Have you ever had a discussion with a friend or acquaintance over a burning political issue over drinks that has ended up turning... somewhat intense? That's the premise of a new web series called Daaru Pe Charcha by YouTube channel Screen Patti.
In the first episode uploaded last Friday, the show (whose title is a play on PM Narendra Modi's 'Chai Pe Charcha', which similarly involves discussions on significant issues) 'invited' controversial FTII chairman Gajendra Chauhan for a frank discussion about the controversy surrounding his appointment. It wasn't the real Chauhan, of course — it was a parody of the man, portrayed by character actor Rajesh Sharma (who was most recently seen in Bajrangi Bhaijaan).
"The idea is to break down issues in a manner that is easy for people to understand in a manner that is familiar for them," says Abhishek Banerjee, who is co-writing and directing the series. In the first episode, the host Jitendra (actor-comedian Jitendra Kumar, who regularly appears in The Viral Fever's videos) refers to alcohol as a "truth serum" and insists that the show is about finding out what is true and what isn't. As his interview with Chauhan progresses, Jitendra gets visibly agitated and starts counter-questioning him passionately in a manner that would be unbecoming of a respectable TV journalist.
"It's not actually alcohol; we've used apple juice, of course," says Banerjee, with a laugh. "But the idea is to use it as a means to say out loud what we're all thinking about a particular issue."
Daaru Pe Charcha will be a monthly series, with the next one focusing on getting Jitendra to interview a fictitious character named Mr Ban — a reference to the sundry bans that the government seems to impose at regular intervals (the latest one being pornographic websites, which were banned and un-banned within the space of a few days).
Watch the first episode of Daaru Pe Charcha — which has so far received nearly 1 lakh views on YouTube — above.
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