From the overseas shores


Looks like that after the tried-and-tested formula of adaptations that ruled the silver screen for decades, it is out there to claim the space in a rather newfound go-to entertainment mode, which is OTT. Aarya, Criminal Justice, Hostages, Mind The Malhotras and Out Of Love are some of the shows adapted from foreign ones and some of them are winning audience like anything.

The origin

Aarya: Spanish/Dutch Penoza

Criminal Justice: British television series with the same name

Hostages: Israeli series of the same name

Mind The Malhotras: Israeli comedy La Famiglia

Out Of Love: English TV series Doctor Foster

But an adaptation is not an easy task, neither for maker, writer nor the actor, claim those involved in the process. Surya Sharma, who has been part of the hit, Hostages, shares, “It’s a long drawn practice; many of the regional Tamil, Kannada films’ rights are bought by big production houses to be made in Hindi. So, it has been happening for web series too but trust me it’s as much work as an original.” Hostages is an adaptation of an Israeli show by the same name. “The thing is, a successful show already gives the premise – but there is work still – to be translated from Hebrew to English to Hindi to adapting to the new milieu. My character was an Israeli in the show but in our show he is a Haryanvi – so lot of work goes in there.” While some would see the original to understand the graph better, not Surya. “There are different ways to approach a character. While I knew right from the audition that it’s an adaptation, I did not watch the original. A fleeting look at the show as a reference but no more. I would rather work on my own character, find an arc and try giving it a life of its own.”

“Generally, people have the tendency to follow what is popular. On the other hand, if we want to share a story that has been told in a part of the world and has connected with its audience, the story deserves to be shared around the world. This explains the urge to pick up a good story and share with your own audience,” says Sudip Mukherjee, CEO and founder, Biiggbang Amusement, the short-format OTT platform.

It’s the plot and original value of a hit formula that leads to adaptations, according to scriptwriter Sumrit Shahi who worked overtime through the pandemic writing as many as five web series including the just released, Love, Scandal and Doctors. “A good international story might not reach all; adapting it to Indian milieu only increases its reach,” says Shahi. “I am no fan of direct copying but it’s very interesting to adapt a show to Indian milieu. It’s creatively very challenging as well as satisfying. Aarya is one sure hit in that regard.”

While remaking a show, there are a lot of nuances that need to be looked at keeping the audience in mind. “You need to mould the story according to your culture and sentiments. While doing so, you need to stick to the core and be true to the original story. Many times, the makers don’t realise and in the process of filming, one gets carried away and loses the core essence and thus the story-telling changes completely. The true essence of an adaptation, in my opinion, is how to make the story your own while retaining its meaning and making the characters relevant to your current time and scenario, matching the preference and liking of your audience,” shares Mukherjee.

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