Web series

What happens when four women get into a car? The web series ‘The Trip’

Shweta Tripathi, Lisa Haydon, Mallika Dua and Sapna Pabbi hit the road for a bachelorette vacation from Delhi to Thailand.

The web series The Trip puts four women on a bachelorette trip from Delhi to Thailand. Sapna Pabbi, last seen in 24, is yoga aficionado and control freak Sanjana; Mallika Dua is Nazia, a Delhi resident with a batty sense of humor; Shweta Tripathi gets into the shoes of the hastily engaged, angelic Ananya with ease; Lisa Haydon plays struggling musician Shonali in a bohemian avatar that is reminiscent of her performance as the feisty Vijaylakshmi in Queen.

The Trip is the latest Bindaas channel production to depict female experiences, and follows in the footsteps of the web series Girl in the City and television show Queens Hai Hum. An effervescent version of the oft-trodden road trip trope, The Trip chronicles the misadventures of the four women with a steady stream of giggling banter and whispered confessions. With pretty visuals and an evocative background score, The Trip looks a lot like a spiffily made Hindi film that has been snipped at the right places.

Play
The Trip episode 1.

“I didn’t think of it as a show about womanhood,” said series director Lakshya Raj Anand, who has previously been an assistant director on Bang Bang! and Ek Tha Tiger. “For me, it was simply a story about four friends going on a trip from Delhi to Thailand.”

The director joined the project three months before it went on air on December 16. At the time, the characters had been etched out without a specific plot in place. “Around the time when we were working on the show, this highway opened up between Delhi and Thailand, which fascinated me,” Anand said. “So we thought, let’s put them together in a car on a road trip and see what happens.”

Although there was never a conscious attempt to emulate any film, Anand acknowledges the impact of popular road movies. “Films like Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and Dil Chahta Hai have been very popular, so to a certain extent, these films might have affected how our story panned out,” he said.

As a man trying to tell a story about four women, Anand often relied upon his actors to credibly depict female banter. The gender difference did not matter once the filming started, according to him. “Obviously sometimes it came across and people said you don’t know how women talk,” he said. “But I stayed away from it. We didn’t look at it from a gender perspective, so I think that’s why what we came up with is so refreshing.”

Anand moulded the characters partially on people he knew in an attempt to make them seem realistic. “We have tried to tell a story about four different girls across a spectrum and that’s why I think they will be quite relatable,” he said.

Small portions of the show were not scripted before the shooting began. “Sometimes we didn’t have scripts on the day we were making the plot,” Anand recalled. The team would then work together to refine the scenes. This kind of collaborative creation came with its ups and downs: “On some days it can go really badly. But on other days, if your team supports you, it can go very nicely and naturally.”

The leads also channelled their personal experiences to play their parts. “These women are magicians,” Anand said. “They are so natural in their parts. They have blended into their roles very beautifully.”

Play
The Trip episode 2.
We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
__('Sponsored Content') BY 

London then and now – As experienced by Indians

While much has changed, the timeless quality of the city endures.

“I found the spirit of the city matching the Bombay spirit. Like Bombay, the city never sleeps and there was no particular time when you couldn’t wander about the town freely and enjoy the local atmosphere”, says CV Manian, a PhD student in Manchester in the ‘80s, who made a trip to London often. London as a city has a timeless quality. The seamless blend of period architecture and steel skyscrapers acts as the metaphor for a city where much has changed, but a lot hasn’t.

The famed Brit ‘stiff upper lip, for example, finds ample validation from those who visited London decades ago. “The people were minding their business, but never showed indifference to a foreigner. They were private in their own way and kept to themselves.” Manian recollects. Aditya Dash remembers an enduring anecdote from his grandmother’s visit to London. “There is the famous family story where she was held up at Heathrow airport. She was carrying zarda (or something like that) for my grandfather and customs wanted to figure out if it was contraband or not.”

However, the city always housed contrasting cultures. During the ‘Swinging ‘60s’ - seen as a precursor to the hippie movement - Shyla Puri’s family had just migrated to London. Her grandfather still remembers the simmering anti-war, pro-peace sentiment. He himself got involved with the hippie movement in small ways. “He would often talk with the youth about what it means to be happy and how you could achieve peace. He wouldn’t go all out, but he would join in on peace parades and attend public talks. Everything was ‘groovy’ he says,” Shyla shares.

‘Groovy’ quite accurately describes the decade that boosted music, art and fashion in a city which was till then known for its post-World-War austerities. S Mohan, a young trainee in London in the ‘60s, reminisces, “The rage was The Beatles of course, and those were also the days of Harry Belafonte and Ella Fitzgerald.” The likes of The Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd were inspiring a cultural revolution in the city. Shyla’s grandfather even remembers London turning punk in the ‘80s, “People walking around with leather jackets, bright-colored hair, mohawks…It was something he would marvel at but did not join in,” Shyla says.

But Shyla, a second-generation Londoner, did join in in the revival of the punk culture in the 21st century. Her Instagram picture of a poster at the AfroPunk Fest 2016 best represents her London, she emphatically insists. The AfroPunk movement is trying to make the Punk culture more racially inclusive and diverse. “My London is multicultural, with an abundance of accents. It’s open, it’s alive,” Shyla says. The tolerance and openness of London is best showcased in the famous Christmas lights at Carnaby Street, a street that has always been popular among members of London’s alternate cultures.

Christmas lights at Carnaby Street (Source: Roger Green on Wikimedia Commons)
Christmas lights at Carnaby Street (Source: Roger Green on Wikimedia Commons)

“London is always buzzing with activity. There are always free talks, poetry slams and festivals. A lot of museums are free. London culture, London art, London creativity are kept alive this way. And of course, with the smartphones navigating is easy,” Shyla adds. And she’s onto something. Manian similarly describes his ‘80s rendezvous with London’s culture, “The art museums and places of interest were very illustrative and helpful. I could tour around the place with a road map and the Tube was very convenient.” Mohan, with his wife, too made the most of London’s cultural offerings. “We went to see ‘Swan Lake’ at the Royal Opera House and ‘The Mousetrap’ by Agatha Christie. As an overseas graduate apprentice, I also had the pleasure to visit the House of Lords and take tea on the terrace.”

For the casual stroller along London’s streets today, the city would indeed look quite different from what it would’ve to their grandparents. Soho - once a poor suburb known for its crime and sex industry - is today a fashionable district of upmarket eateries and fashion stores. Most of the big British high street brands have been replaced by large international stores and the London skyline too has changed, with The Shard being the latest and the most impressive addition. In fact, Shyla is quite positive that her grandfather would not recognise most of the city anymore.

Shyla, though, isn’t complaining. She assures that alternate cultures are very much alive in the city. “I’ve seen some underground LGBT clubs, drag clubs, comedy clubs, after midnight dance-offs and empty-warehouse-converted parties. There’s a space for everybody.” London’s cosmopolitan nature remains a huge point of attraction for Indian visitors even today. Aditya is especially impressed by the culinary diversity of London and swears that, “some of the best chicken tikka rolls I have had in my life were in London.” “An array of accents flood the streets. These are the people who make London...LONDON,” says Shyla.

It’s clear that London has changed a lot, but not really all that much. Another aspect of Indians’ London experience that has remained consistent over the past decades is the connectivity of British Airways. With a presence in India for over 90 years, British Airways has been helping generations of Indians discover ‘their London’, just like in this video.

Play

For more information on special offers on flights to London and other destinations in the UK, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of British Airways and not by the Scroll editorial team.