Anuvab Pal takes on the virality of things with going Viral Pvt. Ltd

Twenty-eight years after the world tuned in to watch George, Kramer, Jerry and Elaine overturn the accepted norms of civility in cult-favourite Seinfeld, funny man Anuvab Pal was set to task on creating India’s answer to it. “What could possibly be funny in the tone of those great international comedies like Seinfeld in the Indian context and reach out to the urban youth? It had to be something to do with the absurdity of social media,” laughed Anuvab. The answer is Going Viral Pvt. Ltd — an eight-episode web-series written and directed by Anuvab, starring Kunaal Roy Kapur and featuring Rajit Kapur, Loveleen Mishra, Tanmay Bhat, Kubbra Sait, Radhika Vaz, Biswa Kalyan Rath and more.

  • Published 2.09.17
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The story follows a social media aficionado — @Gaurav — who heads Going Viral Pvt. Ltd, a company that churns out online content tailored to the demands of its clients with the goal of going viral

Twenty-eight years after the world tuned in to watch George, Kramer, Jerry and Elaine overturn the accepted norms of civility in cult-favourite Seinfeld, funny man Anuvab Pal was set to task on creating India’s answer to it. “What could possibly be funny in the tone of those great international comedies like Seinfeld in the Indian context and reach out to the urban youth? It had to be something to do with the absurdity of social media,” laughed Anuvab.
The answer is Going Viral Pvt. Ltd — an eight-episode web-series written and directed by Anuvab, starring Kunaal Roy Kapur and featuring Rajit Kapur, Loveleen Mishra, Tanmay Bhat, Kubbra Sait, Radhika Vaz, Biswa Kalyan Rath and more.

The story follows a social media aficionado — @Gaurav — who heads Going Viral Pvt. Ltd, a company that churns out online content tailored to the demands of its clients with the goal of going viral. The clients’ willingness to go to any length for fame in the world wide web, and @Gaurav’s hilarious suggestions to help them get there, make up the plot, conflict, comedy et al of the web-series. 

“Kunaal was an obvious choice for @Gaurav. The character comes up with some of the most ludicrous ideas for his clients. For the other roles, I tried to rope in as many of my favourites as possible, like Rajit and Loveleen,” Anuvab told t2.

With social media having invaded our lives at infinite-Mbps speed, TV has now been reduced to, as Anuvab put it, “a rural medium”. Therefore, it was a natural fit for the content of the web-series and the medium in which it is reaching the audience.

“Even if the virality of Going Viral Pvt. Ltd lies solely in the hands of the Indian Internet users, they are still a sizeable chunk of our population. So they are bound to relate to the content,” said Kunaal, when t2 caught up with him over the phone from Mumbai.

A lesser-known fact is the irony of Kunaal’s characterisation as he, by his own admission, does not feel the need to put out any content on social media. “I am not there on any social media platform. Yet even I am not blind to its relevance in our lives. So I took a day to get into the skin of @Gaurav, to be able to understand the character with all his nuances properly and create his own absurdity.

“In fact, the content on the Internet has gone beyond all levels of absurdity because whatever we have satirised in the past has become reality. Take Donald Trump for example. Reality has become tragic and in order to satirise that, the content had to be absolutely genius. And that is what we have tried with Going Viral Pvt. Ltd,” Kunaal added.

Therefore Anuvab’s intention was to create something with “the dystopia of Black Mirror, the comic tone of Seinfeld, and the story-arc of House”.

According to him, the absurdity of social media is no longer a laughing matter. “Ask any journalist or stand-up comic. They get trolled and even threatened online. On the other hand, there are people who put out content with the intention of going viral. Kunal Kamra (stand-up comic) has told me some very funny stories that inspired me.Virality brings income. Dhinchak Pooja is a thing because of social media!”

Time (read: the Internet) will tell if Going Viral Pvt. Ltd actually manages to go viral but for now, we can regale in clickbait @Gaurav’s ludicrous lessons on mastering online fame.

Text: Anannya Sarkar

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