Rohan Sippy tackles criticism around ‘The Office’

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New Delhi, July 15 (IANS) Director Rohan Sippy isn’t bogged down by the criticism around the Indian remake of “The Office”, and says most people are offended by their take because they think it is sacrilege to even attempt to “legitimately remake the original show”.

Sippy’s “The Office” is an official adaptation of the international series of the same name. The 13-episode Hotstar Specials mockumentary series chronicles the nine-to-five lives of employees at a firm named Wilkins Chawla, as they navigate through their mundane routine that invariably gives rise to comical situations.

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“When you are taking of such a loved show, and knowing how loud social media is, I was prepared (for the comparisons with the original one), and it has been on expected lines,” Sippy told IANS.

“The most vocal and critical ones are the Indo-Anglians (a wonderful phrase coined by author Sajith Pai), younger Indians who are growing up on western culture. Most love the US version and are offended by our take. For them, it is sacrilege to even attempt to legitimately remake it,” he added about the show he has co-directed with Debbie Rao.

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The “Bluffmaster” director continued: “My favourite criticism, so far, comes from the people who say it is being too faithful to the original — which is also what the US version got flak for. And when we have departed from the original, they are upset at our changing it.”

He is, however, enjoying all the “hate and love” he is getting for the show.

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“There are many others, probably far larger in number, who haven’t seen the British or US versions. They seem to be enjoying this kind of comedy, which is relatively new on such a mainstream platform in India. Hate as well as love is great, as the only unpardonable thing in this business is if people are indifferent to what you’re doing,” said Sippy.

Talking about the process of adapting “The Office” for the Indian audience, the director recalled: “Back in 2008, we had produced the first mockumentary in India, ‘The President Is Coming’, so at the time we had worked a lot on adapting that kind of format. Now in the case of ‘The Office’, almost all of the big adaptation decisions on setting, plot, and characters had been taken by the time I came on board as one of the directors. So I can claim no credit for translating ‘that’s what she said’ to ‘baby bhi yehi boli’. I got more involved on an episodic level.”



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