Time for adaptations

From international serials to desi literature, producers are engaging viewers with shows based on them

R. K. Laxman's cartoons previously inspired a series was Wagle Ki Duniya, which was a riot. Hope Laxman Ki Duniya will live up to it

So far we have seen reality shows being adapted from hit international formats while adaptations of fiction shows have been sporadic, officially at least. The biggest and most popular adaptation so far has been Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahi that was based on the Spanish telenovella Yo Soy Betty La Fea or Ugly Betty. The path-breaking serial on Sony made Mona Singh an overnight star who is still reaping the benefits. Of course, Apurva Agnihotri who played Jassi's handsome and arrogant boss was a big draw. The serial's success saw Star Plus adapting another Spanish serial Sweet Fat Valentina into Dekho Magar Pyaar Se. The same theme of ugly duckling turning into a swan didn't work though.

Apart from these, we've had serials that were inspired from foreign films like Pyar Ki Yeh Ek Kahani loosely based on the Twilight Saga and I must say the serial had me glued to the screen initially. There was even a serial inspired by FRIENDS. A couple of months ago, Kuch Toh Log Kahenge adapted from the popular Pakistani serial Dhoop Kinarey went on air. Having seen the original, I confess I was curious to see how the desi version would pan out. It may not be as rivetting as the original - Marina Khan as Zoya was a delight—but I still want to watch Kuch Toh.. It's latest show, Dekha Ek Khwaab is also loosely based on The Princess Diary about a poor girl transforming into a princess.

The small-screen is seeing some literary adaptations too. Once the mainstay of television, mainly during the Doordarshan days—Kathasagar, Ek Kahani, Discovery Of India, Tamas—they have been attempted on satellite TV too but not with as much success. Hasratein based on Jaywant Dalvi's Marathi novel Adhantari stands out for its mature theme of adultery deftly handled by the director Ajai Sinha and sensitive portrayal by actors Shefali Shah and Harsh Chhaya. In recent times it isTaarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chasmah based on the columns of Gujarati columnist Taarak Mehta that has hit bulls-eye. Launched over three years ago, it not only became the numero uno show on SAB TV, but also propelled the channel into the top five channel bracket. So taken in by its success was the channel that it quickly added several serials based on books,of which Lapatagunj, based on Sarat Chandra's works elicited quite a good response.

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