‘It was challenging, that’s what made it interesting’: Kriti Vij and Pranay Manchanda on Season 2 of Firsts
After season 1 of Firsts, which featured school time romance, Dice Media is back with season 2 of the Instagram-based web-series. This time, they explore an unusual love story of a couple who meets online in the middle of the COVID-19 lockdown.
The series feature real-life couple actors Kriti Vij and Pranay Manchanda, who shot the entire series themselves in a span of just seven days, making it a “first” in their life. In an interaction with Indulge, the duo talks about the series that explores many firsts in the world of dating apps while taking us through their interesting journey of being a two-member production crew. Excerpts:
Q: What's in store for the audience?
Pranay: The show delves into how many ‘Firsts’ you can actually go through before you finally meet. It keeps true to what we are all feeling in this lockdown, the good days and the bad and it gives us hope that no matter how locked down we may be, fresh new connections and relationships will continue to blossom.
Q: How did you both go about executing this series? Take us through the journey.
Kriti: It was challenging and that’s what made it exciting. We were going about it completely green without knowing what the standard processes are. We didn’t have even the basic equipment - so had to scavenge around the house for makeshift resources. Being the only two members of the on-location crew, we were doing everything from art, costume, hair and makeup, lighting, cinematography, and of course the directing and acting. We shot this over 7 days and were shooting day and night. But the back end team at Dice Media was uber supportive and were helping us remotely throughout.
Q: Pranay, you have also directed it and acted in it? Which role was the easiest and what were the challenges of executing both the roles?
It’s always a challenge to be a director and actor in the same project because both the roles require you to approach the job from different perspectives. So the constant changing of lenses from director to actor to director makes you a bit dizzy. I realised early on that I needed to be very present at all times to be able to switch between thinking as an actor and thinking as a director. But, I absolutely love doing both things and find them equally challenging.
Q: Was it easy to work on this series as you both are a real-life couple or did it make it more challenging?
Kriti: Being a real-life couple, Pranay and I are quite comfortable with each other. We needed to change that for Firsts 2. Every time we work together we get to learn more about our styles and methods. Our skillsets are quite complimentary so that definitely helps. It was really fun playing characters who were meeting for the first time and didn’t know each other.
Q: Would the challenges be different had you both been in Mumbai, regarding space?
Pranay: Yes, being in Delhi in our parents’ houses was a blessing as we had space so as to make the locations look like two different houses. Had we been in Bombay, it would have been a tough ask to show different spaces in our apartment.
Q: What was your biggest learning from this series, professionally and personally?
Kriti: Technically - A lot of learning and a better understanding of the entire filmmaking process. There is no better education than trying something by doing it! Maybe something the Indian education system should try.
Pranay: Emotionally - A huge sense of gratitude and respect for every department on a set and for Dice Media for having the faith in us.