Television

Will Anil Kapoors 24 be a game changer?

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MUMBAI: Indian viewers are set to witness high octane action drama unraveling on their TV screens soon. The adaptation of the hit American series 24 unveiled its first look last evening. The Indian adaptation of the American thriller is being co-produced by Anil Kapoor Film Company and Ramesh Deo Productions with Delly Belly director Abhinay Deo helming the series.

“The amount of content we have shot is humongous and is equivalent to seven feature films,” gushed Deo at the launch of the 24 trailer. As creative director and co-producer of the series, he feels that the series will definitely be well received by the audience which has been adapted keeping in mind the Indian sentiments, also giving it a tinge of soap operas. “We could do this as we had the leeway to modify and adapt as per the Indian setting,” Deo added.

A fresh young crew of 200 people in production and post production were brought on board to navigate this real time series. On normal days, just two cameras were used while on days packed with action sequences five cameras were put into use with VFX being provided by Prime Focus. “We have shot a scene with a brush falling in a bathtub and we placed an underwater camera to capture the scene from below as well,” says co-producer Apurba Sengupta emphasising on the efforts they took to make it look realistic. Red Scarlet X cameras are being used, and everything is shot in HD format in about 100 locations in Mumbai. The two standing set-ups are - ATU (Anti Terrorism Unit) office and the Tulip Star hotel.



A great ensemble cast has been roped in to set your pulses racing with high octane action

Looking at the production aspects, the pre production team needed at least  eight to nine months to bring all creative heads to spot perfect locations in the financial capital to shoot. Apart from a thorough recce of locations, the team had to decide on costumes, colour schemes as well as finalise the cast.

For an episode the team shot for almost eight to ten days, that meant that the end product was seven minutes of content produced per day which the team is very proud of as usually on an average only two and a half minutes of content is created.



India is a diverse country so we had a lot of meat in it and yes it includes politics too says Abhinay Deo giving a sneak peak into the story

Up until now, 16 episodes have been shot while the remaining eight will conclude in December. Out of the 24 episodes approximately 16 are shot by Deo and the rest will be done by Rensil D’Silva, who is also co-writing the adaptation, and Nitya Mehra, who was the AD for Life of Pi. “The level of drama needed for Indian audiences is more so we had to mix emotions,” says D’Silva. He also mentioned that scripting was a daunting task as they had to re-work it several times to get it absolutely perfect.

With an edge of the seat thriller being shot with the best of cameras and a great ensemble cast; it would be natural to believe that the production cost is way beyond the average but Sengupta says the difference isn’t that farfetched either. “It’s promotion for them too. So if they give it to me at a particular price then next year someone else will approach them for it,” D’Silva explains on how the production deals pan out. Industry sources however feel that a show of this level cannot be shot at such a low budget and estimated it to be at a cost of a minimum of Rs 50 lakhs per episode.

The Anil Kapoor starrer 24 is set to thrill the audiences with never before seen action

Although only one season is on the cards right now, Colors CEO Raj Nayak is optimistic of seeing all eight seasons being made. Rumors are afloat that the story draws parallels with the Gandhi family but the claims were rubbished by the producers.  “India is a diverse country so we had a lot of meat in it and yes it includes politics too,” says Deo.

The cast includes Anil Kapoor, Tisca Chopra, Mandira Bedi, Neil Bhoopalam and cameos by Anupam Kher and Shabana Azmi. The trailer showed Anil Kapoor caught in the middle of making time for his family and on the hunt of the to-be PM’s assassin.  It isn’t like the usual series that Indian audiences are used to watching with real time storytelling and split screens to show different people. “I have got a lot of people telling me that they want this to succeed because it will be a success for the industry,” says Nayak.

The channel is yet to announce the launch date and the time slot for 24. “I signed the deal on 24 October which also happened to be Dassera last year,” said a beaming Nayak.

It is the first time such a series is being produced in India on such a large scale. “It opens up a world of fiction like never seen before,” says Colors weekend programming head Manisha Sharma.

But the bigger question here is that will such a show work with the Indian audiences who are tamed to watching saas-bahu serials? Media planners are positive about it. “I would be surprised if the show does not do well in India because if the content is treated keeping Indian sentiments in place then it is a sure shot winner,” says Madison COO Karthik Laxminarayanan.

“The show is coming after a certain phase of digitisation so it will be interesting to see the ratings that it will get from digital homes. However, it should do well here as well,” says ZenithOptimedia Group CEO Satyajit Sen.

The industry feels that the show will definitely be a game changer for the channel and the genre as well, but it is up to the audience to give their verdict.

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