A tale of Unconventional tropes

It is back with season 2 ( episode 1 on Valentine’s Day) and fans and critics can’t wait for the show’s release. CE catches up with the promising cast and crew
30 Weds 21 poster
30 Weds 21 poster

A 30-year-old run-of-the-mill IT professional is married off to a 21-year-old girl, fresh out of college — what this complex yet unconventionally sweet arranged marriage unfolds is a joy to watch. The premise of the show 30 Weds 21 is in its title. But, many were quick to assume what its content would be like, when the mini-series came out last year.

That seemed to have worked in the favour of the makers — ChaiBisket — whose show has gone beyond just being popular or preachy. It is back with season 2 ( episode 1 on Valentine’s Day) and fans and critics can’t wait for the show’s release. CE catches up with the promising cast and crew.

Chaitanya Madadi, playing the calm, quite and shy Pruthvi didn’t come easy. “While I wouldn’t call it tough, it sure was challenging. After I got selected for the role, I was briefed about Pruthvi and was surprised to see how we had nothing in common — I had to underplay it all.

There had to be this subtlety in how he emotes, Pruthvi keeps to himself and doesn’t share or even express them with his body language. There was a lot of unlearning to do because I could not react to things around me as a natural. I had to put myself in his shoes and think what he’d do to go ahead with playing him,” he says.

On how he prepared for the role, Chaitanya says, “I had a week before we could head to production. So, right from day one, I worked on becoming my character. I had to forget I was Chaitanya, and be him, even with how I dressed. Thankfully, because I played my age, it made understanding where Pruthvi is in his life, easy.” He laughs while adding that he also learnt the lyrics to the song Dynamite because Meghana is a BTS fan in the show!

For the first few episodes of season one, people loved to hate  Ananya Sharma’s character Meghana. “I was given no particular character reference. I was told I had to play a typical 21-year-old with a mature mind, a girl who knew what she wanted. Honestly, if I had met someone like her in my life, I wouldn’t have liked her. So that made it both difficult yet beautiful to play someone I wouldn’t love in real life. Although, as I started understanding Meghana better, I slowly fell for her,” Ananya says, whom critics loved for her portrayal of a child-ish, spirited, yet fierce adult.

Manoj Poduri and #Asamarthudu deserve credit for the concept and story. About exploring a theme like love in an arranged marriage amid an unconventional age gap in 2022, they say, “We were inspired by true-life incidents. The age gap is not as uncommon as people make it to be — it has been going on for several generations now. The emergence of the Internet created a huge gap in people’s mentalities, interests and ways of life — it was this aspect that we wanted to explore as a point of conflict.”

Director Prithvi Vanam has laurels coming his way for transporting viewers to the lives of Chaitanya and Ananya. “Capturing the subtle moments between the couple and making it believable was the most challenging, but also the most interesting for me,” he says.

It’s safe to call producers Sharath Chandra and Anurag Reddy visionaries. Their perseverant journey of over a decade now is one to learn from. When asked who their target audiences were when making the show, Anurag says, “We believe in clean and universal content. My son, who’s two and my grandfather who’s 80 — are all our target audiences!” “There is no competition in the content business. Good content always thrives. When you respect the audience, they will respect you and your work,” says Sharath.

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