TheDigitalHash had a quick chat with Sahil Sangha, the writer director of the upcoming Amazon Prime web series, Mind the Malhotras. Along with him was Deepak Segal, the Content Head of Applause Entertainment. The conversation started with us wanting to know about how Mind The Malhotras began its journey.
Sahil and Deepak shared, “This is a collaboration between Born Free and Applause Entertainment. The idea was by Applause. We saw the original Israeli show. We thought this is something that can be adapted for the Indian audiences. We then got into the nitty gritty of the series, like writing the episodes for an Indian audience, getting into the casting.”
Deepak then told us about how Mind the Malhotras went into the Amazon fold. He said, “This is Amazon’s first sitcom. We as the content studio saw the Israeli series and then brought Sahil on board. Amazon liked it and thought that this is the perfect vehicle for them to get into the sitcom genre for streaming platforms.”
The series has a unique look and feel. Sahil Sangha, who is the writer, director and the producer of the show, told us, “With Mind the Malhotras, the presentation is a bit different. We have a young couple that’s accepted the fact that our marriage might be in trouble, and we must figure out how to save their marriage, and so they are in therapy. So, they go through the problems that they face and how they deal with these issues.”
The series has a lighter tone, much like the tv series from the golden age of tv. These series were known for their moral messages as well. We asked Sahil whether the series has a moral message. He replied, “We do have a subtext and subtle messages, but we have kept them in a lighter tone. The series has everyday issues, like misunderstandings, forgetfulness, tiffs that crop up because of the way children are being brought up, so on and so forth. Then there’s the relationship with the in-laws. These are universal problems, so everyone will be able to corelate somewhere or the other. The basic idea is that the problems that seem like too serious can be handled, if we just look at them with a sense of humour.”
When asked about the shooting schedule, both revealed, “We shot in under a month. It was extensive in terms of shooting. When you are making a sitcom, there are some universal practices. It’s a disciplined format. For example, when we shoot a sitcom, the basic idea is to not distract the viewers with change. We don’t change the location or the lighting very often. We don’t even change the camera angles very often. Even the sense of writing and the dialogue delivery doesn’t change, because the audience should have a sense of complete comfort.”
Deepak added, “There are only two basic locations, and that’s added to the comfort level among the cast and the crew. But to hold the interest of the audience for nine episodes in such a scenario requires some great writing.”
Deepak then elaborated on the casting of Cyrus Sahukar and Mini Mathur, “We wanted two people who’d bring a natural flair to their parts. The performances shouldn’t come across as very method and very rehearsed. Hosts are always thinking in the present; they are thinking on their feet. I have worked with Cyrus before and I always believed in his ability to be funny. Cyrus has that innate quality of oddball humour.”
He continued, “Mini was a recommendation from Tol Mol Ke Bol. One of our Associate Producers had recommended her. I remember her from an episode of Tol Mol Ke Bol. In that episode, she was more excited than the contestant who won the prize. That spontaneity, we thought that was something that we required for this series as well.”
The series seems a quirky, light hearted take on problems, quite different from the intense content we see on the streaming platforms. When asked about the content being polar opposite of what is available today, Saahil had this to offer, “I think that’s the biggest asset of the show. I also think that the world needs to be happy at a simple level. We want some simplicity in life. Everything cannot be complicated and pathbreaking. Everything cannot be intense. Mind the Malhotras is lighthearted, smile on your face kind of content.”
Mind the Malhotras streams on Amazon Prime from 7th July.