There's an Indian remake of The Office and I have strong opinions about it

I first watched the American version of The Office when I was in college. I was riveted to shows like Gossip Girl with high drama, excess flash and galloping pace so naturally, in comparison The Office felt monotonous and I stopped going back to it. Last year, I caught stray glimpses of the show when my brother was watching it, which eventually led to me loyally following the series for the next few months.


I've completed a decent share of TV series in my lifetime and if I were to rank them, The Office would fall somewhere on top. The second time around with developed sensibilities and fresh perspective, I appreciated the mixed bag of characters, their dry humour and the realistic but lively setup most 9 to 5'ers can identify with.

That's why, when I heard The Office was getting an official Indian remake, I had to first absorb this was really happening. After it sunk in, this was my first reaction.


I decided against judging it too quickly and with an open mind, watched the trailer. For your viewing pleasure and the purpose of this piece, check it out here.

The Office's American remake premiered in 2005 and continued for 9 seasons until 2013. It was critically acclaimed during its run and went on to win Emmy's, SAG and Golden Globe awards for directing and acting. The early 00s during its run were very different times, to say the least. The climate wasn't as politically charged and neither was it as culturally sensitive as it is today. In hindsight, many of their jokes could be deemed inappropriate by today's standard. I believe that one of their greatest challenges will be capturing the show's essence and humour without offending anyone.

I was underwhelmed from the get-go when it seemed like a scene-by-scene remake of how Michael Scott enters the office. From Pam's hapless look in the camera to the iconic 'world's best boss' mug, it feels like they took the word remake too literally. In the words of Dwight K. Schrute, "Identity theft is not a joke, Jim!" If that is the case, they will have to adapt some pretty tricky material like Meredith's drunken shenanigans or Oscar's personal life.

We can't ignore one of the primary reasons behind The Office's success; its superb writing. The backdrop may be a regular corporate office, but every character is brilliantly crafted with unique personalities and quirks to go with it. No episode just coasts through a day at the desk; it's packed with hilarious meetings, office affairs and strange stakeouts. Here's hoping its desi counterpart has the backing of strong writing for the Indian context with hopefully, funnier jokes.

The Office would be nowhere without its characters and their gags. Their roles are so incredibly played, you'd think they were written just for them. Let's not forget how finely nuanced they are. Take Micheal, for example. He has potential to be highly annoying but balances it with his social ineptitude and goofy charm. There's no doubt that Jim's gags (which have their own Buzzfeed article) as well as his frenemy-ship with Dwight have earned legendary status. So have Shrute farms, the Dundies and Threat Level Midnight. Will it have more iconic moments in its future? Only time will tell.

The stage is set and all we can do is wait. Jagdeep Chaddha and the gang, you have massive white sneakers to fill. I sure hope we feel God in this Chili's when it premieres.


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