#KetchupTalks: Feels Like Home writer Parikshit Joshi deep dives into being a young writer, director, actor, and more!

Sakshi Sharma
Updated On
New Update
Parikshit Joshi

From writing Feels Like Home to working with the TVF, Parikshit Joshi is that young auteur who dabbles his hand in any and everything to give us the best of entertainment!

There is no doubt that OTT has created and given space to artists in many folds. But much before the giants of the OTT came into the picture, it was TVF and Dice Media that took on the pulse of the young bunch. And we had various spoofs, comedy sketches, and much more on our hands. This gave rise to new talents and a platform for those who wished to explore something different. That's how Parikshit Joshi rose up and today he's a writer, director, actor, and podcaster.

He started with Alright videos and similar content and became quite a recognizable face on YouTube. But there's more to him than what meets the eye as he also adorns the hats of writer and director. Parikshit has been working as a writer, director, and actor for about 7 years now in which he worked for TVF for 5 years, was one of the initial members of TSP, wrote mini shows like Zeroes & Weekends (zee5), created intellectual properties and mentored writer’s rooms, and directed a few short films as well.

His most recent project includes writing a web series that goes on to explore college life, Feels Like Home, streaming on Lionsgate Play. Hailing from Uttarakhand, he draws inspiration from artists like Noah Baumbach, Richard Linklater, and Greta Gerwig because of their unique way of storytelling. And everyone from Tarantino, Scorcese to Anurag Kashyap and Zoya Akhtar does that. Hence he believes that there's no way that a story can be told with full conviction without finding something personal in it. He is old school at heart for whom Instagram and keeping up with trends is quite an effort and if given a chance, he likes to shoot stuff on an analog film. His playlist is filled with Hemant Kumar, S.D Burman, Kishore Kumar, and Over The Weeknd. And Parikshit strongly believes that there's no problem in the world that a glass of whiskey and Hemant da’s voice can’t heal!

Also Read: #KetchupTalks: Ahsaas Channa talks about Hostel Daze 2 and much more!

We spoke to Parikshit Joshi about his journey so far and here's what he had to share!

As a person who wears one too many hats - writer, director, actor, and podcaster what is it that you love doing the most? Does adorning several hats create a problem for another or is it an aid? 

First off, I don't consider myself to be a podcaster. I just do Instagram live with Apoorva, about people, films, and poems that we mutually like or have inspired us in some way or the other. Picking a favorite is a tough task for me in general. When writing, direction, and acting are put in question it becomes nearly impossible to pick one. I am a writer, director, and actor in no particular order. My favorite thing to do is to tell stories, be it on screen or off screen, there is no other joy like that.

I think being able to write, direct and act is definitely an aid in terms of craft, one helps the other. Being a writer helps me understand characters better, improvise and give (what I suppose are valuable) inputs as an actor. Being an actor, I can always imagine the tone of a dialog in a more realistic sense while writing and am able to provide a safe space for my actors while directing. Being a director helps me visualize a lot while writing and acting, so ya one helps the other in terms of craft. 

As a professional, I feel I sometimes live the Myth of Sisyphus where I take the boulder up the mountain from one end and it rolls down from the other. Also, India has not seen many examples of writers, directors, and actors, so accepting it is a little difficult for people inside and out of the industry. 

But hey, what’s the fun without a challenge?!

What was the inspiration behind writing a series like Feels Like Home? What's your favorite arc in it? 

College life! The idea was to portray the regular bromance not just as a laughable feeling but to communicate the nuances of it. ZNMD was an inspiration behind it for sure as it takes a very realistic approach to a "boys road trip film”. I genuinely love all the arcs in the show. They either come out of the life that my co-writers, Chiranjeevi, Sid, and I have lived until now, or want to live life a certain way, so there is always something personal in the arcs. However, I think I have a soft spot for Sameer and Avi’s characters. Sameer is a person who has a lot of boundaries before he can call someone a friend, he writes poetry how I write them, on his phone. In fact, two of my poems are also a part of the show, so obviously I have a soft spot for him. For Avi, I think the journey of not taking what people think about you too seriously and not doing something just because people expect that of you is something I relate with. 

You have written and directed some comedy shorts. How challenging is doing comedy given that we're living in times of cancel culture? 

I think telling any story has become way more difficult than it was. There are always instances when you are told to rewrite a certain joke, or not say a certain thing a certain way as it might rub off the wrong way. Doing comedy becomes all the more difficult because filters are added at every layer. Most artists genuinely have their own filter of self-censorship, adding more to those kills the joke, the joy of a story. I am pretty sure there are always problematic jokes doing rounds on everyone’s family WhatsApp groups and all but sigh, everyone draws lines of moral codes as per convenience. 

You have seen the power of storytelling on OTT much before Netflix stepped into the game. What do you think is the future considering the box office isn't doing that well? 

The advent of digital media and entertainment problems has come with a promise for a lot of people like me who wanted to be storytellers but knew of no other way. It has extended the canvas for a lot of aspiring artists for sure. Also, stories have become way more democratic than they used to be, in the last few years.  I hope it stays away from hegemony as much as possible and be as democratic as possible.

I hope it also does better in terms of representation, equal opportunities, and regularisation of the pay scale, something that the film industry has not figured out yet. Things like these need to regularise as the industry takes more and more solid shape. However, with the box office not doing well, I think this is a phase, a good one hopefully. People are rejecting stories that they don’t want to see as they have access to a lot of content, so they can pick and choose. I hope it's taken in the right stride and better stories take over the big screen. There is no joy that can equal to the joy of community watching. 

What really is a writer's room and how do you mentor it since you have been one? 

The writer’s room for me is that space that writers working together on a particular project share where judgments and preconceived notions are kept aside and everything is discussed with honesty. A writer’s room for me can’t just exist to get done with the project. I love the camaraderie, the jokes, the one-upmanship, and the insights and philosophies that always go around. Not just that, there are so many passionate debates and fights that happen in a writer’s room. They mostly happen when two or more people feel strongly about different things. That is such an exciting place to be in. 

In a few writers’ rooms which were for boy's comedy shows, we have made it a point that we take some days to just tell the experiences that we have had and then find a story out of them. The sharing of stories and anecdotes turns out to be therapeutic in a way. It’s honestly been very less time that I have mentored a writer’s room. We are a generation of people (specifically in the digital entertainment industry) who have the luxury of learning on the job. It'd be a premature opinion if I were to give one now but one thing I can say for sure is that there is no one way a writer’s room can be managed. It’s like a team sport. There are always different and interesting personalities that come in different rooms. 

The common thing is that everyone works towards a common goal. I just try to ensure that. You definitely need to objectively choose the best thing for the story, check your biases when going for something which is subjective and at the end of the day feel that you’ve done something fruitful. Having said that, I am still learning.

What are some of the comfort watches that you always run towards? What have you watched recently that blew your mind? 

The Office, Friends, How I Met Your Mother, Fleabag, and Arrested Development are shows that I can pick a random episode and play. In terms of films, Udaan, Lootera, ZNMD, Frances Ha, The Before Trilogy, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind are films that I keep going back to. Tees Maar Khan is another. I get a lot of judgments from people about liking Tees Maar Khan but I genuinely love that film. I have a group of friends who share that fandom as well. In fact, that is a checkbox for forming friendships (laughing).

I recently watched AfterLife. It's just beautiful. I have laughed, cried, smiled, and broken down with it. It is a whole new perspective of looking at the world. I don't know how Ricky Gervais is able to do that. People have divided opinions on it but I really liked Brahmastra for the audio-visual treat it was, a beautiful theatre experience. Same for RRR too.  

Tell us about a young actor you've loved working with! How is it working in TVF since you have worked with them for so many years? 

I enjoy working with anyone who can share or at least understand my twisted sense of humor. I have been lucky to find plenty of them. Beyond that, as you work with a person for some time, you understand their quirks, their reactions, your reactions to them, and being able to have a to and fro within a scene. I think I have been able to do that with a lot of co-actors and have received the same from them, so picking favorites is not easy. 

About TVF, I think it did for me what a film school does for you. I was exposed to a lot of new cinema, a lot of like-minded people, people with varied beliefs, and some really good mentors. I have had a lot of “first” in terms of writing, directing, and acting over there. The amount of stuff that I have learned from that place is difficult to quantify. 

What lies ahead for your future? Do you have any advice for newbies in the industry?

Feels Like Home Season 2 will be released soon, so I'm looking forward to that. Along with that, I have been able to develop a few ideas into scripts. Hopefully, I’ll be able to pitch and convert them into moving pictures soon. In terms of acting, there are some conversations going on but it’d be too soon to say anything so just, fingers crossed. Regardless of that, I have been able to do good auditions and write much more in the last year so that’s a blessing. 

I’d just say there's no one way, no one pace or formula for getting around things, so everyone should find their own tune, their own rhythm. Doing work for the kitchen is as important as doing work for the soul, so whatever one does should be done with honesty. And take out some time to slow down. The industry of storytelling may make you run so fast that you don’t even feel the need to rest. But slowing down once in a while will help you realize and push yourself when you need to sprint. Relax whenever possible.

We can't wait for the new season of Feels Like Home to hit soon! It is releasing on Lionsgate Play on October 7. And to see what's more in store for Parikshit!

For more entertainment content follow us @socialketchupbinge

TVF anurag kashyap Zoya akhtar Dice Media Lionsgate Play Kishore Kumar Greta Gerwig Noah Baumbach Richard Linklater Feels Like Home Alright videos feels like home 2 Hemant Kumar Over The Weeknd S.D Burman TSP