Hotstar Special : ‘The Office’ Review

Fans of the original British series tend to disagree when it’s compared with its US counterpart. And rightly so, because you just can’t beat the original. I haven’t seen the original British series but I am a huge fan of the US series thanks to the crazy, supremely talented Steve Carrell. When it comes to acting, Steve is a force to reckon with thanks to some of his award-nominated performances such as ‘Foxcatcher’, ‘The Big Short’, ‘Battle Of The Sexes’ and more recently ‘Vice’ and ‘Beautiful Boy’. But when it comes to comedy, he’s unparalleled. After Jim Carrey, if there’s an undisputed flag bearer of the physical comedy genre, it’s Steve. So when you see the US version of ‘The Office’, you witness the killer trifecta of the actor, producer and writer Steve Carrell who blows you away with his Micheal Scott persona. When it comes to crazy doofuses, Micheal Scott is in the hall of fame. If you’ve watched him in action, you’ll know what I’m saying. The gags, the quips, the comeback lines – ‘The Office’ has everything in the package that makes it a hit show. So when someone decides to remake this show for the Indian audience, you should be scared. Very, very scared.

The Indian version of ‘The Office’ is a scene by scene remake of this series. Dunder Mifflin becomes Wilkins Chawla, Micheal Scott becomes Jagdeep Chaddha because you want to make an underwear joke sometime later in the show. Jim becomes Amit, Pam becomes Pammy, the eccentric Dwight Schrute becomes TP, Stanley becomes Salim and so on. And when I say, scene by scene, it means every scene, every joke, every gag. Which feels redundant because honestly, despite the original gags, the dialogues aren’t remotely funny. Consider this – Jim putting Dwight’s stapler in Jell-O is recreated by Amit putting the same in a jar, inside the Fridge. Nobody gets the joke about Jell-O, duh! Indianised jokes do not work, because the writers have only translated it to Hindi, in the process, killing its essence and thus, making it look forced and gimmicky. Plus the setting is woefully bad. The original series was based in a time when United States Of America was going through a phase of unemployment, post 9/11 issues, loss-making industries, the subprime crisis, etc.. The Indian version copies the setting, without giving it a thought about the changing times. Perhaps, they could’ve set it up as an IT organization or something contemporary that the newer generation of viewers could’ve identified with.

Mukul Chaddha, who plays Jagdeep Chaddha, the Indian Micheal Scott does well, in his limited capacity. But he’s no Steve Carrell. So the discussion stops there. Sayandeep Sengupta doesn’t hold a candle to John Krasinski and Samridhi Dewan is no Jenna Fischer. Among the cast, it’s only Gopal Dutt who comes up with a performance at par with the eccentricities of Rainn Wilson’s Dwight Schrute. Gauhar Khan plays Jan and is alright. But you really cannot blame the ensemble cast, especially when the writing is so bad, considering the original material, that’s so superlative in nature. If you haven’t watched the original series, it’s available on Amazon Prime India and Netflix International. Do watch it to witness the brilliance of Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant on screen. It only affirms the fact, that imitation doesn’t always become the best form of flattery. Sadly, matching the geniuses is always harder than it seems.

And that’s what she said! (I had to say this 😉)

 

The Cinemawala Rating: 1/5

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