Confessions of a GoT addict: why the Indian remake can be a colossal mistake

(Published in The Times of India: )

The trailer is out, the wait is almost over.
The medieval fantasy epic Game of Thrones written by the brilliant George R. Martin and brought to our television screens through a collaboration with HBO is all set to rock our worlds once again with its next Season due to be aired on April 24, 2016.
The first time I saw a trailer for a newly released show called Game of Thrones, I was sceptical. Medieval fantasy sagas either agree with a person immediately or don’t at all. There is no grey area. I was sure it wasn’t my cup of tea.
Until the day I took the plunge and watched Season 1, Episode1. It was only after it ended and the credits started to roll did I realise that my mouth was open and I had been hooked like a fish in water. It was only the beginning for me.
From ‘the mother of dragons’ to cynical dwarfs, from witches and warriors to beautiful queens and princesses adorning exquisite gowns and embellishments and even the estranged half-brother Jon Snow’s wardrobe that consists only of leather and fur, the producers have put their weight behind the intricacies, leaving no stone unturned in the effort to perfect the visual appeal.
But it isnt just about the breathtaking locales and outfits. The plot has only thickened with each episode and each season leaving us hungry for more. It may perhaps be the only show of its kind that has seamlessly broken every social stereotype and intricately woven them into the layers of the storyline and persona of each character very tactfully without losing the raw, authentic overtones. Drama, action, tragedy, comedy, suspense, murder, fantasy, love, betrayal, revenge all in equal measure – the show is that mixed bag of fictional treats that even the Indian audience today craves for and devoured the moment the show went on air. The cinching ingredient, of course, is the no-holds-barred, uncensored, nature of the show that reflects on a society outside of India that is allowed to push the envelope and develop in their creativity to produce shows for an audience of a matured, progressive mindset.
The mindsets in India,meanwhile, seem to be heading back to the stone ages which is why all that one can watch on Indian Tv channels are stalemate, time-defying, saas-bahu serials where women are covered in their heaviest saris and makeup even when they go to bed and dote on their male counterparts in tune with the misogynist fabric of our culture even today. Everything else from Mtv Splitsvilla to even Comedy Central was banned for a brief time owing to complaints made against them by viewers. The monetary implications of these bans for Tv channels are no laughing matter either.
So, when news started doing the rounds that an Indian version of a show that makes jaws drops with scenes of conspicuous nudity and scarring bloodshed is in the pipeline, it gave cause for concern. Rumour has it that the likes of Sakshi Tanwar, one of the reigning queens of the Indian silver screen has bagged a role in this project as the indelible Daenarys Targaryan – the mother of dragons.
While I don’t doubt the talent and skill of our Indian actors in anyway – they seem to be nailing the quintessential ‘family’ shows in our neck of the woods, imitating a storyline and characters of a show like Game of Thrones is a different ball game altogether. The first hurdle will of course be censorship and that itself can be the downfall of the entire project. GoT created magic also because of its raw, bold content that had us glued to our computers to catch it the moment it aired the uncensored originals instead of watching HBO that, although now telecasts the show at the same time worldwide, censors everything from blurring offensive words to editing scenes of nudity to cater to the Indian sentiment.
So, when the original itself has taken a beating by our morality, isnt it rather presumptious and absurd to attempt an Indian remake which, we all know will end up being nothing close to the original?
In a country where a little bit of cleavage amounts to bans and snips from the editing scissors, a show like Game of Thrones that literally leaves nothing to the imagination will never see the light of day. We have to run to the internet each time we want to see the uncensored clips.In such a scenario, isn’t it prudent to accept what is unacceptable and even impossible and start from the basics?
The Indian audience today is a huge market for quality television. Pakistani plays are already pulling our attention away from the stale saas-bahu story. The need of the hour is to focus on creating more fast-paced, gripping storylines that defy the stereotype and move towards depicting a more progressive India.
In the meantime lets leave the magic of shows like Game of Thrones to the magicians who are already doing a great job. With two months left for the next season to air, the recently released trailer has once again ignited the familiar excitement that only a true ‘Throner’ can appreciate.
The countdown has begun and ‘Winter’ is coming!

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