About that love for damaad

About that love for damaad
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Highlights

The recently concluded first season of web series ‘What The Folks’ has garnered positive reviews for its content, which showcases extraordinary emotional moments in a simple way. The show revolves around Nikhil, who is forced to live with in-laws for a few weeks.

The recently concluded first season of web series ‘What The Folks’ has garnered positive reviews for its content, which showcases extraordinary emotional moments in a simple way. The show revolves around Nikhil, who is forced to live with in-laws for a few weeks. ‘What The Folks’ stars Vipin Sharma of ‘Taare Zameen Par’ fame who donned the role of father-in-law in the series. The show is produced by Dice Media.
‘What The Folks’ is the brainchild of Sidhanta Mathur. In a candid interview, he shares the idea behind the concept.

Excerpts:
What is the idea behind the concept?
It came from my father's relationship with his in-laws. They were the nicest, warmest people whose idea of family was to keep everyone together. Yet, there was always this need to make my father feel extra special, always. Even when he was wrong, or for that matter in any context - he was “God”.
When I looked around, I noticed that is the case with everyone, even today. I found it interesting and figured it would make for an interesting premise - That love for the “damaads” supersedes anything!

What was the process behind creating the characters?
All I knew were the people that the show needed. Everything else was a collective process of personal stories and moments from everyone involved that really framed the characters. We didn't sit down and write out a character sketch for each character, but let that evolve over time. Whenever the writers, Ayesha Nair and Anand Bharadwaj took our thoughts and went and wrote those scenes, we realised something new about the characters.

How did you choose the cast?
We had a basic idea of how we wanted the characters to be. For example, Vipin Sharma being cast as the father (and he's absolutely brilliant) came through team discussions. We thought it would be super interesting to see someone, who doesn't naturally come across as warm but rather stern and show that warmth through him. Vipin captured that beautifully. Apart from that, every call that was taken was a collective process between the directors, writers, creative producers and the founders. Everyone had a say and we went with the majority on every casting choice. That really paid off.

Who is your favourite character from the series?
Nikhil, hands down. I relate to him the most. I love what he stands for and I love that his basic intention throughout was to be seen for exactly who he is, and not through some garb of being a son-in-law. The intention of making the show was to bring about that feeling of truly looking at everyone as people, and nothing else. I think the final episode beautifully achieved that and Veer Rajwant Singh (who essayed the role of Nikhil) was fantastic.

How did you describe your vision to the writers?
We'd discuss instances in our life involving families that were happy, amusing, sad, or just points of contention. We'd discuss where a certain episode was meant to head, and then let the writers go and do their thing. And they did an awesome job! What usually came back from them was almost always where we wanted it to be. From that point on we'd work on a very detailed feedback level to get the episode to be the best it could be.

How much inspiration did you draw from your life?
The story idea came around from how I would react in a situation like that. Apart from that, everything else has been a collaborative process, where a bit of everyone involved has made it to the show. Rather than my personal life, it feels like a thread that can be connected to everyone's life.

How did you pitch the idea for the webseries?
Since I work as a Creative Producer at Pocket Aces, the parent company of Dice Media, it honestly wasn't difficult at all to pitch the idea. Once I sent it across to everyone on the Dice team, we saw the merit in the idea, and it got activated pretty much right away. Having said that, the show as it is today is so much more than what I had imagined it to be, and that is all because of the entire team involved and their inputs.

Is season 2 in the works?
We've started working on the arc of season 2. If it were up to me, I'd love for it to come out right away (laughs). But, it's good to take some time off and try to let the story organically come to you. We are in the middle of that process. Hopefully, same time next year (or sooner).

What are your future projects?
The next show that I conceptualised and developed just came out – ‘2 By 3’. It is an offbeat comedy that has been written and directed by Ashwin Laxmi Narayan. It's a complete departure from the space that is ‘What The Folks’, and just a lot of pure fun. Apart from this, we have ‘Little Things’ season 2 being developed and a couple of other shows. Hopefully, we'd have some cool announcements soon!

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