I already did a very long detailed take down of Bharat Ane Nenu this morning, including an overview of the Indian Constitution and it’s deeper social meaning, I’m exhausted, and I know at least one of you also watches both B99 and Indian film, so I am going to indulge myself with a fun easy recasting post. Plus, the news just broke that B99 was canceled, so the time is ripe for an Indian spin off.
A fun lightweight sitcom with a few multi season storylines, but mostly just silly jokes between nice people. Set in a police precinct, revolving around the lives of the detectives and their captain and Sergeant.
Captain Raymond Holt: Very dignified, very deadpan, almost no sense of humor, but also extremely upright and just and the moral center of the show.
Sergeant Terry Jeffords: The “mother” of the precinct, very caring for all his underlings, and also a devoted father to his twin girls, an artist, and a body builder with a massive strong frame around his sensitive heart.
Detective Jake Peralta: Class clown, always joking, but cares about his friends and (slowly over the course of the show) comes to fall in love with the “teacher’s pet” type fellow detective Amy Santiago. Best detective in the precinct, but with no ambitions beyond that, happy just to stay in his job and solve crimes forever instead of rising through the ranks.
Detective Amy Santiago: Very organized, very ambitious, has her whole life planned out and tries to do her best at all times. And also secretly enjoys joking around with Jake Peralta.
Detective Charles Boyle: Jake’s best friend, very sweet and sincere like a puppy, hero worships Jake.
Detective Rosa Diaz: Laconic, tough, scary, dresses in black and rides a motorcycle. But also a loyal friend, in her own unemotional way.
Gina Linetti: Jake’s childhood friend who he got hired as Captain Holt’s civilian assistant. Over the top, dramatic, pretends not to care about anything or like anyone around her but actually does.
(Gina, Charles, Rosa, Amy, Terry, Holt, Jake)
Now, there are several challenges with our theoretical Indian version. For one thing, it is extremely episodic, this isn’t like re-writing Friends or something where there is a strong backbone of plot start to finish. Or maybe it is, but the show hasn’t actually finished yet, so we don’t know what that strong backbone of plot will be.
So, I am going to have to do quite a bit of massaging before we have anything close to usable in an Indian setting.
We’ll still start with Captain Holt being reassigned to head the precinct. Since India has state wide police instead of just city wide, we can have him come in from a village area to join the Bombay force. Everyone is ready to make fun of him for speaking so formally and seeming so old-fashioned, but then the find out he is secretly amazing, cleared out a whole group of factionalists and stuff in the village, he just doesn’t believe in being flashy. And the big reveal, very unexpected for such a stiff and proper seeming person, he has a cross cultures/religion marriage! (in the original, he is gay, but that is still illegal in India which would add a different layer to the reveal. I want something that might cause issues in society still but isn’t actually illegal). The squad gets excited at the idea of a dramatic secret romance, but then meet his wife, and she is just as deadpan and boring as he is.
Sergeant Jeffords is a dedicated Indian wrestler, with an impressive perfect body, but is also the gentlest sweetest man in the world, who loves his tiny daughters and reveres his stern nurse wife.
Jake is the precinct cut up, spoiled son of a connected father, everyone thought he got his job through connections at first but then came to appreciate he actually had skills. But he still treats the job as kind of a joke, he likes the challenge and excitement, but he doesn’t care about showing up on time, or wearing a proper uniform or any of that. Captain Holt starts challenging him to be better and appreciate his privileges and realize not everyone has them so he has to act more like the rest of the squad in order to make them equals.
Amy is the daughter of a detective and granddaughter and greatgranddaughter of a lower level uniformed officer. Her whole life was built towards bringing her family one more step forward, from uniformed to detective and, next step, head of station (or whatever it is). She is driven and focused and hates Jake for having everything handed to him. And is also jealous of him for knowing how to have fun and relax instead of worrying all the time about everything.
Charles is the sweet college friend of Jake. He’s from a struggling middle-class family, and Jake always helped him out, even paid his tuition a few semesters, lets him live with him, listens to his problems, and so on and so on. Charles struggled and tried multiple times but finally passed the exams and was thrilled to join Jake at the same precinct. Jake’s kindness to Charles is the first sign that there might be more to him that just spoiled rich jerk.
Rosa is a tough Punjabi former female wrestler who drinks and rides a motorcycle and is terrifying. She doesn’t talk to anyone, but she is good at her job and obeys orders.
Gina is Jake’s childhood friend, spoiled rich kid whose family lost everything so she needed a job and Jake promised her she wouldn’t have to do any real work if she was hired on as a civilian assistant at the precinct.
Now, PLOT! Several threads pulled together, I think. We’ll start with a kind of light slow development of the relationships within the precinct. Holt is an upright seemingly boring Brahmin. And then they discover he is married to a Muslim woman from a gangster family, and he was an awesome action hero who spent years cleaning up factionalists in remote areas of the country after the powers-that-be had him transferred again and again partly because of his shocking marriage. And now he is finally back to the city and ready to prove himself in a new kind of battlefield.
(Just realized I am partly picturing Sunil Dutt here. Boring, upright, proper, but secretly a superhero)
With Holt being brought in, all the other relationships change around him. Jake resists at first, until even Charles confronts him about not being respectful enough and trying to avoid doing his job. That makes Jake wake up, he turns down the help his father offers him and agrees to do the grunt work that Holt assigned him as an indefinite punishment. And while Jake is doing the grunt work of the precinct, he starts to get to know everyone else there in a new way. Comes to see how Terry cleans up all their messes even when it means sacrificing time at home with their kids and starts quietly helping him and treating him with more respect. Rosa bluntly asks for help on a case because she knows he is smart and can help her and believes that he will be willing to do it even if it is boring and he won’t get any of the credit, Jake does help her and sincerely thanks her for letting him help. And Amy reluctantly comes to respect him, and even feel bad for him, bringing in lunch to eat with him every day in his sad basement office and so on.
Finally, Holt lets him go out on a case again, with Rosa as a partner when she specially requested him. Charles is thrilled and plans to make him a big celebration dinner that night at their shared apartment, and Jake shyly and awkwardly invites Amy (he had previously taken her out to get drunk when her boring college boyfriend announced his engagement) to come to the dinner, it looks like this could be the start of a real relationship. But then!!!!! Jake and Rosa are caught and kidnapped while on the case!!!!!
(Jake makes her loosen up in a song sequence like this)
The rest of the squad starts to try to find them, Amy finds a sweet little stash of Amy candid photos stored on his computer and gets even softer on him, Terry spirals out of control with anxiety and ends up accidentally breaking furniture. Charles steps up and reveals a scary amount of knowledge of Jake’s life and puts together some of the pieces, but it is Holt who really realizes what is going on, while keeping it from the rest of them. He calls a mysterious figure and we learn that this was all just an attempt to get to Holt. One of his old enemies has used his connections in Bombay to get Jake and Rosa kidnapped and now wants Holt to trade himself for them. Holt agrees
But, at the meet, as he is about to let himself be killed, suddenly the rest of the squad bursts in! Holt’s wife called them when he didn’t come home, and said she was “mildly concerned” which they knew meant she was terrified, so they started investigating, knew him well enough to understand how he thinks and eventually found him and rescued him. Because he forgot that he is part of the team too and they will always have his back. He’s not alone out there any more.
Everyone goes back to the precinct to celebrate, except for Amy and Jake, because they are finally going on their first date.
Captain Holt: Boman Irani. Or Rishi Kapoor. Or Amitabh.
Mrs. Holt: Shabana Azmi. Or Neetu. Or Jaya.
Sergeant Jeffords: Salman Khan maybe? He’s got the body for it. Or else a wrestler in a film debut.
(Time traveling Dara Singh would be perfect. We should just pluck him from the 1970s and deposit him in this film.)
Charles: Arjun Kapoor
Rosa Diaz: Ritika Singh from Saala Khadoos
Gina Linetti: Lisa Haydon
Phew! That was super fun! Way more fun than writing a serious Friday Classics review like I’m supposed to be doing right now. Oh well, it’s been a crazy week, I needed a break.