It was a chat with her wedding planner friend a few years ago that led Zoya Akhtar to her latest subject of intrigue – Indian weddings – which forms the backdrop of her maiden web series Made in Heaven. The Amazon Prime Video original, which is written by Zoya, Reema Kagti and Alankrita Shrivastava, is a satire on modern Indian weddings.
“In India, people give prominence to your wedding day. There’s a lot of projection involved. It can be a beautiful and a sacred union if you are with the person you want to be with, but I don’t understand the hoopla around it. The show goes behind the scenes of the event that we borrow money for, go into debt. It’s more that than the actual marriage,” Zoya told an audience at the series’ premiere on Tuesday evening.
The Gully Boy director said she and filmmaker Nitya Mehra, who is the show-runner, had been wanting to develop a story on this subject since she had been privy to what goes into making a wedding come alive. The show has nine episodes and four directors including Nitya, Zoya Akhtar, Alankrita Shrivastava and Prashant Nair.
During the Q and A after the screening, organised by MAMI, Zoya shared that Nitya made sure the show looked seamless despite being helmed by different directors. “She was there since the inception. So, she knew the pitch. She had an umbrella view. Also, beyond a point, the actors got their parts very well. So, even if directors were changing, the actors knew where their characters were going. The crew also remained the same. So, it was actually very simple.”
The show’s primary cast includes Shobhita Dhulipala, Arjun Mathur, Jim Sarbh, Kalki Koechlin, Shashank Arora and Shivani Raghuvanshi of Titli fame. Also present at the screening was Alankrita Shrivastava, who assessed the difference in working on films and web.
The Lipstick Under My Burkha director said while both the platforms have the same purpose, to tell stories, a web series is a much more collaborative medium than movies, where the director alone has to shoulder all the responsibilities.
“I feel a series is far more collaborative. With a film, the onus is literally on the director, but with a series, it’s the creators, the writers, the show-runner and all the directors, everybody coming together. That makes it very different. Also, I feel you can delve deeper into characters. You have much more time and space. That’s quite exciting. You also have to shoot more in the same amount of time.”
Made in Heaven, produced by Excel Entertainment and Zoya’s Tiger Baby, begins streaming on Amazon Prime Video from March 8.
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