With the advent of the internet and social media, our lives have gradually but constantly moved towards the virtual. The digital is now an almost irreplaceable aspect. With virtual and the real converging, we are often torn between two identities that we need to maintain online and offline. The new web series Chutzpah gives us a sneak peek into the world of the internet and the transformation of human identity in today’s era. Ahead of the release, Varun Sharma, Gautam Mehta, Manjot Singh, Elnaaz Norouzi, Tanya Maniktala and Kshitij Chauhan open up about the relatability factor in the story, how they practically romance the camera instead of their co-stars and more.
Varun, who will be making his digital debut with Chutzpah, says, “Being a part of such an interesting concept like Chutzpah, which is a very pathbreaking and a different kind of a show, is very exciting for me. We are trying to keep the entertainment quotient to the fullest and make people laugh. The series promises a lot of madness and crazy things which is why it also has a quirky title."
Talking of the relatability factor of the show, Gautam, who plays a hyperactive YouTuber explains, “The way the show is created and designed, everything is on par with any international show out there. The story and the characters resonate well because they seem like they are from among us. They can be anyone living amongst us with unique stories to tell, and these stories are real, that have come out from real life. And all these real stories of real characters are connected with the internet, which definitely makes it unique, and relatable."
Chutzpah also deals with the dark side of the internet and gives a glimpse into how trolling impacts people. Asked how he deals with the internet popularity in real life, Manjot shares, “I enjoy it a lot. I like it when I see people are taking out the time to edit my pictures, add a caption to them, put songs in the background and share it. And I like it more when I see it is making people laugh. It makes me happy."
The actors also had to take an unconventional route of shooting to bring out the essence of a virtual relationship that is only confined to the screens. Opening up on the shooting process, where they ‘romanced the camera’ instead of their co-stars, actress Tanya Maniktala, who is paired opposite Varun, says, “Bringing out the chemistry was definitely a challenge. You’re depending on somebody who’s not actually there but our team was very organized. I did a couple of readings with Varun beforehand just to get an idea. But it is obviously very different from when you’re actually on set. So Varun not being there was a huge challenge. In the show, our characters have a long-distance relationship and are comfortable with each other. So while shooting, all of that was imagined. But I hope it was imagined correctly."
Elnaaz Norouzi who plays a cam-girl in the series adds, “For me, to play Wild Butterfly and to seduce somebody who’s actually not there was quite tough. It was a challenge because you need the other person to be present there if you’re trying to have an intimate moment. And then you just have the intimate moment with the camera and there’s just your DOP sitting right behind the camera, so it felt weird. But that’s where the work of an actor comes into play, you just have to make it work."
Chutzpah features debutante Kshitij Chauhan who is kick-starting his career with a dark role. Talking of the risks he is taking early on, he says, “I am nervous more than I am excited because this can be my big break and I am really looking forward to it. About my negative character, I want to believe that the audience is smart enough to differentiate between the reel and real-life, and understand the difference between the actor and the character. But you can’t cater to everyone, so some might like me and some might curse my character of Prateek, and I am okay with it."
Chutzpah will also see the team of Fukrey reuniting. Varun Sharma, Manjot Singh and Mrighdeep Singh Lamba join hands together. Commenting on the same, Manjot, whose on-screen bond with Varun had been a hit after the film’s release, says, “It is always amazing to work with people you know because you are confident and it becomes easier to connect. I am glad Varun is there but I’m also happy we did not share the screen for Chutzpah because you can witness that same bond in Fukrey again, but this had to be different from that."
Directed by Simarpreet Singh and written by Mrighdeep Singh Lamba, Chutzpah is all set to release on SonyLIV on July 23.