Move over reality shows. Fiction television has to be the next frontier for Bollywood stars. Anil Kapoor will soon make his debut in the Hindi adaptation of the larger-than-life American series, 24. He will play the protagonist, Jack Bauer, that Kiefer Sutherland previously portrayed.
For all you know, Jack Bauer will now be called Jignesh Bhat. And Jignesh will land a few feet from a nuclear explosion and walk away with only a frown on his face. Who could have imagined Mr India as Mr Bauer? But take Shivaji Rao (Anil’s role in Nayak; 2001) or Shakti Thakur (his part in Virasat; 1997) into consideration, and the casting doesn’t seem that odd.
Since Bollywood doesn’t take long to follow trends, we’ve put together a list for other actors. Based on past performances, here’s what we feel would be the correct genres and characters (from US shows that have the potential to be remade in India) for them to make their debuts with.
Genre: Suspense, thriller
He is Bollywood’s most versatile actor — he can pull off Rang De Basanti (2006), Ghajini (2008) and 3 Idiots (2008). Currently, his poignant stare and wrinkled brow are being used to bring about world peace. And at the risk of getting lambasted by fans of JJ Abram’s Lost, we feel Aamir might pull off the role of Jack Shephard in an Indian adaptation — if that ever happens in some other universe that is (see what we did there?). Casting him in a series with many characters might help too, since he brings out the best in his co-stars. Look at Talaash (2012) for proof. Aamir’s co-star, his moustache, didn’t win an award, but was right up there with Shah Rukh Khan’s beard from Jab Tak Hai Jaan (2012).
Duration: Weekly; his recent stint as the anchor-producer of Satyamev Jayate proves that there’s only that much emotional overdose we can wake up to.
Who is Jack Shephard?
The protagonist of Lost is a surgeon and a self-assigned leader. He is one of the survivors of a plane that crashed on a mysterious island.
The day Salman discovered he just had to ‘be himself’ in his films, his golden period began with hits like Wanted (2008) and Dabangg (2010). The box office currently lives in his vanity van and makes him tea every morning. There’s one Hollywood star who functions similarly — Charlie Sheen. Salman in Charlie Harper’s shorts in Two And A Half Men isn’t a far stretch. We never doubted the existence of Salman’s funny bone; the 1994 epic film Andaz Apna Apna proved it.
Duration: Daily. How can you get bored of an actor who doesn’t even let his films’ directors know what exactly he’s going to do that day?
Who is Charlie Harper?
Bachelor, playboy, and sarcastic lead character of Two And A Half Men. He does what he wants, lives with his brother and nephew, and gets all the girls. Sound familiar?
Shah Rukh Khan
Genre: Romantic drama
One tends to imagine SRK in romantic roles. Not because Swades (2004) and Chak De India (2007) turned audiences off, but because he doesn’t want us to see him as anything else. Back in the ’90s, he played the same guy — think Rahul and Raj in films with the word ‘dil’ in the title. Soap opera writers sleep peacefully at night because they know their platinum edition DVDs of The Bold And The Beautiful lie safely by their side. It would be every drama-loving, tear-jerking, slow-song-listening romantic writer’s dream to cast SRK as Ridge Forrester if the show had an Indian adaptation. The only problem will arise when SRK throws his arms open; we aren’t sure small screen directors are used to shooting wide-angle.
Duration: Daily. There’s no such thing as a dearth of audience for melodrama.
Who is Ridge Forrester?
One of the lead characters of the dynasty show, The Bold And The Beautiful. Ridge is a rebellious, rich kid, who grows up to be romantically conflicted.
As much as you’d like to think of all the films he’s done, the first thing that comes to mind at the mention of Hrithik Roshan is the six-pack abs. His chiseled physique also deserves to be nominated for best supporting role along with Aamir’s moustache and SRK’s beard. So if Baywatch is ever remade in India, Hrithik Roshan would make for a more-than-apt version of Mitch Buchannon. He has the body and the moves, and considering it would be an Indian adaptation, there would be some dance sequences thrown in.
Duration: Weekly; watching too much Hrithik on television can be harmful to the eyes.
Who is Mitch Buchannon?
Leader, father-figure, do-gooder, top lifeguard in Baywatch, that revolves around lifeguards and young women in red swimming costumes. And Pamela Anderson.
Shahid’s debut film Ishq Vishk (2003) looked like it was inspired by an episode of a rom-com TV show. Then he grew up to become Aditya Kashyap (in Jab We Met; 2007) and then found his lady love in Kareena Kapoor...err… Geet (the role Kareena played). Then he made career choices that the film trade circuit feels might not all have been wise. But that’s the way the cookie crumbles in most romantic-dramas. Imagine Shahid in the shoes of Nathan Scott from One Tree Hill. If this isn’t a perfect fit, we don’t know what is.
Duration: Daily. Nothing like some cheesiness to make high-octane prime-time drama.
Who is Nathan Scott?
The young, brooding, egotistical character who found love and lost all his shades of grey in a show called One Tree Hill about two rival brothers with the same father, but different mothers.
There’s little one remembers Akshay Kumar for when it comes to professional achievements. But we know that he loves his family. Even though he has been striking gold at the box office with random hits, more people know that he flew back from a film schedule to be with his wife, Twinkle, when she was delivering their second kid. And that he has the name of his son, Aarav, tattooed on his back. He’d have to play the part of a family man. Phil Dunphy, the self-professed super-cool father in Modern Family is what we’re thinking.
Duration: Weekly; there’s only so much natural acting that an actor, who is used to being asked to go overboard so often, can do.
Who is Phil Dunphy?
Husband, self-professed real estate agent and a self-proclaimed cool father of three. The daily tales of his family, along with two other dysfunctional units, makes up the show Modern Family.
He kept his female fans happy with Bachna Ae Haseeno (2008) and Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani (2009). Then he gave critics enough to go gaga over with his roles in Raajneeti (2010) and Barfi! (2012). What makes you think he won’t be able to do a legen-wait for it-dary job of playing Barney Stinson from How I Met Your Mother? Throw in some slapstick and an ensemble cast that complements his comic timing, and we just might have a winner. Obviously, we’ll have to wait till 2023 for his date diary to clear up. Duration: Daily; no such thing as too much comedy starring a young actor who, for a change, can act.
Who is Barney Stinson?
The slick, hilarious playboy, whose life revolves around finding interesting techniques to get laid. He is also the only man who enjoys his single status, on a show about six friends called How I Met Your Mother.
Genre: Comedy, drama
Even in her first acting stint in 1995, in a fiction TV show called Hum Paanch, Vidya Balan knew the only way to get noticed in this glam-spam industry was to swim against the tide. Even today, she doesn’t mind working hard to look unattractive for a role. We wouldn’t be going overboard then, to consider her the best choice for the lead role in an Ugly Betty Indian adaptation. And since the method actor likes taking on challenges (she apparently had to smoke and eat to prepare for her role in The Dirty Picture — serious first world issues), we’re sure getting braces will only be a miniature hurdle.
Duration: Daily; who doesn’t like seeing the underdog have his/her day?
Who is Ugly Betty?
A young, confident girl with a bad sense of fashion. She gets flung into the life of a high-street fashion magazine employee. She’s also the character who inspired Mona Singh’s show, Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahi.
After Aamir Khan, she is probably one of the film industry’s most experimental actors. She played a negative role in Aitraaz (2003) early in her career. Since then she has proved her mettle with films like 7 Khoon Maaf (2011) and the recent Barfi!. Even though she is yet to do a full-blown comedy, her singing debut did amuse us enough. She’d make a good Rachel Green if some very courageous souls decided to remake Friends in India.
Duration: Daily; young men and women will happily become couch potatoes to watch Priyanka Chopra put on Rachel’s shoes.
Who is Rachel?
A confused, slightly promiscuous and emotional character who has a soft corner for younger men, and has been in a ridiculously long on-and-off relationship with a paleontologist called Ross, in one of the most popular shows of all time, Friends.
Genre: Medical drama
If Amitabh Bachchan didn’t already own the title of the ‘angry young man’, Ajay Devgn could easily be a contender. Purely because the man doesn’t look like he’s capable of having a conversation about anything you can laugh at. This is why he’d make for an apt Dr Gregory House if the medical American drama, House MD, were adapted in India. He’d just need to limp around a hospital, frown, occasionally blurt gibberish and save people’s lives without having to throw bullock carts at villains and pick fights with tigers.
Duration: Weekly; because no matter how much you like taking shots of oxygen, hospitals are depressing places.
Who is Dr Gregory House?
Super genius, sarcastic doctor with a heart of gold, a limp and addiction issues, who heads the diagnostic medicine department in a hospital where people with really, really, really weird diseases land up.