regular-article-logo Monday, 05 June 2023

The Night Manager creator Sandeep Modi: 'Hope audience finds our show a worthy Indian adaptation of the original British series'

Starring Aditya Roy Kapur, Anil Kapoor, Tillotama Shome, Sobhita Dhulipala and Saswata Chatterjee, the series will be streaming on Disney+ Hotstar from February 17

PTI Mumbai Published 16.02.23, 04:18 PM

“The Night Manager” creator and director Sandeep Modi says it was a huge responsibility to adapt the upcoming series for the Indian audience as the British version was already a success.

Best known as the co-director of Disney+ Hotstar show “Aarya” (an adaptation from the Dutch series "Penoza"), Modi, who has directed the Indian version with Priyanka Ghose, said they are ready for the comparison between his show and the 2016 drama that featured Hugh Laurie, Olivia Colman and Tom Hiddleston.


"While the audience are having comparisons, we are saying bring it on. For us to put our head high against a show like that, whose accolades you are counting, gives us a high.

"We both are small and nascent makers in this world... We hope the audience finds it (this show) worthy of being called ‘The Night Manager’,” Modi told PTI in an interview here. The original BBC drama -- based on John le Carré’s novel -- follows the night manager of a hotel, played by Hiddleston, who is recruited to penetrate into an arms dealer (Laurie)’s inner circle.

The Indian chapter of “The Night Manager” is adapted from both the British series, which is written by David Farr, and Carré’s 1993 book. Modi said it was challenging to present the lavish lifestyle of a rich man, played by Anil Kapoor in this series, in the Indian milieu.

“Thematically, the show is about the haves and have nots and how to culturally set a rich guy in the Indian context... This was the challenging part. Rich people will have the same caviar, champagne, gorgeous villas, Swiss bank accounts, etc. So, how do you set that differently? "Also, how do you emotionally root for these characters? We are Indians, we are a people with a lot of heart. We are empathetic and emotional people. How do you find Indian resonance to them (that was the question).” Adaptations come with their own sets of challenges, said co-director Ghose.

“The challenge we faced was to make it as our story, to make it about our characters,” added Ghose, who is credited as the director of the season three of the Siddharth Shukla-led show “Broken But Beautiful”.

Modi said the story of the hotel night manager, who turns into a spy, to take down an arms dealer remains the same but they have tweaked certain aspects.

“It is a global story about Europe and the Middle East. To make it as a story of Asia and make a story of things that matter to us now... We wanted to do it better in the Indian way.

"While we loved the original, we took the best from the book and the show. Kudos to John's family, the Ink Factory team, who made the original show. They were the custodians of the show and were warm to us.” Modi and Ghose said Kapoor was the apt choice to play the antagonist Shelly Rungta.

“We wanted a magnanimous personality, someone who commands equal amount of awe and love and yet you feel there is a mask. That’s stays true for Anil sir," Modi said.

"We have seen him as a lovable guy, he was like, ‘Are you sure you are seeing me as a villain?’ We found those little shades in him. I would call him an antagonist and not a villain,” Ghose added.

Kapur, the directors said, was someone they were keen to collaborate with.

“I found him to be deep like an ocean. I was keen to find a part that will tap into that aspect. There were many names that we were thinking of, but when it came to Adi, it felt right,” Modi said.

The director said it is "unfortunate" that the story of “The Night Manager” remains relevant today as war-like situations continue to be a harsh reality around the world.

“‘The Night Manager’ story is relevant in 1993, it is relevant now but I hope it is not relevant from next year after my show is out.

"The story is about warmongers and the idea that war is always keeping some part of the world on fire is sad. While most of us want peace, there are many who revel in the idea of war. And this story is about these characters,” Modi added.

“The Night Manager” also stars Sobhita Dhulipala, Tillotama Shome, Saswata Chatterjee and Ravi Behl. Produced by The Ink Factory and Banijay Asia, the series is set to premiere Friday on Disney+ Hotstar.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

Follow us on: