The popular British sitcom “The Office” will be opening up a new branch in India.
BBC Worldwide has partnered with Aditya Birla Group’s Applause Entertainment, making the announcement during a showcase event in Liverpool. Together the companies aim to develop and produce various BBC formats, which include “The Office” and an Indian version of British crime-drama “Criminal Justice”.
“We feel that BBC Worldwide, with its high-quality content library and formidable reputation for making premium content in India, is the ideal partner to work with,” said Sameer Nair, the CEO of Applause Entertainment (via Business Standard).
“The Office” was created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant and aired for two seasons in the U.K. where it won multiple BAFTA Awards and two Golden Globes. The series concluded with a two-part Christmas special in 2003, though Gervais later reprised his role as David Brent for the 2016 movie “Life on the Road”.
Steve Carell played the lead role of Michael Scott in the U.S. edition of the mockumentary sitcom, which was sold to NBC in 2005. The American version, which aired for nine seasons and won several Emmy and Golden Globe Awards, arguably became more popular than its British inspiration.
“I’m always excited and flattered to see remakes of my work,” Gervais said of the upcoming Indian edition, “particularly as I’ve ended the David Brent saga now with ‘Life on the Road’, but when a country with a population of over a billion has a version I’m hoping for big ratings.”
The Indian version will adapt the first two seasons of the U.S. version, turning it into a single 28-episode season. According to Variety, the character of Brent/Scott will be known as Jagdeep Chaddah, a hapless boss of a nondescript paper company (Wilkins Chawla) located on the far outskirts of Faridabad, a satellite town of New Delhi.
“We see ‘Criminal Justice’ and ‘The Office’ as just the first step in a long and fruitful partnership with Applause,” said Myleeta Aga, senior vice president of South East Asia and South Asia at BBC Worldwide. “We are confident this partnership will result in many more incredibly popular and well-loved Indian adaptations of BBC formats.”
“The Office” has previously been adapted in Canada (where it ran for one season in 2006 under the title “La Job”), Chile, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, and Sweden.
Meanwhile, rumours continue to circulate about a reboot of the U.S. version of “The Office”.