Anil Thakraney: Star India’s massive gamble

16 Jan,2012

By Anil Thakraney


Actor Anil Kapoor, who played a smallish role (after hectic lobbying) in the cult American TV serial 24, now wants to re-make it in India. Have we totally run out of desi programming ideas? Well, that’s a topic for another day. What interests me urgently are media reports which suggest that Star Plus has bought the rights to the Indian version for a mind-numbing sum of Rs 85 crore. No TV show in the history of Indian television has commanded that sort of a price tag.


One sincerely hopes Star is rejoicing over this sensational investment. Because quite honestly, I have serious doubts if the Indian cast and crew can pull this one off. I watched two seasons of 24, and I can tell you the show is simply unstoppable. I had to postpone work assignments and a lot of sleep in order to finish all the episodes, it was that riveting. Now, here are the reasons why I believe 24 rockedAmerica: the pace is extremely brisk, the script is powerful with many sudden twists and turns, the acting is superlative and the special effects, fantastic. However, what shines the most are the kickass dialogues, they keep you hooked.


I am not sure if we can deliver all of that in India. And my scepticism is rooted in three huge areas of concern. One, Indian showbiz just does not have writers who can pen such superlative scripts and dialogues. The very average quality of writing in our movies and soaps is a clear indication of that. Two, our directors seldom deliver on both, form and content together. On 99 per cent of those projects, when it comes to producing with style and chutzpah, the content gets compromised. If a talented Farhan Akhtar can commit that folly (Don 2), you can easily imagine what a risk this is with others in the frat. And three, 24 is a gritty show that pulls no punches when it comes to featuring political debates and communal tensions. That’s one of the reasons the American audiences connected with it. In a hyper-sensitive and a vote bank politics-led India, where people are ready to protest at the drop of a hat; that will be a tough act to follow. And too much caution will kill this particular show.


Well, all I can say is that Anil Kapoor and many others are about to hit the jackpot. Good for them. And I hope the Star network isn’t the only one left short-changed. Good luck to the channel!




PS: BBC’s Top Gear presenter, Jeremy Clarkson, has pissed India off. The mischief-monger made fun of our ‘lack of hygiene’ in his India series. Now, instead of ignoring the man’s rubbish, even laughing it off, the Indian High Commission inLondonhas formally complained about the programme. And they have demanded an apology. Come on guys, the man is a comedian. Surely a billion plus Indians can’t be so under-confident as to take a joker seriously. When will this nation learn to be cool?


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2 responses to “Anil Thakraney: Star India’s massive gamble”

  1. pm says:

    Gamble worth taking ! everyone said the same thing when KBC was brought on and people ridiculed the prize money, the fee that was paid to AB , the cost of the set etc etc . Having said that 24 is a different ball game . Investing the dosh is one part of it but controlling the quality of the output is another and that is a case od ‘time will tell’ and the proof of the pudding is in the eating. meanwhile the production company, the talent, the staff at the channel etc should enjoy the cash going into the show and hope that it pays off. Good on you Star. That’s what makes Rupert – Rupert and as Conrad Black once said : “I bet my company once – he ( Rupert ) bets his company everyday”

  2. pm says:

    jeremy clarkson is just an over grown child and shoots his mouth off all over the place. of course he should be asked to apologise or else he will carry on like this and take liberties with people’s sentiments wherever and whenever he feels like. good one IHC London.

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