Nidhi Bisht, one of the core members of the TVF team is hard-working and committed to work, and her positive energy stems from the effortless involvement she puts in to make every project of hers ‘relatable’ and ‘acceptable’!!
She heads Girliyapa, one of the popular entities of TVF as the Creative Head, and has recently worked through the launch of Girliyapa’s newest series, PA-GALS Season 2.
She’s a talented creative mind, at the same time, is a great writer, director and actor too.
In an exclusive and detailed chat with IWMBuzz.com, Nidhi talks about TVF and Girliyapa’s latest launches, the connect that TVF has with the audience and much more.
PA-GALS – how has the making of the two seasons been for you?
It has been a fun process altogether. PA-GALS is a ‘Friends’ version set with the backdrop of an apartment. While many stories focussed on the work life and career of people, we thought of connecting with the phase of life wherein one is away from the comforts of home. Being away from home can take a toll on a person’s life. And in this case, if you have friends and flat mates who can make up for your family, nothing like it. When I initially came to Mumbai, I also experienced this phase. Hence I thought of writing around this friendship between flat mates.
How easy or tough was it to bring in Akanksha Thakur for Prajakta Koli in Season 2?
The Season 2 was a tough process as we knew amidst our writing, that Prajakta Koli will not be able to be a part of it. It was a tricky decision to take, and break the news to the audience and also to see how they will react to the change. However, I strongly believe that there is a solution to every problem. If you see in the episodes, we have created a lot of curiosity over who the third flat mate will be, wherein the girls interview many girls. So our first episode of Season 2 was mostly about telling viewers about Disha getting out of the apartment, and Sonali (Ronjini Chakraborty) and Mamta (Srishti Shrivastava) looking for that lucky third girl to join them. At the end of the episode, all get to know of Akanksha coming in as Wiki.
With a strong hold in the casting department, how does it help you when you are looking for your new characters and actors playing it?
As far as casting goes, I go by my gut. I am from a theatre background, and have a fair idea of how the character should appear on screen. When I saw Srishti, I was very sure that she will be part of the series. I have worked earlier with Ronjini and I knew I had my Sonali in her. The energy that Prajakta gave to Disha was awesome. And when Prajakta was gone, I wanted to get in a trustworthy actor who could tighten up the ensemble cast. I knew Akanksha for sometime and I am happy that she came on board. Luckily, I cast people and don’t cast characters. I don’t look at them with the notion of seeing them as a hero or villain; I cast human beings and want them to look my characters. When you see the PA-GALS together, they look so great. Touchwood, I have been able to think different and things have fallen in place till now.
How do you manage to bring in the variety that you bring in at TVF?
AT TVF, everyone is nurtured to narrate their own stories. We sit around together and help each other to bring out a better and strong script. When I started with the concept of PA-GALS, everyone helped me with the basic format and helped me place my characters right. This has been the culture at TVF, and that is why a variety of stories come out.
What do you think is the connecting factor that TVF has with audience?
The connect is to watch what one makes. I watch what I totally believe in. There is a certain power that attracts the Universe and bringing such stories is phenomenal. If you have watched TVF’s Yeh Meri Family, you would understand the thought of first bringing the characters and story into the Universe and then taking it forward. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Yeh Meri Family as a viewer, as much as I enjoyed the creation process of it. I could myself relate to a lot of things with the story line. That is the connection level that TVF has with the audience. You need to stay honest to the moment and believe that this is the story you want to tell.
You have been a Writer, Director and also an actor. Which is the one that you enjoy doing the most?
I enjoy different things at different times. On the set of Mr. & Mrs., I enjoy acting. I have my cute character to play on, and the beautiful dialogues and great situations to react to. At the same time, I look forward to being on the sets of PA-GALS because of the lovely cast and crew it has. It’s an awesome feeling directing these ‘paagal ladkiyaan’…. Also, I enjoy being in my Writer’s room, especially when we are brainstorming and figuring out a project when it is new. So I love all my roles. But if you ask me to still pick one, I will say acting. After that, will come direction and then the writer.
Do you feel web space is male-dominated?
I would like to believe that it is not true. See the problem is that viewers on the web space are more of the males and less of females. But the good thing is that the ladies are catching up and are prime audiences of PA-GALS on Girliyapa. The Universe is the limit. Girliyapa is a small entity in the vast internet ocean. But we are proud to be the only one of this stature in the whole country. Sky is the limit and we will grow.
What is your take on web content having censorship?
Well, I don’t know if you are aware, but there has been some line of censorship already put in place. We need to fill in certain forms while submitting our videos on YouTube. I guess soon we will have more of streamlining and licensing getting involved.
How do you keep yourself updated about the happenings around you?
I try to read a lot. I also watch a lot of things that are playing on; I enjoy watching Netflix, Amazon and Hot Star. In the evenings, I try to practice my improvisations with my small gang. This is how I unleash my creative mind.
What lies ahead in the acting front for you?
Well, we have more episodes of Mr. & Mrs. Coming, and that’s about acting. I can’t talk about certain things right now.
Who is it that you idolize in your domain?
Well, I thoroughly enjoy following the works of Reese Witherspoon the producer and actress of Big Little Lies. It’s interesting to read about her great work as Producer.
How do you see the digital content space evolving in the near future?
Well, we have more and more players coming in and so many new platforms being launched everyday. Over a period of time, things will get streamlined as I said before. There will be a bunch of good creatives, and then there will be so many shows coming in everyday. That will be a time when one needs to keep updated, and understand what to watch.
Will we see a day when the digital space will take all prominence that TV has today?
The next few years are certainly going to be big for the web space. Earlier we had radio and that is when TV started as a new medium. This is what will happen now. But in no way will the digital space replace TV. Television will not fade away. At the same time, it is the right time for the digital market to bloom. Today, I see my nana (grandfather), mama (uncle), having their own Jio connections on mobiles. We have interesting times ahead and we need to see how the market proceeds.
What has been your biggest learning so far in your creative journey?
‘Sar jhukao… aur kaam karo’. Also, one should have a detachment process, and have the habit of moving on and get detached with the project that has been done with. The challenge is to work and move on to the next….
How do you see competition on the web space?
See, I don’t look at it like a competition. It is good that film makers, directors, writers and actors get a chance to work on the web space. This is a big positive change. Earlier, we used to read in newspapers about the dates of Ranbir Kapoor being booked till the next two years. Now, we are into a time when even the writers’ dates are booked for the next two years (smiles). It is really good for the ‘creative junta’. I hope this phase continues forever. There is lot of money in the market and sustenance is no longer an issue. So it is time for us to come up with better stories and scripts. So I don’t look at this as competition. I see it as an opportunity for more hard working people to come in and make a mark for themselves.
Your tips for aspiring content makers…
Follow your heart and put your mind in the right place. I think when I started out, I never gave so much of thought on the ways of working. I followed my gut and was a very enthusiastic person and still continue to be so. Don’t let the super enthusiasm in your story to fade away and always give your 200 percent.
Tell us about the new TVF shows in the anvil.
Well, at the moment I can only give you the news of Tripling 2 happening. So you can look forward to that.