In Hardik Mehta’s new short film The Affair, a man (Amit Sial) and a woman (Khushboo Upadhyay) meet at Mumbai’s Marine Drive to steal a moment of passion. This is a secret, desperate meeting for they rarely get the time to be close to each other. After a while, the man leaves for his home, accidentally carrying a sign of the affair with him. You expect doom to strike within minutes but it never arrives.
“I wanted to recreate the world of Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Basu Chatterjee in The Affair,” Mehta told Scroll.in, citing Chatterjee’s Choti Si Baat (1976) as an example. An important part of The Affair has been shot in Malad because of the demand of the story, which was inspired by Mehta’s parents who lived in the norther suburb long ago. “I imagined my parents would have done in 1975-’80 what the characters in my film do,” Mehta said.
The Affair is not only about the story of a man and a woman in love. It is also about how people live in Mumbai. Much like Vikramaditya Motwane’s Trapped, which Mehta co-wrote with Amit Joshi, The Affair also talks about the Mumbai experience.
So did The Affair begin as a film about love or as one about Mumbai? “The idea came when I saw these anti-Romeo squad-type people harassing couples at Marine Drive,” Mehta said, “Later, I shaped it as a more intimate story where a person watching it could think, ‘Yes, I have been there, done that.’”
Sial and Upadhyay are well cast as middle-class lovers. The everyday nature of their pairing attracted Mehta to cast them together. “Amit has always been cast in aggressive, villainous roles,” Mehta said about the actor, who recently struck gold as a conniving cricketer in the Amazon Prime Video series Inside Edge. “But I imagined that my father in his thirties would have probably looked like him.” As for Upadhyay, Mehta’s wife and producer Akanksha Tiwari introduced the actor to Mehta.
Mehta worked on television commercials before he met Motwane, whom he credits for shaping him. He directed commercials and music videos and was the script supervisor for Motwane’s Lootera (2013). In between, he made the acclaimed documentary Amdavad Ma Famous (2015), which is currently streaming on Netflix.
The perpetual millennial quest for self-expression just got another boost
Making adulting in the new millennium easier, one step at a time.
Having come of age in the Age of the Internet, millennials had a rocky start to self-expression. Indeed, the internet allowed us to personalise things in unprecedented fashion and we really rose to the occasion. The learning curve to a straightforward firstname.surname@___mail.com email address was a long one, routed through cringeworthy e-mail ids like email@example.com. You know you had one - making a personalised e-mail id was a rite of passage for millennials after all.
Declaring yourself to be cool, a star, a princess or a hunk boy was a given (for how else would the world know?!). Those with eclectic tastes (read: juvenile groupies) would flaunt their artistic preferences with an elitist flair. You could take for granted that firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com would listen to Bollywood music or read Archie comics only in private. The emo kids, meanwhile, had to learn the hard way that employers probably don’t trust candidates with e-mail ids such as firstname.lastname@example.org.
And with chat rooms, early millennials had found a way to communicate, with...interesting results. The oldest crop of millennials (30+ year olds) learnt to deal with the realities of adolescent life hunched behind anonymous accounts, spewing their teenage hormone-laden angst, passion and idealism to other anonymous accounts. Skater_chick could hide her ineptitude for skating behind a convincing username and a skateboard-peddling red-haired avatar, and you could declare your fantasies of world domination, armed with the assurance that no one would take you seriously.
With the rise of blogging, millennial individualism found a way to express itself to millions of people across the world. The verbosity of ‘intellectual’ millennials even shone through in their blog URLs and names. GirlWhoTravels could now opine on her adventures on the road to those who actually cared about such things. The blogger behind scentofpetunia.blogspot.com could choose to totally ignore petunias and no one would question why. It’s a tradition still being staunchly upheld on Tumblr. You’re not really a Tumblr(er?) if you haven’t been inspired to test your creative limits while crafting your blog URL. Fantasy literature and anime fandoms to pop-culture fanatics and pizza lovers- it’s where people of all leanings go to let their alter ego thrive.
Then of course social media became the new front of self-expression on the Internet. Back when social media was too much of a millennial thing for anyone to meddle with, avatars and usernames were a window into your personality and fantasies. Suddenly, it was cool to post emo quotes of Meredith Grey on Facebook and update the world on the picturesque breakfast you had (or not). Twitter upped the pressure by limiting expression to 140 characters (now 280-have you heard?) and the brevity translated to the Twitter handles as well. The trend of sarcasm-and-wit-laden handles is still alive well and has only gotten more sophisticated with time. The blogging platform Medium makes the best of Twitter intellect in longform. It’s here that even businesses have cool account names!
Self-expression on the Internet and the millennials’ love for the personalised and customised has indeed seen an interesting trajectory. Most millennial adolescents of yore though are now grownups, navigating an adulting crisis of mammoth proportions. How to wake up in time for classes, how to keep the boss happy, how to keep from going broke every month, how to deal with the new F-word – Finances! Don’t judge, finances can be stressful at the beginning of a career. Forget investments, loans and debts, even matters of simple money transactions are riddled with scary terms like beneficiaries, NEFT, IMPS, RTGS and more. Then there’s the quadruple checking to make sure you input the correct card, IFSC or account number. If this wasn’t stressful enough, there’s the long wait while the cheque is cleared or the fund transfer is credited. Doesn’t it make you wish there was a simpler way to deal with it all? If life could just be like…
Lo and behold, millennial prayers have been heard! Airtel Payments Bank, India’s first, has now integrated UPI on its digital platform, making banking over the phone easier than ever. Airtel Payments Bank UPI, or Unified Payment Interface, allows you to transfer funds and shop and pay bills instantly to anyone any time without the hassles of inputting any bank details – all through a unique Virtual Payment Address. In true millennial fashion, you can even create your own personalised UPI ID or Virtual Payment Address (VPA) with your name or number- like rhea@airtel or 9990011122@airtel. It’s the smartest, easiest and coolest way to pay, frankly, because you’re going to be the first person to actually make instant, costless payments, rather than claiming to do that and making people wait for hours.
To make life even simpler, with the My Airtel app, you can make digital payments both online and offline (using the Scan and Pay feature that uses a UPI QR code). Imagine, no more running to the ATM at the last minute when you accidentally opt for COD or don’t have exact change to pay for a cab or coffee! Opening an account takes less than three minutes and remembering your VPA requires you to literally remember your own name. Get started with a more customised banking experience here.
This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Airtel Payments Bank and not by the Scroll editorial team.