London, Feb 20 (PTI) Some of the British Broadcasting Corporation’s (BBC) most popular shows are to be relocated to an Indian setting as part of a deal struck with Aditya Birla Groups Applause Entertainment.
The Office, a so-called “mockumentary” sitcom made famous by British comic Ricky Gervais as hapless boss David Brent of fictitious paper company Wernham Hogg, will be transformed to a fictional office on the outskirts of New Delhi.
The Slough, Berkshire, setting will become an industrial park in Faridabad with Jagdeep Chaddha as the boss of Wilkins Chawla paper company.
“I’m always excited and flattered to see remakes of my work but when a country with a population of over a billion has a version I’m hoping for big ratings,” said Gervais, one of the writers and directors of the show alongside Stephen Merchant.
Chaddha will be based on Gervais Brent, who sees himself as a smart, fun and go-getting leader loved by his adoring team. But nothing could be further from the truth and his attempts to cheer and impress his staff invariably end in comic disaster.
The original BBC version of The Office won numerous awards and spawned eight international versions in Europe since it first aired in the UK in 2001. The format has since travelled the world, with nine other local versions in countries including Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Israel, Sweden, Finland and the US.
“We have picked global successes such as The Office as we believe our audiences will love this series. After all, who hasn’t come across workmates like David Brent at some point in their lives,” said Sameer Nair, CEO of Applause Entertainment.
The agreement between BBC Worldwide and Applause Entertainment will mark the first time The Office has been commissioned in Asia, with India being the first country in the region to launch a local version of the show.
The adaptation will focus on series one and two of the US version, which will be adapted into one series of 28 episodes.
Another popular BBC show to be re-made in India by Applause will be Criminal Justice, a drama series first aired on BBC in 2008. The Indian remake, which is yet to be titled, will be set in present day Mumbai where it will also be filmed and will feature a cast of Bollywood talent, both on and off screen, BBC Worldwide said.
The adaptation will aim to shine a light on modern India, where it will follow both the economic and class differences between a working-class student moonlighting as a taxi driver and the wealthy female passenger he picks up one fateful evening.