WOW | Coverstory
Just Another Love Story
Priyanka Karki’s directorial debut Just Another Love Story is a web series featuring Shristi Shrestha. For the very first time, the two actors will be portraying lesbian characters. Ever since the first look of the posters, people have been curious to know more about the series. In this edition of WOW, the divas give a glimpse of their upcoming series which is scheduled for release on August 16, marking the occasion of Gaijatra festival and the Pride Parade.
What inspired you to create ‘Just Another Love Story’?
Priyanka: The digital world has taken over the world; people are all about Youtube. This was the perfect time to create something for the web so I decided to go for the webseries.
As an actor, what interested you in this role?
Shristi: More than an actor, I felt privileged as a human being to be able to portray the LGBT community.
The series portrays a sensitive subject, were you nervous about it?
Priyanka: I was not nervous but there was no other reference to look up to. I don’t think the web series market has been explored in Nepal. So, I don’t know what to expect.
Shristi: I haven’t really given a thought about the comments in terms of the subject but I am really nervous about doing justice to my character Maya
One Minute with Shristi
Your take on…
One-night stands: Although everyone has their choice, I feel people can take it easy; no need to rush.
Same sex marriage: It’s like any other marriage
Porn: I think for many it’s normal. However I know that pornography is plays a major role in the underground sex slave industry. The industry directly reinforces human trafficking and I hope people can be more mindful and not promote it.
Drugs: I feel like life is already so exciting that there is no need for drugs. We just need to take life as a blessing and live every moment ecstatically.
When you were reading the script, what struck you?
Priyanka: I developed the script with Shaan Basnet. When Shaan came up with the story, it was perfect because I wanted to do something off the line. Also, as this was my first home production made under my own banner Prinklebell Pictures, I had the liberty to take a stand and do what I wanted to do. I came up with the title ‘Just Another Love Story’ because I wanted it to be just another love story and shed light on the LGBT community in a respectful way. It was exciting, eccentric and I had a great time doing it.
Shristi: Besides the whole story, the character that I am portraying of Maya really struck me. She is on a path of self-discovery; she is so pure and innocent.
How have the story and the characters been taken forward to reflect the modern age and the problems faced by the LGBT community?
Priyanka: Mostly when LGBT concerns are raised in movies, only the opposing aspect of the society is portrayed. So, I have focused more on the individual’s internal conflict. You will see the two girls – Maya and Amara are on their path of accepting who they are. This season only shows love as it is, and the society bit will be coming in Season II. I want this series to change people’s perspective to a new level, I want people to understand that you can’t choose who you love. Also, sexual orientation does not define one’s personality.
Shristi: Rather than reflecting on current gender issues, the first season only focuses on the characters personal experience. I think the second season will be somewhat different though.
How did you prepare yourself for the role?
Priyanka: I lost someone very special to me: Nilu. She’s taught me a lot. She’s been my best friend, family and guardian. I have seen her go through a lot of these issues and complexities. In fact, I got to learn about LGBT community and the issues they face through her. Although it was a challenging role, I had Nilu subconsciously guiding me throughout. A lot of feelings and emotions that I depicted in my character were hugely influenced by her.
Shristi: Like any other project, I read the script thoroughly and I made sure to communicate with my director. I always talked with Priyanka to understand her vision. This helped me to learn about my character’s backstory and I was able to personalise my character. As I have many LGBT friends, I consulted them to understand their psychology. I also watched many interviews and movies of LGBT couples to know them better.
How much did your co-star influence you?
Priyanka: When the initial idea of ‘Just Another Love Story’ came up, Shristi was my first choice. As we were developing Maya’s character, I could only imagine Shristi in the screenplay. At that point we hadn’t even approached her. So, when I met her, I was super worried she would turn down the role, but thankfully she did not. If Shristi hadn’t played this role, I would have completed changed the dynamics of the character.
Shristi: Honestly, I would do this series even if anybody else approached me because for me this series was more than just being an artist, it was about reflecting humanity. Having said that, when I met Priyanka, she had a sense of clarity and knew what she was doing. Also, our technical team was good.
What can the audience expect from this Youtube series?
Shristi: I always believed in the saying -Do not let the reward be the purpose of your actions. I feel that in some parts I have done better than I expected whereas in some I could have improved. However, in the given time and situation, we all have done our best. I don’t know how the audience will take it, but I hope it’ll be positive.
What were some of the most memorable moments on the set?
Priyanka: This is my production, and this is the first set that I can call my own so it’s been a very overwhelming journey. Although our crew was small in number, we became family at the end of the day. While doing the last scene, I remember Shristi and I both became extremely emotional. We were both feeling the same.
One minute with Priyanka
Your take on…
One-night stands: Each to their own, do whatever makes you happy. Everyone has their own standards and rules of how they want to live their life.
Same sex marriage: Marriage is just marriage, it’s about time we stop terming it same sex marriage.You simply marry who you love.
Kinky Sex: Sounds exciting (laughs). What goes on inside your bedroom and what you do with your partner is your own choice and not the whole world’s business.
Drugs: It’s a big NO from my side. It does nothing but harm you.
We are hearing a lot about women-centric roes and we are seeing some incredible performances by modern Nepali actors. But what is it really like to be a woman in the Nepali film industry?
Priyanka: More than anything it depends on how you present yourself. If you have a strong image and a loyal fan following, you have nothing to worry about. You set your market price according to your professional achievements, not according to your gender.
Shristi: In any time, if we are doing our best we can shine, so there is no modern day or olden day actors. I think there is no difference in being a man or a woman in the Nepali film industry. It all depends on the individual ability to grab the opportunity, work hard and stand out.
Both of you have a history of being allies of the LGBT community; do you feel this TV series will bring change.
Priyanka: I think cinema and art is one way where we can initiate change. I think everyone is human first before you divide them by race, caste or sexual orientation. I think we all deserve equal opportunities in life.This series will help to accelerate acceptance.
Shristi: It really reaches a lot of people, and the title itself speaks for itself ‘Just Another Love Story’. Hopefully people will understand that you just love who you love.