I’m always excited and flattered to see remakes of my work, particularly as I’ve ended the David Brent saga now with Life On The Road. But when a country with a population of over a billion has a version I’m hoping for big ratingsRicky Gervais
Wernham Hogg becomes Wilkins Chawla, a paper company, as the hilarious format, sold to India’s Aditya Birla Group’s Applause Entertainment, follows Indian boss Jagdeep Chaddha and his hapless attempts to inspire and motivate a reluctant workforce. And the Slough trading estate of the home version becomes an industrial park on the far outskirts of Faridabad, a satellite town of New Delhi.
Chadda 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.
Meanwhile, the office staff working for Chaddha at the company’s regional branch do not have much to handle beyond routine paperwork. They’re generally passive and know the real action is in the nearby Delhi head office, but they lack the ambition to move to the big city. And amidst the corporate-grey interiors of the office lies the budding romance between Junior Sales Officer Amit Sharma, who finds himself drawn to Pammi the receptionist, but holds back from revealing his feelings because she is engaged to be married to someone else.
Ricky Gervais of the BBC’s UK version of The Office said: “I’m always excited and flattered to see remakes of my work, particularly as I’ve ended the David Brent saga now with Life On The Road. But when a country with a population of over a billion has a version I’m hoping for big ratings.”
The original UK version of The Office won numerous TV awards and has spawned eight international versions in Europe. It was written and directed by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant and first broadcasted in the UK on BBC Two in 2001. The format since then has become a global success with nine other local versions in countries including Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Israel, Sweden, Finland, the US and awards including Best New TV Comedy at the British Comedy Awards in 2001 and ‘Best TV Show of the last 20 years’ Broadcast Awards 2015 for the original version, Emmy and Golden Globe for the US adaptation.
Sameer Nair, CEO, Applause Entertainment said: “Applause is looking to create premium content for Indian viewers, and 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 or Gareth at some point in their lives!”
Commenting on the partnership, Myleeta Aga, SVP and GM, South East Asia and South Asia at BBC Worldwide said: “The Office format uniqueness lays in its universality, and we are excited to be working with Applause Entertainment to bring this hilarious adaptation to Indian audiences. We are assembling an A-list cast of talent to ensure the highest standards of execution, and see The Office as just the first step in a long and fruitful partnership with Applause. We are confident this partnership will result in many more incredibly popular and well-loved Indian adaptations of BBC formats.”
The agreement with 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 adapt series one and two of the US version into one series of 28 episodes. Previous scripted formats from BBC Worldwide made in India were Yes Minister and Keeping Up Appearances.
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