When Anil Kapoor adapted the international TV show, 24, for the Indian television, it brought back the focus on western-inspired shows. Hence, it’s no surprise that while English content has served as inspiration for Indian shows in the past (see box), the frequency has increased post the success of this show. However, most makers now try to do official remakes rather than just being ‘inspired’ by another show.
After the popularity of the first season, Anil will soon bring the second instalment of 24 on TV. Reportedly, he is also planning to make an Indian adaptation of the hit sitcom, Modern Family.
Apart from that, the remake of the popular American sitcom, Everybody Loves Raymond, will soon air on Indian television. While Rajat Kapoor is set to direct the show, Vindoo Dara Singh will be playing the role of the older brother, Robert Charles Barone. The rest of the cast will be finalised soon.
On the other hand, Rithvik Dhanjani will host the adaptation of the UK quiz show, Distraction With Jimmy Carr. With the official remakes, the unofficial ones are also set to occupy air time as Life Beat, a medical drama on the lines of Grey’s Anatomy will soon be telecast. Similarly, not too long ago, successful drama show, Revenge, inspired Ek Haseena Thi (EHT), which recently ended.
TV actor Rithvik
Official or not, the makers say that it’s essential that the show caters to the sensibilities of the Indian audience. Abhinay Deo, who directed 24, and co-writer Rensil D’Silva, didn’t just translate, but they rewrote the show. With the political and social scenario in the US and India differing, they had to change the story to make it relevant. "It is a huge task to Indianise a show like 24. On every level — emotional, socio-economic status, youth, politics —we made changes to the story," Deo had said earlier.
Explaining the trend, Abigail Jain, who stars in Life Beat, says, "People are tired of watching the same tried-and-tested shows. It’s interesting to adapt good concepts as people want to watch new stories. Grey’s Anatomy is a cult show, but we haven’t totally copied it; my character is based on Meredith, yet it is not entirely the same."
But is there anything that needs to be kept in mind while selecting a show that can be adapted for Indian viewers? Sanjeeda Sheikh, who was part of EHT, feels that Indians prefer having family and emotional angles in their stories. "Even though the basic concept of EHT was inspired by Revenge, adaptations work only if there is a mass-y touch to the story. The same premise might not work, so one has to tweak the plot," she says.