WHEN The Viral Fever (TVF), the popular online web channel graduates from making quick-fire viral spoofs to producing original, episodic mini-series, cinematographer and composer Vaibhav Bundhoo’s role has just become bigger.
“I like the intersection of music and visuals,” says Bundhoo, seated inside TVF’s new office in Aaramnagar in Andheri, Mumbai. In the past few months, the TVF team has slogged to meet the deadline for Pitchers, their latest web series that revolves around the lives of four individuals who aspire to open a start-up. In what is a first for an Indian web-series, the season finale of the show was aired on August 30.
The success of TVF’s web series is being perceived as a significant moment in the youth entertainment category. Vijay Nair, the co founder of Only Much Louder, management company for independent content in India, tweeted on Wednesday, “Pitchers by TVF is by far the best show I have seen in India. It’s the first among many blows to old school networks and production houses.” Outfits such as TVF work on budgets lesser than that of TV and films and yet they can’t afford to look tacky. Here is where Bundhoo’s expertise comes to the fore. There is a marked improvement in the look and sound of the content produced by the outfit.
A scene in the second episode of Pitchers, for example, is set in a college hostel. It is shot in the premises of a Mumbai college, but Bundhoo’s camera makes it look like a psychedelic underground den owned by video game geeks. The use of trip hop-soaked Hindustani vocals further amps up the scene. Bundhoo explains how the content for an outfit like theirs has strived to become more ‘cinematic’ with each new production.
“When I shot my first video – Lage Raho Shetty Bhai – I thought it was visually flat. Since then we’ve only improved aesthetically. We have three cameras since we work in restricted budgets but now we use better lens, such as the cinemascope technology,” he says.
As with the ‘sound’, Bundhoo’s versatility as a musician has helped TVF experiment with their content. If he churned out peppy numbers for their spoofs – Maula mere party kara de tu and Tere naina hai al Qaeda, his contribution to Permanent Roommates was a compilation of an eclectic range of songs: from artistes such as RD Burman to Wayne Newton. His theme for Pitchers, on the other hand, is an electronica-based track.
Cinematography and composing music isn’t a common combination but Bundhoo’s propensity for both art forms has found the perfect foil in TVF’s ad hoc working ethos. Most of the core members of TVF are multi-taskers: they write, direct and act.
“Each of us think like filmmakers,” says Bundhoo, who came to Mumbai in 2013 with a basic knowledge of filmmaking – he was in his second year of a bachelor’s degree in filmmaking when the college shut down. Following that he has worked in theatre in Delhi, as a photographer in London before putting down roots in Mumbai.