THE FRESH PRINCE OF BEL AIR
Original Concept: A sitcom about a street-smart teenager from West Philadelphia who is sent to move in with his aunt and uncle in their wealthy Bel Air mansion, where his ‘ghetto’ lifestyle often clashes with that of his straight-laced relatives.
Desi Makeover: A sitcom about a street-smart teenager from Bradford, UK who is sent to move in with his aunt and uncle in their wealthy mansion in Pali Hill, Mumbai, where his ‘rudeboy’ lifestyle often clashes with that of his straight-laced relatives.
Why Remake: The inevitable culture clash of a low-class Brit-Indian finding himself living in a high-class Indian society would be a goldmine for comedy. It would also do well in representing the massive differences in lifestyle between rich Indians and their NRI siblings who ironically chose to leave the country for greener pastures.
Potential Talent: Humza Yusuf (Diary of a Bad Man YouTube sensation) could effortlessly bring his rudeboy persona to the show. ‘The Bad Man Of Pali Hill’, anyone? Paresh Rawal would make a fantastic Uncle Phil with Farida Jalal as Aunt Vivienne.
GAME OF THRONES
Original Concept: A fantasy drama following the members of several noble houses in a civil war, loosely based on the War of the Roses that ran between 1455-1485 between the houses of Lancaster and York in England.
Desi Makeover: A fantasy drama following the members of several noble cultures in a civil war, loosely based on the age of colonialism in India, when the French, English, Mughals, Marathas and Sikhs (amongst others) all wanted a piece of the country.
Why Remake: Exploring a vast and exciting time in the colonial age, when India was the country to own, this would be a magnum opus exploring the different cultures and customs of the various warring kingdoms. Like its inspiration, the series could explore issues of social hierarchy, religion, loyalty, corruption, sexuality, civil war, crime and punishment.
Potential Talent: Aamir Khan to produce. Somehow convince George RR Martin to do his research and write it. They could be the only team to do justice to something this epic.
Original Concept: A political drama series chronicling behind-the-scenes events at a fictional American news channel, highlighting recent non-fictional world news stories. The anchor along with his staff put on a news show in the face of corporate and commercial obstacles and their own personal entanglements.
Desi Makeover: A political drama series chronicling behind-the-scenes events at a fictional Indian news channel, highlighting recent non-fictional South Asian news stories. The anchor along with his staff put on a news show in the face of corporate and commercial obstacles and their own personal entanglements.
Why Remake: The success of Satyamav Jayate shows there’s a definite interest in South Asian current affairs, and the Indian public are no longer fooled by dumbed down news. It would be interesting to see how an Indian news channel stands up for its own integrity, even if it was make-believe.
Potential Talent: For a project like this, you’d need somebody to write it with a passion for India’s social issues and who can present it in the form of entertainment. Nobody does this better than Prakash Jha (Raajneeti, Satyagraha). Irrfan Khan would be perfect to play the cynical news anchor with a heart of gold.
Original Concept: Early 20th Century Yorkshire, England. We follow the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants in the post-Edwardian era, as great events in British history have an effect on their lives and on the British social hierarchy.
Desi Makeover: 1857 – 1947 Delhi, India. We follow the lives of the British Burgh-Campbell family and their Indian servants in the era of the British Raj, as great events in Indian history have an effect on their lives and on the Indian social hierarchy.
Why Remake: A well-rounded look at the complex relationship between the Brits and their Indian servants from the 1857 mutiny to the time of India’s independence would be hugely fascinating, exploring the question whether the system of master-servant works – not only on a personal level, but on the whole as a country.
Potential Talent: Proven experience in working with British period settings in his films courting Queen Elizabeth, Shekhar Kapur would be the perfect fit behind the camera. Castwise, it’s the perfect opportunity for a Lagaan reunion. HBO to produce!
Original Concept: A comedy drama series chronicling the acting career of a young A-list movie star, and his childhood friends, as they navigate the unfamiliar terrain of Los Angeles. Loosely based on the true-life experiences of actor Mark Wahlberg, the series shines a light on the inner workings of Hollywood.
Desi Makeover: A comedy drama series chronicling the acting career of a young A-list movie star, and his childhood friends, as they navigate the unfamiliar terrain of Mumbai`. Loosely based on the true-life experiences of actor Salman Khan, the series shines a light on the inner workings of Bollywood.
Why Remake: Male friendship stories are a huge sell (3 Idiots, Kai Po Che, Zindagi Na Milega Dobara), and the public love Bollywood gossip. How about delivering it all as entertainment, along with familiar stories and a plethora of Bollywood star cameos? The life of Shah Rukh Khan may also make a good inspiration, but no Bollywood star’s life has half the amount of story potential as that of Sallu Bhai.
Potential Talent: This would be a great vehicle for the Akhtar siblings to helm as a joint production. Hailing from a filmi family, Farhan Akhtar has proven he can do macho comedy with Dil Chahta Hain, whilst Zoya has proven likewise with Zindagi Na Milega Dobara, along with her ability to dramatically tackle Bollywood in Luck By Chance. The young ‘entourage’ would be best played by newcomers, whilst Anil Kapoor would make a perfect substitute for the original’s cheeky, foul-mouthed agent Ari Gould. If he’s not had enough of TV by the end of 24.
24: India is slated to air on Colors TV from October 2013.