Atlast I managed to watch the all the episodes of the Anil Kapoor's TV series - 24 back to back, the show rocked North Indian TV three years back and all gearing up for a season two. While watching first thing that came to my mind is "This is something that Kamal Hassan should attempt in South. At this stage of his career, he is a position to harness the power of small screen down south and do something that will liberate him from the cinematic limitations without bothering about the box office returns". I learnt that this is an Indianised version of American TV series of the same name and it ran till the season 8 before calling it quits forever.
The novelty of this series is that the episodes are real time and happen between the 60 minutes of the running time. The way the series opened is nothing short of a silver screen's magnum opus especially the tension building scenes of the to-be sworn in PM Aditya Singhania being plotted to kill and the scenes inside the ATU (Anti Terrorist Unit) Cell where the ATU agents work round the clock to save the country from Terrorist attacks. Add the action scenes like blasting the aeroplane and "stylish" terrorists... Spice it up with the split scenes to show that the happenings of different protagonist's lives around the same time.. 24 works majorly because of its casting and the writing. The show was wonderfully adapted to the Indian settings with the stellar star cast which is a perfect mix of big screen actors and TV stars.
Anil Kapoor leads the pack.. I am always in awe of this my matinee idol how he kept reinventing himself through out his career and ofcourse a labelled manipulator. By the time his contemporaries had switched to character roles in the movies for survival, Anil Kapoor had took a different path into an action TV series unlike the regular judge / reality show host and proved that he can still give the younger guns a run for their money.
Mandira Bedi - India's first daily soap Shanti's heroine takes over the small screen even after years with the same screen presence and intensity matching Anil Kapoor. She is THE heroine of this TV series not as Anil's romantic interest but as his female counterpart who makes the "action less" action / mind games live with fervour. Other actors like Tisca Chopra (Trisha Rathod, Anil's wife), Sapna Pabbi (Kiran Rathod, Anil's daughter),Adhir Bhatt (Tejpal Sandhu, fellow ATU agent) fit the bill aptly. Rajat Kaul as assassin Max Ferraro stood apart from the cast for his killer looks
Even though the plot is larger than life there is a credulence in the way it is narrated and the characters "inspired" by real time characters. The political family is modelled on the Gandhi's (Nehru family) with each character identifiable with Sonia Gandhi (Naina Singhania played by Anita Raj), Rahul Gandhi (Aditya Singhania played by Neil Bhoopalam), Priyanka Gandhi (Divya Singhania played by Shivani Tanksale), Maneka Gandhi (Megha Singhania played by Sujata Kumar), Varun Gandhi (Prithvi Singhania played by Raghav Chanana).
I saw 12 episodes back to back (for 9 hours at a stretch) without getting bored and that pretty much sums up how engrossing the TV series is. I seriously wish that someone revolutionises the Tamil TV with such a powerful / engrossing content freeing the idiot box from the clutches of "family sagas" which advocates for superstitions and extra martital affairs.