In 2016, when Mira, essayed by Swara Bhaskar, decided to spread her wings and explore a life outside the marriage-husband-child gamut, in It’s Not That Simple (INTS), season 1, it was a new start of sorts. The narrative of a woman trying to have it all was still being handled with kid gloves by mainstream media. The show directed by filmmaker Danish Aslam, streamed on Voot, the digital arm of Viacom 18, is now in its second season and takes the story of Mira forward, as she juggles the role of a single mother, a successful architect and also deals with her desires. There are new actors as well — the darling of the digital space Sumeet Vyas is seen, and Purab Kohli plays the editor of a news start up. We caught up with Aslam, and he elaborated on why the show was relevant in today’s time. Excerpts:
In the second season of INTS, we see other layers, across a cross-section of characters.
The second season is written by Charudutt Acharya, who also penned season 1. The first season was a fairly insular story. It centred around a character and her husband, their child and two potential lovers. With the second season, we took the title of the show and applied it to various facets of relationships — a father and daughter, a bisexual person and a lesbian one, there is a young-adult couple as well. We also wanted to explore many inter-sex narratives to portray the change we are witnessing as a society.
The show makes a distinct commentary on #MeToo movement and consent.
We wrote the lines about consent when the movement had not started here yet. We shot the show in May-June, 2018. We wanted to get as many current and relevant inferences in the show, and if we can do it in a non-overwhelming way, then why not?
We have seen the explosion of the digital space. Do you think INTS would work on the big screen, given that you directed Break Ke Baad?
When I was asked this question in 2016, it was my first web series. I was excited to do it because the story appealed to me. I would have loved to make it as a movie, but I also knew that simultaneously it would never be made unless a Deepika or an Alia were attached to it. The advantage here in the digital platform is, you can work with the people whom you want to work with — and cast them on the basis of their acting talent and not box-office returns. Today however, I feel that streaming has impacted the palate of the Indian viewer. It’s a small gradual change, visible more in the urban space. And we see how the big movies have not worked, and smaller interesting, new concepts, content heavy stories are being received well. Today my answer to the question is a potential yes.
What’s next for you? Any films in the offing?
I am directing Flesh, another web series. As of now, there are no films. But if something really riveting comes along, I am open to the idea.