With the emergence of OTT platforms, there has been a conspicuous paradigm shift in the way certain issues are addressed. Shows like Mismatched, and Four More Shots Please! have tried to stay relevant by discussing pertinent issues. Joining this bandwagon is Girls Hostel, which is returning with season three. The show, about a group of girls from different backgrounds who form an unlikely friendship living in a girls’ hostel, rode on its relatability factor for two seasons.
Ahsaas Channa who plays Richa says that the writers ensured none of the issues are diluted. “For instance, in season 1, the issues were very ordinary, but the second season dealt with politics in colleges. In the third, we discuss mental health, diversity, and acceptance, and the writers have made sure we are not being preachy about it. We have just tried to normalize it.”
Ahsaas and Parul Gulati (who plays Zahira) also believe the show has found its voice this season. “From season one to three, the show with the characters has grown. Richa was a bit naïve, but she has now grown into this confident girl, ready to take on life. Richa’s priorities have changed, and she is more mature and independent,” says Ahsaas.
Zahira’s character, however, is woven differently. Parul says we see Zahira, who had everything for herself, going through a mental breakdown. And, after the breakdown, it’s about how she picks up the pieces and starts to see life differently. “I didn’t accept the way I was for a long time. I needed validation from outside, and I saw this with Zahira as well. I believe acceptance begins with accepting yourself, and I relate with Zahira on this.”
Social media, doing projects in other languages, and more
If Ahsaas uses social media to talk about problems like anxiety and digital detox, Parul created a brand of hair extensions that she markets on platforms. “I have a great platform and a good number of followers. Apart from using it for promotions, I also use it to talk about problems, like anxiety,” Ahsaas says.
“Nish Hair started as something to wear for me when I found hair extensions expensive. My mother and I started to stitch pieces, and when I saw potential in it, I turned it into a brand for women like me who have less hair and less money,” adds Parul.
For Ahsaas, who has been in films since a child, there is no other career option that excited her enough. “I love acting, and I have barely scratched the surface. I want to do films; I want to become a heroine. I’m trying to make conscious decisions to try different genres. OTT has worked out great for me, but I want to experiment more and take on diverse roles. It’s a long way to go, but I’m just 23, and I have my whole life ahead of me.”
Having worked in Punjabi cinema for a bit, Parul says she is open to experimenting with different languages. “I don’t think language is a barrier. As long as the content and the character are impactful, language should not matter.”
Ahsaas and Parul both have two different shows in the pipeline. Pumped up for the new season, they say it will be fun and hope to have everyone watch it.
‘Girls Hostel 3.0’ is streaming on SonyLIV