Mismatched, Flames, Feels Like Home: OTT goes big on teen trysts

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Crushes, camaraderie, conflicts and a dash of drama — a concoction of these forms the life of a teen or young adult. But, many would agree that this phase in life is perhaps the best ever. And it is this period in life that plays muse to a slew of OTT projects. From Mismatchedand Feels Like Ishq to Campus Diaries and the upcoming Zoya Akhtar directorial, The Archies,that forms the launch pad for Suhana Khan and Khushi Kapoor, makers are exploring the trials and tribulations of young adults, backed by heartwarming, coming-of-age stories. And looks like the formula is working, as it is giving audiences a much-needed break from all things dark and drama.

“We started telling stories about teenagers and young adults in the 1990s. But, there is a dearth of stories where contemporary teenagers are represented in a relatable manner. Many shows and films, especially on the digital medium, are filling that gap,” says Amol Parashar, who was seen in one segment of Feels Like Ishq alongside actor Radhika Madan. He adds, “We still have a lot of catching up to do. Much of the inner world and complexities of young people still remain to be explored and represented.”

Writer-director Tahira Kashyap Khurrana believes that for the longest time, the youth was not given its due in the world of entertainment. “Young adults form the largest part of the population, their stories need to be told. Now, there has been a lot of interest around young adults. We have a lot of characters who belong to this age group. They have great minds, stories and a lot of interest in the same. It is fascinating,” she says.

If we look at the West, shows such as Never Have I Ever, Sex Education and Riverdale are some examples of the ever-growing library of teen shows in the OTT space.

What works in the favour of such shows is that it comes with a dose of nostalgia. Gagan Arora, who was seen in the show College Romance, says: “During the pandemic, people could not go to college in a normal setup and missed campus life. Such shows gave them a feel of the same.”

According to Mismatched creator Akarsh Khurana, such shows cut through a lot of noise: “There was a time when a lot of people were making darker, more violent shows, leaving people with one common complaint that family viewing was limited. Now, these shows come as a breath of fresh air with innocent romance, which is the reason behind its growing popularity.”

Picking his show as an example, Khurana explains, “The number of people who have seen the second season trailer on YouTube as compared to the first season’s trailer is more than five times, which is a reflection of the growing popularity. Also, the shows are packaged intelligently by writers, where they tackle a lot of pertinent issues, rather than just being the cutesy romance.”

Actor Vidya Malvade, too, has writers to credit for the growing success of teen dramas. “For instance, I am not in my teens, neither is Rannvijay (Singha, Mismatched co-star), but people love our characters. And only writers are to be credited for that. It is because of them that we can establish a connect with the audience,” she says.



Original Article

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