Out of the Box
Timing: 10 pm,Friday and Saturday
As Anil Kapoor walked in holding a cake,while singing Happy Birthday,there couldnt have been a more befitting welcome to his baby,the desi adaptation of the hit American crime series,24. Kapoors 24 is poised as a racy thriller,which attempts to save the future Prime Minister of India,and trace a leak in the Anti-Terrorist Unit (ATU). Shot in real time with split screen effect,the show is designed in a 24-hour and 24-episode format. The first two episodes have familiarised us with the characters and the general plot. Kapoor plays ATU chief Jai Singh Rathod,and like Jack Bauer (played by actor Kiefer Sutherland in the American original,24),he is a hardcore agent,a patriot and a loyalist. Hes sharp and doesnt mind pulling up people or even injecting his boss with a green fluid to get some answers. At 52,Kapoor impresses us with his agility and commendable screen presence. But to describe 24 as solely about Kapoor would be a little unfair the shows strength lies in its credible writing and accurate casting. The writing team of Rensil DSilva,Bhavani Iyer and Milap Milan Zaveri have given 24 the perfect desi tadka. Mandira Bedi,as the mysterious agent Nikita Rai infatuated by Rathod,does justice to her complex character. The terrorist gang is cold and ruthless while the ATU staff is clinical,like they ought to be. With the 2014 general elections closeby,one cannot deny the similarities between the shows first family,Singhanias,with the Gandhis. Anita Raaj is the cold and calculative matriarch,Mrs Naina Singhania who has lost her husband to terrorists and cannot afford to lose her idealistic son with a dark past,Aditya Singhania (Neil Bhoopalam) to an assassination threat. Then there is the political powerhouse and real intellect in the family,Divya Singhania (Shivani Tanksale),Adityas backbone and sister who has to pull back because of her drunken husband. Cut to Rathods family,and there is a rebellious teenage daughter Kiran (Sapna Pabbi),his son,and his harried,lonely wife Trisha (Tisca Chopra). Anupam Kher makes a brief appearance as Wasim who passes on the intel on the traitor to the ATU.
The USP of 24 is its universal theme and appeal,which does not follow a monotonous pace. While the primary plot is the assassination bid,the show balances the sub-plots of espionage,and saving the world. This sets the pace for the show giving it all the emotions and drama wrapped in suspense,blackmail,thrill and conspiracy theories. It has its flaws too Kapoor maybe the desi version of the all out mad Bauer,but he is still a Bollywood hero first,and one sees glimpses of that. Also,director Abhinay Deos focus on faces,and head spinning close-ups are carried to an extreme. Having said that,24 is an attention grabber. How long it will sustain,how long it will take for others to do the dare only time will tell. Tick Tock.