Ever since the first episode of Season 2 of 24 was aired, Anil Kapoor's phone hasn't stopped ringing. "It's amazing how much enthusiasm Season 2 of 24 has generated! We wanted to do the second season only when all of us were sure we had the time and energy to do it uninterrupted. Even before Season 2 had begun airing we had already completed shooting of 18 episodes, with 6 more to go."
Anil was determined to go about this the right way. "We did everything in style. We Indianized the original a bit. But only enough so that fans of the original do not feel betrayed. Luckily the feedback is tremendous. The thing is we never treated 24 like a television serial. We shot it like a feature film and even held a premiere show of the first episode where I invited all my colleagues from the film industry."
The premiere episode of 24 had to go through the full censor process. "Since we were screening it like a feature film we had to get it censored. This is the first time that a television product is being treated like a feature film. I must say Pahlaji (censor chief Nihalani) was very sweet about it, considering the censor board had never censored a television serial. "
Anil says he never discriminated against 24. "For me there's no difference between shooting for a feature film and 24. I've again set aside all my film assignments until I complete all the shooting for Season 2. This is the only way to work on television. You can't treat the medium as a space filler." This time 24 is darker and more brooding in mood. Anil thinks it's just being true to the spirit of the original. "This is not a light-hearted soap or stitcom. 24 is a political thriller. My character is shown to be in a relationship with a woman (Surveen Chawla)."
Their kiss in 24 between Anil and Surveen Chawla was largely reported, though Anil can't see what the fuss is about. "I've kissed in my films when there has been a need to. In 24 a liplock was needed. So we went ahead and did it. About time we stopped making a fuss about these things. The content in 24 is not juvenile. We are looking at a series which has certain international standards to uphold."
The timing for 24 has been changed from 10 pm in Season 1 to 9 pm in Season 2. Anil says it's for the better. "During the last season those who watched it on Sunday nights said it was too late as they had to leave home early on Monday. 9 pm is super-primetime and just perfect for our show."
Anil is hopeful that Season 2 of 24 would have an even larger impact than the first time. "See, this time we've made some alterations. Characters who were not there in the original have been added. New plot twists are now introduced. In this way we not only get viewers who are diehard fans of the original, but also new viewers."
Until the shooting of 24 is over Anil won't start work on any feature film. "Isn't it obvious that I won't get time to do anything while I shoot 24? Though I did a lot of films earlier I never let my work overlap. In that sense I am not doing anything different."
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