rindani).
Abhishek Chauhan is superb as Piyush, as is his friend and roomie Kalpesh (Arnav Bhasin). Abhishek’s earnestness in his acting comes across as clearly as the sun on a clear, cloudless day. A special mention for Nidhi Bisht is essential. She is that calm and comforting being in the series that spreads warmth and cheer by her very presence in every frame – just like a bowl of delicious hot chocolate does, on a cold wintry day.
All said and done, Cubicles is an incandescent web series, feel-good and much-needed in today’s stressful times, when peer-pressured youngsters are more compelled to be drawn into arm-chair activism than arm-chair relaxation.
In the meanwhile, 3.5 is our rating for TVF’s Cubicles.