Hotstar released the desi version of The American Classic “The Office” which features an ensemble cast of Mukul Chaddha as Jagdeep Chaddha (Carell’s Michael Scott), Gopal Dutt as TP (Rainn Wilson’s Dwight Schrute), Sayandeep Sengupta as Amit Sharma (John Krasinski’s Jim Halpert) and Samridhi Dewan as receptionist Pammi (Jenna Fischer’s Pam Beesly).
The desi version copies the entire show frame to frame. Being an adaptation, you would expect some new to characters or some different settings, but this show lacks anything new. Indian writing has been so lazy that even the sitting arrangement/furniture/aesthetics/layout is EXACTLY the same.
In the US version, there are moments which give the show its unique flavor. Like Michael correcting Dwight that he is not ‘Assistant Branch Manager’ but ‘Assistant to the Branch Manager.’ The desi portrayal of Dwight and Stanley just make you infuriated. As a devoted fan of the American Office who has watched it multiple times or even clips on youtube, I did not find this rendition amusing. The jokes and situations are literally translated, and Michael’s unintentional humor has been replaced with lazy Hindi/Punjabi jokes which very rarely land.
The most disappointing part of the Hotstar version is the dull characterization of Jim and Pam. However, there are a couple of star performers in this desi version. Gopal Dutt as TP Mishra is given a proper Indian rendition, with his obsession with swadeshi goods and behavior.
I am a huge fan of the US version of The Office, which is the only reason why I am even watching this show in the first place. Remakes aren’t the problem but the glue that binds the whole show is MIA. If you really want to engage an audience, respect the origin, and take it to a new level.