Everybody must by now know of the web series phenomenon that is catching on in India – we are having a fledgling moment of sorts. I explored a few offerings, from YRF’s youth wing Y-Films, to relatively unknown entities like Dice Media that ended up making stars of their female leads (the adorable Mithila Palkar, portraying a stereotype in Little Things). I am a bit biased towards The Viral Fever at the moment. I caught up with their series on start-up culture (Pitchers), and then the one about modern relationships (Permanent Roommates).
Permanent Roommates is a punchy sitcom that follows Mikesh and Tanya as they navigate their relationship, first as long-distance lovers and later as roommates, while still managing to remain in love of course.
Season 1 of the show felt new in a way that wasn’t witnessed before as far as Indian Television goes. In all my years of diligent TV viewing, I have never come across a Hindi serial populated by characters I could relate to, even if in some remote way. But here was a couple who could be us, or our friends, they spoke in ways we could recognize, and their cultural references weren’t too difficult to decipher either. The first season took an intimate look at relationships (save for the occasional oddball characters) and the confusions young people share – let me interject at this point that I’m young too, I just don’t share those confusions very often.
Season 2, though, is a bit different in tone – more big budget Bollywood movie, less relationship drama. While Mikesh and Tanya still have their moments, the oddball characters tend to become more bizarre, and the episodes are longer to allow for many more plot twists. The series predictably places the two on opposite ends of an argument, which is standard sitcom practice, but we are also shown frequently why these two people remain together, in spite of all their differences.
But these aren’t dealbreakers, Permanent Roommates is still enjoyable Indian Television. The actors and the writing make us warm up to the series, and I got a few laugh out loud moments too (really putting that LOL thing to use). It makes me hopeful that things can only get better.