The first season of The Trip, a web series about four girls on a road trip to Thailand aired two years ago. Now, comedian Mallika Dua and actress Shweta Tripathi return for season 2. “This time we have a woman director and many times, people say, ‘Why do you say ‘woman’ director?’ Because there are so few. If I just say ‘director’, I guarantee most of the people will think it’s a man. It’s a whole girls team this time, even the writer is a girl. And it makes a difference. It’s not that men can’t write female-centric roles but I think it’s nice when the person just understands, you don’t have to explain to them,” says Tripathi.
We asked the two what they’re binge-watching and what the best career advice they’ve got has been:
Favourite show/movie about female bonding
Mallika Dua: I really liked How To Be Single (2016). That’s a cute film. I liked Bridesmaids (2011). I love Orange Is The New Black. I don’t think there is a better show. It’s the most gender-neutral – the same story could’ve been told in a man’s cell. That’s the kind of work that most women crave. It’s a very good women bonding show because it shows bonding in extreme adversity.
Shweta Tripathi: The cliché is Sex and the City, but that is definitely one of them. Bridesmaids I really enjoyed. I feel that we don’t make enough female buddy cop films. The films centered around girls, I find it very sad that somehow the third line will be them talking about either shopping or boys. I feel that scope is very narrow – these are the things girls do, these are the things girls don’t do. That’s why I enjoyed The Trip so much. Because it pushes those boundaries.
The best journey you’ve taken
MD: My dad, sister and I had gone to Bhutan. It’s my favourite place in the world. My mum couldn’t come because she couldn’t get off work. My dad’s friend was the High Commissioner at the time. So he’d invited us to come stay in these lovely houses. For me, it was heaven on earth.
ST: My bachelorette. There were five of us, we started with Berlin, then Budapest, Rotterdam and Amsterdam. We hardly shopped, just ate and drank. It was so much fun. My honeymoon was a little longer than three weeks. My husband and I went to Amsterdam, Italy and then Rome. It’s beautiful. We went to Manchester to watch United vs. Tottenham because he’s a United supporter. Then we went to London. In Manchester and London, our best friends from India joined us. I ate so much on both trips that now I’m on a green tea and detox diet.
You shot Season 2 of The Trip in South India – give us a great food recommendation
MD: My mother is Tamilian, I get a lot of South Indian food at home and so I never eat it outside. But we ate a lot of Thayir Saadam (curd rice). In Pondicherry, we tried to eat many kinds of food, not just South Indian food. On set, we’d all requested local khaana. There was chicken chettinad and veg korma and five different types of sabji. And a lot of filter kaapi.
ST: I love South Indian food. I could have it day in and day out. Idlis are a staple for me and that podi, that powder that you eat with ghee – I live for that. In Juhu, there’s this South Indian restaurant called Dakshinayan and every Sunday, I am there without fail. So when they told me the shoot was in Pondicherry, I was more than happy.
Your favourite female character in a book/tv show/movie
MD: I love Meryl Streep’s character from The Devil Wears Prada (2006). In Hindi cinema, I really liked the roles that Seema Pahwa does, and Kangana Ranaut’s roles in Queen (2014) and Tanu Weds Manu (2011).
ST: One of my favourite books is The Kite Runner. I’m reading a book called The Wonder Girls, in which I’m one of the girls. Role models are very important – either male or female. Fictional characters are needed, but when you see characters who’ve made it in life, I find that very inspiring. In movies, any character that Meryl Streep does. Even Alia Bhatt. I love the choices she makes.
Your favourite writer
MD: Varun Grover. Since we’re talking about literature that talks about girls, I think that Anuja Chauhan does a really fabulous job of writing stories about women and making them funny.
ST: Malcolm Gladwell, who’s written The Tipping Point and Blink. I think as an actor, it’s so important to understand what goes on in the mind because when we live the characters, they have to be different from each other.
A show you’re binge watching
MD: Jane The Virgin. Only the first three seasons are on Netflix, I don’t know where to watch the rest. If anyone knows, tell me.
ST: Yeh Meri Family, which is TVF’s show. It’s fabulous. I called my parents and said, ‘Please watch it.’ I was telling friends about the series and I said, ‘You have to watch it. I don’t know if you’ll relate to it, but sometimes even I have stolen money from my parents.’ It was just 5 Rs when I had to buy a gift for my boyfriend. Obviously my parents know about it now. One of my favourite shows, besides Game of Thrones, is House of Cards.
Favourite line from a movie
MD:“Mujhe afsos karna nahi aata” from Zindagi Nah Milegi Dobara (2011) because that’s the way I live my life. If I need to disappoint someone, it’s okay because mujhe afsos karna nahi aata.
ST: “Sabka badla lega Faizal” from Gangs of Wasseypur (2012).
The oddest feedback you’ve got at an audition
MD: Not the oddest, but most frequent feedback is that I don’t know what to do with my hands. And it’s true. Because I come from theatre, it takes me a long time to just loosen my body. I think auditions are an unnatural process of judging anybody’s calibre. It’s like determining if somebody is intelligent on the basis of just one exam.
ST: During auditions, most casting directors play it safe because if they tell you that this is not enough, you’ll say, ‘Can I try again?’ So they pretend that it was good. Poor actors, they’re already an insecure breed.
The most famous person you can text right now
MD: Karan Johar. I could probably send a message to Shahrukh Khan indirectly through him.
ST: Riz Ahmed, from The Night Of. I had assisted on a film called Trishna, which he was in. As an actor, he’s amazing, but even as a human being he is lovely. I was very disheartened when we were talking and he called me ‘sister’. I was like, ‘Noooo’.
Best career advice you’ve ever got
MD: It was from a theatre director in Delhi. When I moved to Bombay, he told me, ‘Never waste time trying to fulfill other people’s dreams. You’ll meet people who’ll try and get their own goal fulfilled in the name of giving you a job, but you must always ensure that you are not a cog in the wheel of their vision. You must have your own career in mind.’ A lot of us from the digital medium are called to promote someone’s films and unless I get something equally good – not just monetarily – I don’t do it.
ST: It was from Nawazuddin Siddiqui. “Time sabka aayega. Agar talented ho, toh tumhe koi nahi rok sakta. Time lag sakta hai, lekin time aayega.” This was around Haraamkhor (2017). He also said, “Kuch actors ko choosy hona chahiye.” And that has been engraved in my mind. Now even if I’m getting a lot of money for a project, if my heart’s not in it, I’m not going to do it.