The Indian adaptation of American TV series "24" will change the look of TV in the country, given its "radically different" production values which make it look like "cinema on television", says its director Abhinay Deo.
" '24' will change the look of TV for sure. We have shot it like a feature film. It is more like cinema on television," Deo, who has treaded a creatively successful journey of being an ad filmmaker, Bollywood director and now a TV series director, told IANS in an interview.
"24" is an award-winning American TV series. An espionage thriller, its Indian version has Bollywood actor Anil Kapoor playing Jai Singh Rathod, the lead role of his American counterpart, Counter Terrorist Unit agent Jack Bauer. It is essayed by Kiefer Sutherland in the original version.
Anil had played a part in the eighth season of the international version and it is after his first-hand experience that the idea of this Indian adaptation struck the actor-producer.
The show, to be aired on Colors in October, also has a host of other Bollywood names like Shabana Azmi, Anupam Kher, Mandira Bedi and Tisca Chopra associated with it.
Roping in these names was a challenge for the director. "It was very difficult. I think it was the goodwill that both Anil (Kapoor) and I have in the industry which helped us to rope in these big names. We worked around their schedules so that they could do the show. We are lucky that we have managed to put together such a cast," he said.
But what will make the show bigger is the way it has been shot, says Deo, who helmed films like "Game" and "Delhi Belly" for the big screen. "The show '24' doesn't have those close-ups which are shown on TV. We don't zoom in on people's faces. It will be radically different from what we have seen so far.
"We have shot it in a stylised way, but we have not moved away from the drama of the show. Everything (on the show) is very relatable to the Indian audience," said Deo, who is the son of veteran actors Mahesh and Seema Deo.
Backed by a talented creative team, its unique narrative, sets, slick editing and high-definition recording are likely to create a superlative experience for Indian viewers.
Deo has admitted that he had to modify the script and the rough and tough characterisation of Anil Kapoor's role to make it more Indian viewer-friendly. But isn't it a risk to bring out such a major show at a time when a chunk of the idiot box buffs in the country are used to a certain kind of shows? "It is important to push the envelope," said Deo. "If we don't do it, then who else will? We can't wait for other people to do new stuff and for us to follow."
Risks make his job exciting and interesting. "I don't need to make films to make money. Making films is my passion. If I had to make money, then I would have just stuck to advertising. You have to push yourself and take some risks to make something happen. Only then can a radical change take place," he said.
Nevertheless, he hopes people will look at "24" and then start making similar shows. "I don't think it is a good idea for people to say 'let's make something like '24' '. It is important for them to make something different," he said.
Deo also believes the current state of the TV industry in the country provides ample room for various genres of fiction and non-fiction content and so producers and directors must invest time and money only in innovative projects.
"As a country, we have so many people watching TV every day. There is place for an 'Uttaran' as well as '24'. It is time we started giving viewers different stuff. I hope people come up with shows, which are risky and push the envelope and take the next step as far as TV or storytelling is concerned," he said.