Half Love, Half Arranged—which premiered October 12 on Amazon’s free streaming service miniTV—is a fresh take on love and arranged dating. The 6-episode series follows the journey of a millennial gynecologist Riya Tanwar (Maanvi Gagroo) who leads a meticulously planned life. Tanwar’s long-term boyfriend plans to propose, but an unexpected twist interrupts her entire life. Soon she finds herself exploring an arranged marriage by talking to amusing dates and matches, with the backing of a supportive yet quirky family in tow. Karan Wahi plays Jogi Hooda, whose mother is a patient at the hospital Tanwar works at.
We sat with the cast—Karan Wahi and Maanvi Gagroo—who talked us through their experience of working with miniTV and shooting for Half Love, Half Arranged.
For starters, tell us a little bit about the show and what was your experience shooting it?
Gagroo: I had a ball of a time! The show is written with such a fresh perspective that it needed a young, fresh team. I think I can speak on behalf of the entire team that we had a lot of fun shooting this and on screen.
Wahi: The show is very relevant in today's time. Many of us who have gone through our 30s, have heard family, friends and people around telling us to get married. That is the premise of this show, a 30-year-old unmarried doctor who navigates her dating life while dealing with the usual family drama. This can be a frustrating scenario to be in, but it has been portrayed in a very light and humorous way without being too dramatic. It was really a lot of fun because we did a little pre-plot where we got to know each other, talk to each other and the directors. All the actors sat down together and read the episodes. This made a lot of difference, because when you spend time with your cast and crew before shooting begins, you build a certain camaraderie with them over time.
What was the most difficult scene for you to shoot and why?
Gagroo: The sequence where Riya comes home and reconciles with her mom was the most difficult scene for me. It was an emotionally heavy scene. Due to some technical issues we had to re-shoot it all over again the next day, which made it more difficult.
Wahi: There was nothing difficult because I felt at home on set. I am also from Delhi, so I understand the arranged marriage set up and have friends and cousins who have gone through this, so I had a personal connect with the character. It was fun playing Jogi because he is very different from me. He is a little shy, coy and he cracks some unfunny jokes and yet he is very calm. The only time you see him getting hyper is when he is talking to someone on the phone, which is the cliffhanger of the show. However, it was challenging to play Jogi as he is very different from me. He has a very friendly relationship with his mother and he doesn't have a father. That friendly relation between a mother and a son, which I feel becomes very true, as you grow up. So, we wanted to take out that in a very fun way without it looking demeaning or disrespectful.
What makes this show unique to you as an actor?
Gagroo: Firstly, I think the treatment and the language of the show is extremely fresh. It’s rom-com meets sitcom, a hybrid of sorts. Secondly, the cast and crew of the show were great: the team at Dice, Simarpreet, Nachiket, Karan and pretty much everyone else. And lastly, I’m a sucker for such sweet, breezy, not taking itself too seriously kind of shows.
Wahi: The fact that it is very relatable makes the show quite unique. It is a cute and sweet rom-com. I feel rom-coms are light-hearted shows that families can watch together without putting much thought. The show’s base has not been used as much as it should have been, and I feel that is the uniqueness of the show.
What is one standout memory for you from the show?
Gagroo: Just the amount of joy it brought me every day. I would look forward to going to work every day. So, there’s not one standout memory but it just brings a smile to my face every time I think of the shoot.
Wahi: I have a very funny memory, it was my 5th or 6th day at shoot, and I was working on some close-ups with my director Simar. He said “okay, it’s done” after just one take. Usually Simar is very happy once he has the perfect shot but when he doesn't like something, his “okays” are very different. I got really scared, so I went to him and said: “Yaar aapne mera ek hi take liya aur okay bol diya, aapka okay, ‘okay’ nahii lagraha.” (You have taken only one shot and okayed it. I don’t feel that your ‘okay’ was a real one.) He was very sweet about it and said it was done but then he went for another take and we all were okay with it. So, that's my standout memory from the show. Another memory is the food we had on set. The camaraderie and vibes were a lot of fun, even in the tensest times.
According to you, what is the definition of love in today's day and age? Knowing that one has so many options today, can love be found through an app?
Gagroo: I think love can be found anywhere! It’s love after all. You don’t know when it springs up on you. So, I feel love, romantic or otherwise, binds us as beings. Love doesn’t go by one fixed definition alone. It comes in all forms.
Wahi: Ideologies of different age brackets are different and I think my ideology would eventually be different to what the teenagers today might be experiencing. During my growing years, love was a prime aspect of being with somebody. The difference between falling in love today and in the past is technology. Today you can find people, meet them and get to know each other through an app. Back then, it wasn’t easy because we didn't have mobile phones. The new generation’s way of finding love has changed and someone who has not gone through that era, will obviously have a different perspective But I think love can be found on apps, depending on your perspective. I know people who met on dating apps and are happily married. So, yes, you can probably find love there.
Shifting gears here, Amazon’s Great Indian Festival is now live. What's the one item on your Wish List?
Gagroo: I always have at least one face moisturiser, usually Embryolisse, in my cart. So maybe that, if there are some good deals on it. I’m looking for tennis shoes, some fun deals on those would be nice.
Wahi: I want an iPhone 15, but I don't know if I will get it. But yes, the Great Indian Festival sale is great and I have to make a list, which I will straight away get to.
What is the last thing you bought on Amazon?
Gagroo: I don’t know if this is the Dr. Riya effect but the last thing I bought on Amazon was this stain-roll stain removal stick!
Wahi: Some solar lights that I put in my plants, some jugnu lights.
What’s on your Amazon miniTV watchlist?
Gagroo: I love miniTV videos, it’s snackable, light and engaging but for now there’s only Half Love, half Arranged on my mind.
Wahi: For now, it is Half Love, Half Arranged and Campus Beats. But there is so much on Amazon miniTV, that everyday something pops up, so I feel every weekend is for Amazon miniTV.
Half Love, Half Arranged is now streaming on Amazon miniTV, a free, ad-supported streaming service with a cherry-picked collection of fresh, engaging stories and titles. You can find miniTV on the Amazon shopping app and on Fire TV. You can also download the miniTV app on the Play Store to watch Half Love, Half Arranged, besides many more titles.