In our latest interaction with Kriti Vij and Pranay Manchanda, the reel and real-life couple talks to us about creating Dice Media’s – Firsts Season 2 during the lockdown.

The current pandemic has brought out the creative side for many of us including the content creators and producers in India. Dice Media being one of them, took the lockdown as an opportunity instead of a hindrance and created Firsts Season 2 – their 1-minute episode series shared exclusively on Instagram. While the first season was about a high-school love story, the second season hits closer to home for millennials trying their luck on dating apps, especially during the lockdown. Firsts Season 2 stars real-life couple, Kriti Vij and Pranay Manchanda, and gives you a taste of what forging a connection in a virtual setting looks like. If you’ve ever tried your hand at online dating, you’re going to relate and how to this one!  It is sweet, real, only a minute per episode but gets you hooked just like any other series!

We recently spoke to Kriti and Pranay about their experience of creating content for Firsts Season 2 in a different format and in a different shooting environment and they shared their interesting takes and insights with us!

Take a look at our conversation about Firsts Season 2 and more:

How’s the lockdown treating you? Are you also on creativity exploring spree besides your shoots?

Kriti: “Of course, so lockdown has been fun. The first 10 days for me was like, “Oh God what is this you can’t get out” and all. But slowly and steadily I have started to enjoy being at home. Now I’m thinking when I get out I’ll be like, “Yeh konsi duniya hai?” I am not sure now. So, it’s pretty nice actually. Staying at home, spending time with your family, and staying connected with friends. And of course, the shoot was nice. While we were shooting we didn’t realise how the time flew. This time is really forcing people to think.”

Pranay: “Yaa, of course, I echo Kriti’s thoughts but I’d like to add that apart from the first week our minds have started to become more active and we are a bit more productive throughout the days and getting a lot more done. So, hopefully, we are going to come out of this lockdown a little more prepared by being more efficient at what we do. We are trying out these creative skills because now and then we get these bursts of creativity that we jot down. And we’ve got these ideas about things that we might do so it’s really exciting.”

The way you shot Firsts Season 2 is quite different from how one would usually shoot a show. How difficult was it for you guys to shoot it?

Pranay: “It was new to us. We were shooting for the first time without a crew. We were shooting it ourselves. We had to figure out the angles, framing, lighting and all that stuff. All these things were new to us and it’s always something we admired about the process on the set, so getting to learn about them was exciting. Now I think next time I go to a set I’ll know the process of it and I can appreciate it more. That way it was new to us and also a big learning experience.”

Kriti: “I just want to add like we were in constant calls with the team at Pocket Aces. They were constantly guiding us through this entire process. That was nice, we’d send the video and they send it back saying, “No, no, guys this isn’t straight you have to align it” and stuff. So it was nice. Pranay has directed plays before this, he directed a lot of plays when he used to live in Delhi. So, I think this is his first time directing screen work and it was a lot of fun to be directed by him.”

Was the ‘online dating’ peg planned in advance for Firsts Season 2 or was it inspired by the lockdown?

Pranay: “I think to be fair the idea was completely born out of Dice Media and Pocket Aces. You know, it was their brainchild, I don’t know what they were planning for the second season of Firsts. When they came up to us they said, that look we want to do this love story during the times of lockdown, we were super excited about it. That’s how our role in it started. So, we came in knowing already what is happening. But of course, while it was happening, like Kriti mentioned we were constantly on the back and forth calls with them. Some guys had to deal with my calls in 2 in the morning. I was keeping them all up. But I think everybody is so willing to work since there is absolutely nothing to do, so, we were taking advantage of that. (laughs)”

What are your thoughts on online dating or the way dating culture has changed in India?

Kriti: “I don’t know about Pranay, but I have never dated online but its a very relatable concept. I met Pranay before I knew about Tinder, so I was never introduced to that world. But I imagine it’s fun. Of course, if it’s happening during the lockdown then the challenge will be that the couple can’t physically meet. So, it’s more about conversations and thoughts and feelings before you sort of meet a person. I think that’s interesting. One thing we never had and have now is time, you know. So, people are looking for is new connections to get conversations out of this entire lockdown.”

Pranay: “To add to dating nowadays, you just have to move with times. For example, if right now somebody says, “I don’t do e-mail”, they are not going to be working as efficiently as other people. Similarly, I think dating itself has moved into the category of how does someone meet someone new who is not from the same job or the same workspace or the same friend-circle as you. These are the only ways one can meet. These online dating aggregators especially, Bumble, is doing a great job in making sure to avoid as many creepy people as possible in the entire thing. So, you know the girl has to make the first move and send the first message if she likes him. I think that’s great because the entire safety issue comes in and you can say that this is a safe platform to meet absolutely new people. In theory, I think it is a great thing, unlike Kriti I was on Tinder on like 1 month or something and I have a little bit more experience. But, as you know, in 1-month boys don’t get that many matches so I don’t think I have matched with a lot of people there. For me, it was a stroke of luck that I ended up meeting Kriti.”

Also Read: Romantic scenes from shows that made us want to text our Ex

Firsts Season 2 talks about various firsts, so was it difficult to re-create them because you are a real-life couple, or once you were in your characters you just got on with it?

Kriti: “It did cross our mind. This thought was there that we have to sort of go back to our relationship to like feel the same feelings. But we are actors and it’s our job so we got it done. We had a little bit of preparations before we started and we had lots of conversations.”

Pranay: “We have all experienced a lot of firsts before, you know. What happens is that our job as an actor is to also take those memories and use it as a sensory memory to re-create that moment in our own mind and body. it was really exciting to go back to the time and get that feeling out and a lot of times what we would do is, I would once in a while wear shoes for the take. Although the feet can’t be seen, I feel like when I’m meeting somebody new I would like to wear shoes. It is just that one thing in my head that I want to be able to do that. So you know, small things like that were helping us get back to that feeling of meeting someone new. So, the feeling is so new because you are meeting someone new without actually meeting them. That was something really exciting for us.”

As actors and content creators, how do you think, new formats like series with 1-minute episodes are helping advance the digital content space in India?

Pranay: “I think it is just becoming more accessible to a lot of people because by making a 1-minute episode you are telling people that you don’t have to make such large investment of time on this show. Every day, if you are taking a 5-minute break from work you can take 4 minutes to do something else and 1 minute to watch this. And you are getting an entire episode and an entire story and you are transformed into an entirely new world in just one minute of your time. It becomes more accessible to people who usually would say, “Nahi mere paas time nahi hai”, to spend their time on a new show.

Kriti: “Ya and you know, for example, I want to watch a movie I’ll do it at night because I will have to take out like 2-3 hours. Here, you don’t have to really take out the time it comes to you. It is not something that one will think so much before consuming. Also, I think 1-minute shows will lead a lot more to the imagination because like I feel like as we are not spoon-fed so much of their life we end up thinking what could have happened before and after the episode. This is also very interesting to have. So, they are almost like teasers which is a very interesting feeling to have as a viewer.”

Since you’ve shot an entire season about online dating, are there any tips that you’d like to share with our readers?

Kriti: “I can’t give a tip about online dating but maybe for regular dating. When you’re dating, I feel like you should burp as quickly in front of the other person as possible in order to break the ice and sort of like to become comfortable. And be honest and as much as your true self as possible.”

Pranay: “I would say just, again, not about online dating, because I can’t. I don’t have much experience there. All I’ll say is don’t pretend to be somebody else just to be able to impress the other person. I think once we start falling into this trap of playing games with people, this should be the last thing that one should do. So, yaa, just be yourself and I think it is the same thing as burping in front of someone.”

All the episodes of Dice Media’s Firsts Season 2 are out on and you can catch them all here!