During the Symbiosis Literary Festival held on 20th and 21st, November 2021, guest speaker Dhruv Sehgal and Ajit Duara discussed how modern love can be congruous with digital media. A Symbiosis alumnus, Mr. Sehgal is an actor, writer, and director with contributions to prominent productions such as Little Things, What are the Odds and his award-winning short film, Kunal. Mr. Ajit Duara, a professor at SCMC Pune and a film critic , engaged in a conversation with Mr. Sehgal to delineate, and consequently become cognizant of the realities of the dynamic and pragmatic modern love, and its portrayal in online media.
The session, held on November 21, 2021, commenced with a brief introduction of Mr. Sehgal by Gayatri Mendenha, the facilitator of the event. This was followed by Mr. Duara greeting him and congratulating Mr. Sehgal for the enjoyable and concise Little Things. Talking about the differences in the portrayal of love in varying mediums, Mr. Sehgal stated that while several aspects did remain consistent, the “notion of romanticism” had been altered with love now being a mere facet of life rather than its ‘central focus.’
Mr. Duara asked Mr. Sehgal if the specific backdrop in the set design of the house depicted in the series was a conscious decision, since shared spaces often lead to conflict in live-in relationships. In reply to this, Mr. Sehgal mentioned that often he felt a ‘sense of glossiness’ being affixed to the series to augment the ‘aspirational value’ of the show. He asserted that the primary purpose was to make everything seem beautiful rather than mundane.
When asked if Mr. Sehgal’s scriptwriting was influenced by the depiction of a working couple’s hectic lives, , Mr. Sehgal added that it provided a greater safety net and allowed the characters to experience life in a ‘dynamic and holistic manner’.
The conversation proceed to represention of contemporary love in Mr. Sehgal’s own life, to which he admitted that the series had fortuitously fabricated a ‘sense of identity as a writer’ for him. The floor was then opened for questions from the audience. In response to a question about his journey in the industry, Mr. Sehgal proclaimed that he chose interesting alternatives that furnished opportunities and knowledge, even if meant letting go of something he enjoyed better. Correspondingly, a student enquired about the complexities involved in drafting a story related to the “highly subjective” concept of love. Responding to this, Mr. Sehgal stated that his modus operandi was to represent characters with truth and empathy, alongside being cognizant of the core values of love remaining consistent.
In its ensuing minutes, the session further gave way to profound and insightful perceptions vis-à-vis love, following which, Ms. Mendenha thanked the speakers for the wonderful discussion. In conclusion, the session truly echoed the quote, “Wherever you are and whatever you do, be in love.”
by Ishika Gupta