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Monday, March 20, 2023

Rajshree Ojha: Makers were sure it would have at least 10 seasons

During the pandemic-induced lockdowns, streaming platforms doled out crime thrillers one after the other. Director Rajshree Ojha’s Potluck (2021), a light-hearted show about the Shastri family that sticks together despite their personal highs and lows, came as a breath of fresh air. Almost one-and-a-half years on, the director is back with the second instalment of the SonyLIV comedy series. In a chat with mid-day, Ojha talks about how the narrative of a tight-knit family lends itself wonderfully to multiple seasons, and how she has the third season ready in her head.

Edited excerpts from the interview.

How has the response been to the second season?
It has been a positive response. The results are so good that we will start the third season soon. I feel Potluck has found its niche audience.

Rajshree Ojha

Was the second edition’s script ready when you shot for the opening season?
The showrunners were sure that Potluck would have at least 10 seasons. To be honest, I wasn’t so sure. I like the show’s vibe, so I was sure that it should have at least three seasons. It is in the space of a sitcom, so it can continue to tell the story, like say Gilmore Girls. All we needed was the audience. My biggest fear for the second season was that it was released over a year [after the first instalment]. [I feared that] people forget [a show], especially with so much content out there.

Was there pressure to keep the narrative light?
Personally, I like to find humour in the most horrendous situations; it takes away the pressure. I always try to bring in [an element of] craziness. In this season, Dhruv [Harman Singha’s character] loses his job, and I’ve made such a drama about it. We, as Indians, [have a penchant] for melodrama.

Which episode did the cast find most hilarious?
There is a scene between the three guys [Singha, Cyrus Sahukar, and Siddhant Karnick] in which they are trying to console Dhruv, who has lost his job, but Cyrus kept cracking up. Everyone was tired laughing at one point. There is a birthday/anniversary scene, which turns hilarious. Also, a scene in the end credits — with Cyrus and Ira [Dubey] in the bathtub — will leave you in splits.

Did any actor surprise you with their performance this season?
I think Harman was fantastic; he is a director’s actor. Sometimes, when I pushed him, he would get why I am doing so. There was a scene where he was having an internal struggle, which he did beautifully. Ira is my other favourite. [Her character] is shown joining a new office, plus she is trying to fit in. She captured that essence well.

So, is the plan for season three ready?
Of course. We are set to have a wedding, which is in my head [at the moment]. But I don’t know what the showrunners are thinking. I think people would be keen to see who Aalim’s [Karnick] parents were, and whether he and Prerna [Shikha Talsania’s character] unite.

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