“9.30am: brushing teeth.” Hardly a line to inspire a serial, but the P-Man Show isn’t quite like other serials.
With its steadfast irreverence and guerrilla-style camerawork, host Rohit Pereira (the P-Man) and director Samira Kanwar are the accidental chroniclers of India’s independent music scene. Their show (currently online only), with around 17 episodes of 4-6 minutes each, is now back for a second season.
The P-Man Show is an independent online video series hosted by indie veteran Pereira. Pereira was the bassist for influential metal band Pin Drop Violence, and is now the frontman of Mumbai-based group Khiladi. The show, directed and produced by Babble Fish Productions, a company that specializes in what it calls “niche music content”, was inspired by a popular online message board thread that Pereira started, which included profundities such as the first line of this piece.
P-Man Show host Rohan Pereira
“This was in 2003-04. It was the beginning of reality TV—and I went, ‘What is this rot that passes for television these days?’” Pereira told us over the phone. Figuring that “anyone could do this stuff”, he started a new topic on Gigpad.com’s message board, then the predominant online watering hole for indie musicians. “I called it the P-Man Show, and started posting things like 9.30am: brushing teeth. 10.45am: running after the bus.” This soon expanded to reviewing gigs, poking fun at people, strange top 10 lists and many references to the film Jaani Dushman. “That thread ran for three years and hundreds of pages till about 2006.”
Two years later, Babble Fish’s Kanwar saw in the thread, and in Pereira, an opportunity to create something interesting. “He had a strong personality and he is a cult figure in this scene, and we wanted to pull it into video,” she says. With no planned structure and money raised on their own, a first season of about 17 episodes was produced starting September 2008.
A usual episode would involve a mix of rambling stand-up comedy, interviews, sketches and footage from gigs that Pereira attended. Occasionally, they’d throw in a spoof video or two. “The first season was all about experimenting, finding out what people wanted,” Kanwar says. “Now, we want to increase the production values, up the quality, make the script tighter and make the show more interactive.” Most of the formula remains intact for the second season, though Pereira has some ambitious plans in mind.
“Season 2 will boldly go where the P-Man has never gone before,” he says. “Apart from Indian rock music, I want to touch other things that are of great interest to me.” Pereira’s “immediate goal” is to sneak the crew into a “saas-bahu serial” shooting set. “I want to see what I can bring to it,” he says. “But my ultimate aim is to film at the India Fashion Week. If we managed that, we can stop Season 2 right there.”