It’s a smart concept. The ideal panacea for low moods during lockdown, ‘Firsts—Season 2’ biggest strength is its brevity, with each episode lasting between three to four minutes, so that the season is just about 20 minutes long!
But the depth, warmth and ‘carry home with you’ (though we are at home only while watching it!) factor is high. Relatable, very contemporary, devoid of any of the standard EFG formula (the three negatives of web series—E for Expletives, F for sleaze and G for Gore!) of web series, this show is ingeniously conceived on a young woman and a young man who meet each other on the Bumble dating site (an actual site that has endorsed this show).
Throughout the mini-series, the two are in their own homes, living alone as they work from home in Mumbai during the lockdown. Bumble is for girls who take the initiative to know a boy, and here we have Naina, a bubbly girl, introducing herself online to Aman, a serious-minded yet fun-loving and humorous young man who is initially a bit overwhelmed by Naina’s effervescence and then starts loving it.
The short episodes, in turn, are split into shorter segments like ‘First Fight’ and other lessons on cooking, concerns for parents, working together and even working out together. Writer Pranav Tonsekar does a superb job, and his natural Hindi-English lines are the highlight. I give full marks to the camerawork, but above all to the color grading by Vaibhav Lonkar, which lends an exceptionally uniform and classy tone to the show, shot simultaneously in two different indoor locations.
The music is functional but attractive, and Mrunalini Rathod and Vrinda Arora do a good job of the editing—good, I say, not great, because there are jerky moments.
Kriti Vij is exceptional as Tanya, her smile dazzling, her body language perfect. She is a complete natural, quite like the two Kriti’s—Sanon and Kharbanda—of the movies!
Pranay Manchanda, as Aman, is spot-on, as well, which is doubly commendable as he is also the show’s director. And as director, he’s magnificent. After all, a wonderful concept and script could have been ruined by a mediocre presentation. But he injects the right dynamics into the story.
We know that Vij and he is a real-life couple, and a media statement says they made a special effort to forget their real relationship while playing strangers who are not together physically throughout the storyline, but their innate chemistry is as natural and explosively palpable as that of Priya Bapat and Umesh Kamat in that fantastic Marathi show “Aani Kay Hava.”
This show gets extra brownie points and the maximum rating significantly also because of the last episode, which is so gratifyingly optimistic. Three cheers to the team and this show.
Produced by: Aditi Shrivastava, Ashwin Suresh & Aniruddh Pandita
Created by: Dice Media
Directed by: Pranay Manchanda
Written by: Pranav Tonsekar
Music: Harshvardhan Singh & Hardik Desai
Starring: Kriti Vij, Pranay Manchanda, Raunak Ramteke & Shagun Kazania