Interesting life lessons by Akarsh Khurana in ‘Jugaadistan’
New Delhi: Director Akarsh Khurana throws light on his newly released web series ‘Jugaadistan’ that deals with student dynamics, college politics and journalism.
He says: “‘Jugaadistan’ is a story of today’s generation, dominantly middle-class generation, set in Delhi; in a world similar to Delhi University. It is a show about multiple students of a university who are at an important stage of their life, where every decision taken will decide their future.”
“They have plenty of options in front of them, and have to make some tough choices. They’re also going through life doing a lot of jugaad to make their lives better or easier. So, it is set against the backdrop of things like college elections, exams and investigation.”
Directed by Akarsh Khurana and Adhaar Khurana, ‘Jugaadistan’ features actors such as Sumeet Vyas, Arjun Mathur, Parambrata Chatterjee, Rukshar Dhillon, Taaruk Raina, Gopal Datt and Ahsaas Channa, among others.
On the question of how the idea came to his mind, he adds that this show is written by 5 writers and he was not one of them. Divya Rao was one of the writers and she had 4 extremely talented writers working with her – Anant Tripathy, Unaiza Merchant, Tarun Dudeja and Parijat Joshi. A couple of them have actually been a part of Delhi University and seen this life up close.
“It was very much their idea and the world that they created. This was something that was already being written when it was offered to me and I was very excited to come on board because this was a very different take on a youth show. It’s a different side of college which we have never seen – slightly in the dark side of college life.”
Akarsh was asked to join the project 2 years ago.
“We finished shooting in about 30 days and we had about 25 days left for shoot – we had to take a 2 month break due to Covid, and then go back to Delhi to complete the shoot.”
He elaborates more about the show and the sense of relatability that was there because people had been kind of drawing from their own experiences.
“And then when we got into it and we started getting the crew that had some sort of connection with either University in the north or just in general with this world. Then of course people started sharing a lot of their stories with us and some of them made their way into the show. Different experiences of all the people who had been through University life or been through college politics or even been a part of Delhi University – it was very valuable for us to move forward and make things more relatable,” he adds.
The entire shooting happened in Delhi in lanes like Dariyaganj or Paharganj.
“I think that was quite challenging because they were quite congested and very crowded. A lot of people were very intrigued by the shooting which was going on. There was a lot of crowd and it was quite hard to shoot there,” shares the director while talking about the challenges faced during shooting.
He adds: “I think the biggest challenge was Covid. We were already shooting with Covid protocols and the second wave happened right when we were shooting. It was an extremely challenging shoot overall. It was crazy shooting with everyone at different locations even though it was quite rewarding. I look back at ‘Jugaadistan’ as a challenging shoot on the whole.”
While sharing some behind the camera moments, he recalls: “It is very difficult for me to share a particular behind the camera moment because there are so many of them. Every single day we worked with such an amazing cast and crew and there were lots of crazy things happening every day. Everyone became friends during the shoot.”
“One thing everyone bonded over was food. Our lunches and dinners were amazing. Our production managed a wonderful caterer. Everyone looked forward to these lunch breaks and they all bonded like a family. Being away from home for so long you are bound to form new relations. A lot of great relationships formed because of the stuff that happened on set,” he says.”
“The show reflects how hard it is to make a decision between what is right and what is wrong. It is all about perspectives. There are interesting short lessons about living your life with the choices you make but it never tries to rub it in your face. It is very subtle with it’s delivery paired with an engaging story,” concludes Akarsh referring to the message given by ‘Jugaadistan’.
‘Jugaadistan’ is streaming on Lionsgate Play.