Watching the pilot as well as the second episode of Anil Kapoor's new TV series 24 was a refreshing change for Indian TV viewers. But, there were loads of things that were new, in the sense that such things were unheard of previously in relation to TV soaps, 24 of which are:
(1) You cannot have a title that short and expect the show to work. A 4-letter abbreviation is the bare minimum. Plus, there are no K's in 24.
(2) You cannot fit in events spanning one hour in real time into an hour long episode. Either you stretch, say, a 5 minute Saas-Bahu confrontation into an hour long saga accompanied by drum rolls, customized music and people turning their heads thrice in shock, or you try and leapfrog 7 years in a matter of one episode.
(3) You cannot have an Indian lady in your show (Tisca Chopra) portraying a wife who is audacious enough to vent her anger to her husband.
(4) You cannot show a hot female assassin making out with a male assassin in the washroom on board a flight before killing him. That 10 seconds long clip would qualify as porno in Indian TV. Plus, this has the eerie undertones of female empowerment: travelling alone, choosing your partner, taking up employment opportunities (that too of an assassin) and shit.
(5) You cannot depict a Prime Minister who is sincerely trying to live up to his promises. Indians don’t know nothing about such things, at least not yet.
(6) The Prime Minister in the show resembles a leader from the ruling party, but still is shown as someone who is making sense while talking.
(7) You cannot show the brother-in-law as a good-for-nothing drunkard. Brothers-in-law, who technically also qualify as sons-in-law, are a rather powerful breed donning various hats, from being businessmen-cum-real-estate-aficionados to being cricket enthusiasts.
(8) Mandira Bedi is doing stuff outside of a Cricket Stadium.
(9) I am not sure about this one, probably because I haven’t seen one. But does an airplane carrying a powerful national leader also boast of a laal-batti? Seriously? Too much attention to detail it seems.
(10) There are no refusing-to-die nonagenarians in the show.
(11) As far as Indian television goes, one doesn’t simply show ladies going to and getting out of bed unless they are laden with 24 carat gold ornaments, gilded lehengas and saris and what not.
(12) How come not a single person is overacting?
(13) You cannot show young 18 or 20 years old girls getting drunk and partaking in drunken revelry. They are supposed to get married ASAP, and as soon as the back-to-the-future bit happens, have kids who can literally pass as their elder brothers in real life.
(14) You cannot show various government agencies, intelligence, ATU and otherwise, displaying such sophisticated level of coordination and information sharing before something has actually happened, when Chris Martin’s hand eye coordination is far better. He, by the way, holds the record for the most number of ducks in International Cricket.
(15) You cannot show Anil Kapoor for one full hour without him screaming ‘Jhakaas’ at least 24 times and breaking into an impromptu jig to the tune of ‘Ram-Lakhan’ that invokes an image of a hairy, angry bear whose kid was taken. Hell, he even did it at the Oscars.
(16) Anupam Kher as a sleuth doesn’t go down well, especially when he has been the quintessential happy-go-lucky old man all his life.
(17) The producer is a Kapoor alright. But it is Anil, not Ekta.
(18) They haven’t shown a single pothole on Mumbai’s roads.
(19) There are a good number of Scorpios and other SUVs. But even while being action oriented, 24 doesn’t show a single vehicle flying around. Indians love that shit.
(20) Most Indians don’t understand the concept of a superfast internet connection, especially when 8GB worth data gets transferred online in a matter of seconds. That too wireless.
(21) The protagonists aren’t super rich and don’t have palaces for houses.
(22) Anil Kapoor’s daughter seems a pretty good actress.
(23) The show is not stereotypical and actually seems promising.
(24) Finally, Shri Shri Bejan Daruwala says the digits in 24 add up to 6, which is an ominous sign because the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. Makes no sense, but that’s the whole point.