There’s no second-guessing about how nerve-racking and confusing the past few months have been following the pandemic-fuelled nation-wide series of lockdown. The overall handling of COVID-19 by the country’s state governments, the spread of fake news and misinformation by the media and social media, contributed to an initial wave of mass hysteria. Living in a clustered land of diversity means people from distinct walks of life have a unique response to the globe-turning pandemic.
Grappled with an ominous sense of uncertainty and degrading mental health, locked up inside amid the hysteria, a common phenomenon many individuals faced was Cabin Fever – a swelling sense of irritability prompted by the prolonged isolation they found themselves in.
A Creative Film-Making Endeavour
In order to accurately portray the conflicting emotions, hopelessness and mental health challenges people have had to overcome, director Pranav Bhasin, Jugaad pictures and Ritviz came together to develop their latest creative venture – Cabin Fever, a YouTube miniseries. Shot, directed and produced entirely using a unique format where most scenes are either phone-recorded story-mode videos or clippings of video-calls shared by the protagonist, Jounty and his romantic interest, Sanskriti. The hunch covid-19 posed, lockdown restrictions as well as mandatory social distancing norms, made a physical set-based production using advanced filming equipment a fantasy. Hence the director Pranav’s novel approach to film-making did the series wonders.
An attempt at capturing the little moments that bring separated families, friends and couples virtually, in their process of helping each other cope, Cabin Fever is a compelling depiction of the cocktail of sentiments people shared.
The show that revolves around the central idea of escapism chronicles the life of a happy-go-lucky hustler,Jounty and his rational girlfriend Sanskriti. Throughout the series, the couple contemplates the idea of breaking past their comfort zone and venturing beyond the rut they find themselves in.
Jounty is the embodiment of a free spirit teeming with wanderlust and an ebbing desire for adventure, amidst all the chaos. Sanskriti, who he endearingly refers to as ‘Sanscritic’, is the picture of a wise, independent and level-headed woman, who can multi-task with ease; working a day job on one end, while helping her partner navigate through his many mental breakdowns and antics.
Jounty, played flawlessly by uber-talented Bombay-based actor, Arnav Bhasin, is the definition of a charming 21st-century man-child plagued by anxiety, fleeting desires, unrealistic ambitions, and indecisiveness. Sanskriti Shukla, on the other hand, epitomises the ideal girlfriend, giving her partner a reality check when needed yet also sticking up for all his idiosyncratic dreams, regardless of how silly the world thinks they are.
Over the three-part series, the two love-ridden guppies make banter, fight, complain, quarrel but most importantly, watch each other’s six when they’re down and stick together through thick and thin. Despite how ridiculous Jounty’s ideas can be at times, be it eloping to Pali on a bicycle or hosting a rap concert amid the pandemic, Sanskriti being the passionate human and concerned girlfriend that she is, empathises and often makes a genuine effort to view the world through her boyfriend’s lens of naivety. The raw, bittersweet moments the couple shares are a precise metaphor for feelings most of us experienced when we were quarantined, away from our friends, family or even our better half.
The awe-evoking evolution of Jounty’s initially problematic relationship with his parents is another theme the show explores. Jounty, who felt suffocated around perpetually dagger-drawn parents in the beginning, slowly manages to strike a chord with them.
Takeaway from the series
The show’s multi-faceted themes, spanning from family and relationships to ambition and professional pursuits, encompass the many nuances of life that make us human. The unapologetic series, that doesn’t fail to cast light upon the kaleidoscope of exigencies, uncertainty and paranoia we have to battle as mortals, illustrates the roller-coaster that being alive in 2020 has been.
Far more than being just an entertaining watch, Cabin Fever holds out a mirror for us to critique our way of life and make the most of the little things in life while we’re still sane and breathing.
View the first installment of the show below
If you enjoyed this piece, we recommend you check out :