Assamese series ‘Kritikal Kouple’, an ‘urban comedy’ that chronicles a period in the lives of Chiru (Bonny Deori) and Suku (Maitri Das), has emerged as a runaway hit among youngsters.
The 8 episodes of this show, available for free on YouTube, have collectively racked up over 2 million views. In the process, channel ‘ClockNDial’ has also seen its star rise, touching 56,000 subscribers after the series blew up massively.
Boasting a slick production value, a relatable ‘boy meets girl’ story with a twist, and plenty of laughs, the show is a watershed moment for Assamese entertainment as online entertainment gains momentum in a post-COVID world.
As the makers of the show gear up for another release, ‘Kolongpar’, that is coming on CnD Play, a new Assam streaming service, India Today NE caught up with the team behind ‘Kritikal Kouple’ to discuss the show’s success and what it means for the future. Raktim Kamal Barua (Director), Bonny Deori (Lead Actor), Mrinmoy Saikia (Writer), and Maitri Das (Lead Actress), interacted exclusively with India Today NE. Here are some excerpts from the interview:
ITNE: The show has been a resounding success. Were you able to anticipate that it would be this popular?
Raktim Kamal Barua: We meant to take baby steps to reach the urban masses in Assam as such stories are few on YouTube. Thankfully, we reached our intended audience. Actually, we had conceptualized the show to build a YouTube community before the launch of CnD Play, a new streaming app by ClocNDial. Keeping in view all these factors, the response has been satisfactory.
ITNE: The show is about the aspirations of the youth -- their struggles. What inspired you to take up this topic?
Mrinmoy Saikia: I have seen the struggles of youth up close. Between the ages of 25-30, most youths are worried about their future. Our story is about common, relatable struggles faced by youth. Also, we classify the series as an urban comedy because it is set in Guwahati. Here, things are a bit different in comparison to say, Nagaon. The aspirations are different, the lifestyle is different, and there is certainly a gap in perception. Via one character, who hails from rural Assam, we have also explored serious social issues like sexism. At the same time, it also explores friendship and love.
ITNE: Raktim, how did you zero in on the actors?
Raktim: It is a project done among friends. We have known each other for a long time. I asked Maitri to play the role because I was impressed by her in ‘Kolongpar’. Bonny is an old friend. The same goes for all the other actors who are involved.
ITNE: Bonny is a known face in Assam, with popular roles in ‘Local Kung Fu’ and its sequal, YouTube channel Heavy Budget, among others. What felt different this time?
Bonny Deori: What I liked best about this show is how very deliberate every aspect was – from the cinematography to colour palette to outfits. From an aesthetic point of view, the makers did a really stellar job. When you felt like you did a good job in a scene, there would be a re-shoot. Moreover, I liked how relatable my character, that of a civil service aspirant, was to my own life.
ITNE: OTT platforms have taken the world by storm, but the OTT era in Assam is just getting started. Can Assamese platforms compete with, say a Netflix, or an Amazon Prime?
Maitri Das: We can only dream. As of now, a lot of people in Assam are not familiar with such platforms. When we have something on YouTube, everybody can access it. Contrarily, when you put up your content on something like Reel Drama, a longer process in involved as the content is hidden behind a pay wall. We are still in the early stages of the OTT era, but we hope we will be able to overcome this with popular content like ‘Kritikal Kouple’ that can transcend boundaries.
Copyright©2022 Living Media India Limited. For reprint rights: Syndications Today