Still nurturing blurred dreams of launching a startup someday? Get a reality check first with Pitchers as the hit TVF show returns after seven long years. The show is back with the team of three, not four as Jitendra Kumar takes an exit, leaving the rest of the budding entrepreneurs in a dilemma of managing a new company without him. But a lot has changed in the world of business shows on OTT (also a startup) ever since Pitchers made a powerful impression with the first season. Seven years and many hit shows like Scam 1992 and its film version The Big Bull later, Pitchers show season 2 arrives right in time, days before the popular Shark Tank India returns to TV with a new season. There is no competition as such and the best it does is make an impressive effort in invoking empathy for the entrepreneurs who would be pitching their business ideas on the show. And when it comes to getting it right, Pitchers season 2 doesn’t shy away from serving bitter reality without a sweetner. They even pull in Sugar founder Vineeta Singh and ex-shark Ashneer Grover for cameos.
The new season takes us right inside the hectic messed up lives of the three entrepreneurs Navin Bansal, Yogi, Saurabh Mandal and their never-ending struggles after they launch their own company, Pragati. From the word go, it’s made very clear that the real struggle wasn’t to launch a startup but to keep attracting investments in order to keep it alive. The startup mantra of being a beer which should only know how to flow irrespective of the vessel, is turned on its head with ‘be a whisky’ in order to last long. Unlike other business series elsewhere, there is absolutely no attention given to the personal lives of the three entrepreneurs as it is evident there is none left in the race for survival. They hunt for investors day and night with just a few-months fuel in the bank account on one side and make big promises to their employees on the other. Not just Yogi’s receding hairline, everything is put at risk from friendship to their very existence in this effort to simply survive if not thrive in the ruthless world of business. But what if even a mentor’s advice, a calculated risk and a tonne of hard work also fail to guarantee success.
What I like the best about Pitchers is that it keeps clear of cliches no matter the pressure from episode one, or say day one. It remains realistic and relatable at the cost of a longer runtime and ranking lower on the entertainment quotient. Still, what it offers is precious – a masterclass in how not to run a startup. The hour-long episodes somehow even transmit the pressure and stress of the pitchers to the other side of screen but that’s what quality content is about. Naveen Kasturia, Arunabh Kumar and Abhay Mahajan can also take the credit here as they once again deliver believable performances and do their best to not let the boat sink. The ZEE5 series doesn’t fall in binge watch category but the creator justifies it completely as the setbacks hit hard at every juncture.
The long and tiring journey of a new entrepreneur not just invites sympathy but can also work as an alarm clock for those attracted to the rosy side of owning a business. The show brings the worst of the startup world and how tough it can get to just survive. If you too are ever thinking of acting upon your startup idea, this one is definitely not to be missed.
Pitchers season 2
Directors: Vaibhav Bundhoo, Arunabh Kumar
Cast: Naveen Kasturia, Arunabh Kumar, Abhay Mahajan, Abhishek Banerjee, Riddhi Dogra
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