Sayani Gupta, Maanvi Gagroo, Kirti Kulhari and Bani J starrer Four More Shots Please 2 recently dropped on Amazon Prime Video. The web series is helmed by writer-director Nupur Asthana.
Asthana, who is still remembered for Hip Hip Hurray, recently interacted with indianexpress.com. She talked about Four More Shots Please 2, criticisms around the show and more.
Excerpts from the conversation:
How did Four More Shots Please 2 happen?
The creators approached me around three months before the show (season 1) released and they asked me to watch the show. They wanted me to tell them if I would like to come onboard. I saw the whole show on the edit table and felt that it was a story in which I could add my voice. The show is about four women, who are trying to live their lives on their own terms. And how often do you get an opportunity to tell such stories? So it was completely a no-brainer for me. Even when I had no idea if it would be well received, I just took the decision from my gut. The story is about every second or third girl in Mumbai, and I really felt I could add something to this.
You have helmed youth-based projects earlier. Was directing this a different experience?
Not really, these women may not be teenagers but are also pretty young. Everytime I do something based on young people, I make sure that it has something new in it. With Romil and Jugal, I attempted a homosexual story for the first time. And with this show, it’s all about female bonding, something that I had not explored entirely in any of my projects. So it was a great curve and challenge for me to dive in, and also quite exciting.
Since the characters were already shaped in the first season, was there any challenge to mould them as per your requirement?
The good thing was that since I was directing the entire 10 episodes, I didn’t have to follow a blueprint. I had the freedom to take it to a new level. So there wasn’t any challenge or pressure, neither did I feel held in. I was also quite involved in the writers room, which added to a free-flow affair. I have worked with Devika Bhagat and Ishita Moitra earlier, and I could add my voice and suggestions, which made things much easier
Which of these four characters did you relate most with?
(Laughs) That’s quite a difficult choice. Honestly, every woman will find a bit of each of these women in them.
The last season received its share of criticism. A lot of people felt it was too urban for women in small towns to relate with. Your take on the same.
The beauty of OTT platforms is that there is a show for everyone – be it urban or rural. I feel the more localised you are, you can be truer to the material. I wouldn’t want to shape my girls in the city to something I imagine that rural women would like. They are south Mumbai girls and will be in a certain way. Also, with shows like these, polarised opinions are bound to happen and I am okay with that. However, as per research, a large part of the audience comes from tier 2 and 3. These girls may be fashion forward but their emotions are universal. The USP of Four More Shots Please is the connect that women find with the characters.
Years back, there were shows on female friendships like Tara, but we haven’t seen anything like that in recent times. The audience is lapping up such stories on the web. Do you feel TV can also have such shows?
I don’t really think so. However, Tara can work quite well on an OTT platform. I think powerful stories can be made everywhere but when it comes to television, the visual style will have to change a lot. How I tell the story depends a lot on the media, given that there are broadcast guidelines on the small screen. But if you say a show on women friendship can be made on television, well, hell yeah!
What’s next for you?
I am working on a film script, which I was hoping to start shooting in October. But now with things delayed, I really don’t know when will that start.
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