Indian Jack Bauer to hit screens in ‘24’

Indian Jack Bauer to hit screens in ‘24’

MUMBAI - Agence France-Presse
Indian Jack Bauer to hit screens in ‘24’

Indian Bollywood actor Anil Kapoor points a gun during shooting for the new television show ‘24’ on location on a film set in Mumbai. AFP photo

American action hero Jack Bauer is set for an Indian makeover later this week as the hit series “24” undergoes its first foreign adaptation featuring one of Bollywood’s biggest stars.

Stepping into the shoes of Los Angeles-based anti-terrorism fighter Bauer, played by Kiefer Sutherland in the original, is “Slumdog Millionaire” star Anil Kapoor as Indian agent Jai Singh Rathod. Ahead of the television premiere on Oct. 4, Kapoor said the writers of the show had retained the backbone of the original, in which each season covered 24 hours in the life of Bauer, but with a definite Indian twist.
“The flesh and blood is Indian. In India we are definitely much more melodramatic and conservative,” Kapoor, who also produces the series, told AFP while ruling out any of the lavish song-and-dance routines for which Bollywood is famous.

Kapoor wanted to bring the 12-year-old series to India after taking up a role in the US season eight, in which he played the president of the fictional Islamic Republic of Kamistan.

He leveraged his contacts and understanding of the US show to obtain the rights for the Hindi remake, put together with just five percent of the US budget, yet making it one of the most expensive shows on Indian television.

Finding a channel partner

Bigger than the challenge of getting the rights to the film was the task of finding a willing Indian TV channel partner, he said in an interview from the set in Mumbai. “They were excited but no one was ready to give money for fiction. They want to invest in reality shows and stars but not content. So we have done the best we can to get the same scale and aesthetics,” he said.

Eventually, entertainment channel Colors stepped up and now one season is set to appear at a prime Friday night viewing time across the country on cable networks.