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On a shoestring budget, Pune’s own first ‘web series’ goes online

Puneites Unnikrishnan Nair and Shoyeb Shaikh have come together to air their first web series Kirdaar on May 25.

pune Updated: Jun 21, 2017 17:57 IST
Anjali Shetty
Anjali Shetty
Hindustan Times, Pune
Web Series,Kirdaar,Pune
’Kirdaar’ is a story of two young boys who are trying to create something big.(HT PHOTO)

A group of students from Pune has launched the city’s first ‘web series’ — a nine-episode video series on YouTube revolving around the story of a stage creation.

The web series ‘Kirdaar’ by media students Unnikrishnan Nair and Shoyeb Shaikh tell the story of two young boys trying to put together their magnum opus — a stage show.

Shot in the locales of Pune, the web series was put together on a tight budget. Unnikrishnan said, “We shot in a lot of locations in Pune like an old ‘haveli’ on MG Road, the ‘basti’ in Sadashiv Peth, cafes and roads of Aundh, a ‘chai tapri’ at Wakad among other places. It has been shot almost entirely in Pune and I personally believe that it captures the essence of the city really well. It’s young, it’s ambitious and most importantly it’s got a heart.”

Generally, a web series doesn’t really give you an immediate income or monetary assurance. Agreeing with the statement, Unnikrishan said, “We are struggling financially right now, but we keep our expenses to a minimum, try not to complain and manage to get by. We always knew that money was going to be a huge issue in the beginning and the entire team is prepared for it.”

Produced by Begaana Pictures, the title Kirdaar came about when after writing the entire script the team realised that even more than the story the characters were more impactful.

Unnikrishnan Nair and Shoyeb Shaikh (not in picture) are childhood friends and are always interested in doing things ‘differently’. (HT PHOTO)

Unnikrishnan said, “These are characters that you would love to have as friends. I have been writing this story for over a year now. It is largely based on the experiences of my life and people around me. Over the course of the year, as I had new experiences, the story began to change and by the end of it, it was completely different from the first draft that I had written. It was better!”

He goes on to add that the casting process was a mixture of auditions, requests and a certain amount of pleading. “We auditioned a lot of people for roles that we thought none of our friends fit, we requested our actor friends that fit the description of our characters to join the project and pleaded some senior artists to help us out,”he said.

A screenshot from the upcoming web series ‘Kirdaar’. (HT PHOTO)

The team also faced obstacles, and still are. One of the biggest problems was the constantly changing schedule due to unavoidable reasons like crew members suffering from injuries or last-minute changes in locations or actors having prior commitments.

”But we always found a way to make it work and finish the entire shoot within the planned time frame. It was an experience like no other. When you’re an assistant director on a mega-budget production, you don’t even get to know that most of these issues exist. Here, our entire team sat together and brainstormed for a solution. The exercise helped in binding us together as a family. Now the family is struggling to promote the series. It’s not an easy task even for veterans, let alone rookies like us,”he said.

The team received support from the most unexpected places. Just over a random phone call, Beetroot Bistro and ABC Farms gave them their location to shoot for six hours when they had no other option . The DIMR campus at Balewadi gave them their personal space, even allowed them to construct a set within it and never interfered in the shooting process which lasted for seven days.

Though the team was aware of the financial troubles that they could run into, they still worked together to make it through all the difficulties. (HT PHOTO)

“We got a lot of support from the residents of Kashewadi ‘basti’. It almost felt like all of Pune wanted us to just make this happen. That’s why we are proud Puneites. We stand by each other. But mostly we received enormous support from our families. None of this, I repeat, none of this would have even begun if even one of our parents would have raised an issue. I respect and love all the families of my teammates just as much as I do my own.”

How did Begaana pictures form? Unnikrishnan said, “I have known Shoyeb Shaikh (director – ‘Kirdaar’) for 16 years now. We grew up together and even as kids we were a little ‘different’ than those of our age in the neighbourhood. We had “crazy ideas” that nobody wanted to be a part of. But that never stopped us. We did what we had to. From starting a book sharing platform amongst our friends at the age of 10 to running a summer camp for younger kids at age 14 to co-founding Begaana Pictures at 21, it was just an organic progress. The day we decided to stop working for other people and start working for ourselves besides creating the kind of content we wanted to create, Begaana Pictures was born. Born with the intent to become the voice of an ADHD generation that has countless, outrageous stories to tell.”

The team
  • Shoyeb Shaikh: Co Founder
  • Coo: Begaana Pictures
  • Susmita Nagare: Company manager
  • Nikhil Tiwari: Handles the financial and legal aspects of everything.
  • Unnikrishnan Nair: Visualises, plans and strategises all the activities for Begaana Pictures. The average age of the team is 22.
About Kirdaar
’Kirdaar’ is a story of two young boys who are trying to create something that is much bigger than any of them. Something they believe they were born to do. These two young boys, Vikram and Vansh, are trying to put up a stage show. The series is not about the show itself but the process of what goes into building one. It’s about how human aspirations and capabilities collide. It is about the struggle, the passion, the friendships, the heartbreaks, the loss and the one thing that survives it all – ART.

First Published: May 25, 2017 17:57 IST