CAST: Sumeet Vyas, Maanvi Gagroo, Amol Parashar
DIRECTOR: Rajesh Krishna
RATING: Three-and-a-half stars
ONE FOR THE ROAD
Families hardly ever go on picnics anymore, and they certainly don’t go on road trips as often as they once would. TVF’s Tripling begins with writer and actor Sumeet Vyas asking us a pertinent question – “What comes to your mind when you hear the words ‘road trip’?” The answer he predicts is fairly accurate. I actually do end up thinking of movies like The Hangover, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and Dil Chahta Hai. Not for once do I think about criss-crossing the country with my sister. Chandan (Vyas), though, finds himself in a car with his siblings, Chitvan (Amol Parashar) and Chanchal (Maanvi Gagroo), and with most recent web series having exhausted almost all possible dynamics of friendship, a return to good ol’ family is novel. Thankfully, Tripling doesn’t disappoint.
Chandan, we learn has recently divorced his older American wife Paula. “Jobless and homeless”, he comes to meet his brother Chitvan, who he discovers is a penniless DJ. What Chitvan does have is a car, a Tata Tiago. (Sponsor of the show, the brand is frequently promoted, sometimes shamelessly). They drive to meet Chanchal, who is suffocating in a royal Rajasthani haveli. By the end of the show’s second episode, the three of them are on the run, Chanchal from her husband and his regal pretentions. Chitvan hasn’t paid the EMI for his car in six months. He has to evade the bank and its burly collectors. Chandan, the eldest and most sober sibling, just wants to escape his troubled past.
It is indeed hard to cast Tripling in a strict genre. The show certainly does place a premium on laughs. At a lunch where Chanchal’s snooty and uptight relatives have gathered, Chitvan takes to his DJ console and belts out the track ‘Mada Faka’. Complaining about her husband Pranav (Kunaal Roy Kapur) to her brothers, Chanchal compares him to Anil Kapoor from Virasat. When Chandan has had enough of Pranav’s highfalutin Hindi and doesn’t want to be called ‘bhaisaab’ again, he says, “Main koi Alok Nath hoon kya?” Chandan, seemingly a chic magnet, finds all the female attention confusing and his assumed serious disposition is endearing and comical. Chanchal is transparent. Her face always tells her story. She is a delight. Chitvan, often seen rolling a joint, is Tripling’s tripper.
Though the show is never stingy with the funny, it does effortlessly flirt with the dramatic and sometimes the contemplative. In a scene where Chanchal confronts her husband with her brothers, the tone might well be droll, but her frustration is only too real. When we hear Chandan think, he compares himself to his straight-laced father, and then says that his brother Chitvan takes after the wild side of their dad who impulsively went on road trips to Kashmir, Sikkim and Kerala. Writers Vyas and Akarsh Khurana have finally written a series that never feels episodic. The thread of the narrative doesn’t break between the episodes that have been released. Their continuity is a relief.
The production value that makes Tripling a part cinematic experience does prove that TVF has raised the bar in a game of the web series that has only just become interesting. The Tata Tiago plugs, though off-putting sometimes, points to a revenue model that might just sustain the creativity that is being dedicated to entertainment on the internet. Vyas, Parashar and Gagroo have all put in performances that deserve larger screens. They sit around a bonfire and play ‘Dirty Secrets’. There’s an authentic charm to their confessions. I am glad that their genuine honesty permeates the series.