Shweta Mulki

First look of the new season of Anil Kapoor starrer '24′ unveiled

Maruti Suzuki's S Cross is presenting sponsor; Colors says the 'premium' show will be made more accessible to masses.

Colors, after a hit run of '24', the Indian adaptation of the American television series by the same name has yet again roped in cine star Anil Kapoor for its second season. The series, which had Kapoor, who played the central protagonist 'Jai Singh Rathod', reprising Keifer Sutherland's Jack Bauer,' had re-created the show for Colors in 2013. The first season had actors like Shabana Azmi, Tisca Chopra and Mandira Bedi. The rest of the cast of the new season wasn't revealed, but it will have a few of the old characters, as well as some new ones.

First look of the new season of Anil Kapoor starrer '24′ unveiled
First look of the new season of Anil Kapoor starrer '24′ unveiled
The show 24 is a real-time finite espionage series which traces the journey of Anti-Terrorist Unit (ATU) Chief Jai Singh Rathod as he battles the odds in the line of duty over the course of 24 hours. While Season 1 saw him saving a Prime Ministerial candidate from being assassinated, in Season 2, Jai Singh Rathod will take on the bigger responsibility of 'saving the nation at large.'

At the official announcement of the new season, Colors unveiled the poster for the show which is slated to go on floors by the year end. '24: Season 2 ' Maruti Suzuki's 'premium crossover' S-Cross is the Presenting Sponsor.

The makers say that the gap was due to Anil Kapoor's film commitments that did not give him enough time to shoot '24', which is not an easy show and needs eight days of shoot per episode, and the average production time for 'regular' show is 12 hours. Raj Nayak, CEO Colors, says, "Season 1 of 24 was a game-changer on Indian television, and as we enter the production phase for Season 2, we look forward to raise the bar. As the shoot commences, we welcome on-board S-Cross as the presenting sponsor of 24: Season 2. We are certain that the integration will be mutually beneficial for both brands."

The show launch hasn't been revealed and will reportedly take a minimum 3-4 months to go on air. On lessons from the last season, Nayak says, "We realised the show's visual treatment was a bit too intellectual, so we will try to 'mass-ify' the story without compromising on the slickness, its premium quality and its inspirational values."

First look of the new season of Anil Kapoor starrer '24′ unveiled
Speaking about shows that are premium and edgy, Manisha Sharma, programming head, Colors, says that with the growth of the digital medium, 'premium formats' will eventually gain the same popularity as daily soaps. On Season 2 of 24, she says, "It will be doubly sleek, stylised and engaging than the first Season. Along with action, thrill and adventure, Jai Singh Rathod's personal upheavals will make for an intriguing storyline. We are in the process of putting together an ensemble cast comprising versatile actors and technicians. The poster we have launched is a testimony of Kapoor's all-round involvement and dedication in making 24 an audience winner in every sense of the word."

Kapoor, who featured in one of the seasons of the original American series, bought the official rights in 2011. He says that the show was the most exciting part of his long career, adding that Fox International Television president Marion Edwards and the show's creator Howard Gordon and writer have given a thumbs up to the Indian version.

Kapoor adds, "When we decided to adapt 24 for Indian viewers through a local production, little did we know that it would change television consumption patterns, and pave the path for newer viewership trends across the industry. The tight narrative and gripping storyline has made the show stand out among its contemporaries with the question 'when will Season 2 start?' on everyone's mind. As production begins, we welcome Abhinay Deo and Rensil D'Souza back as directors. Their contribution made Season 1 a success and, together, we hope to surpass previously set benchmarks with Season 2."

The series is co-produced by Anil Kapoor Film Co, and Ramesh Deo Productions, and is directed by Abhinay Deo and Rensil D'Silva. Colors had bought the rights for the show from Kapoor's production house which held the adaptation rights of 192 episodes for a period of four years, a period which is reportedly extendable.

Kapoor's character Jai Singh Rathod will drive the S-cross in the new series. Calling the show a premium product, R S Kalsi, executive director, marketing and sales, Maruti Suzuki India, cited similarities between Kapoor's character and S-cross, and that his exclusivity as a brand endorser also augurs well for sponsors. "The target audience that 24 caters to, allows us to draw synergies between the brands of S-Cross, 24 and Colors. We believe in utilising multiple avenues to connect with our audience and 24: Season 2 is the perfect platform for us to integrate and showcase the premium crossover S-Cross to consumers while strengthening our expanded brand reach," adds Kalsi.

Speaking about the sponsor, Nayak says, "We want to leverage Maruti's network to help our show and vice-versa. Though it will cost a brand a crore to get a star for a day, one can leverage both Kapoor's popularity and the brand's strength in this case." He adds that the channel is looking at digital options for the show.

The show is reportedly one of the most expensive shows on Indian television. On breaking even, Nayak says that while some shows make money, others are 'image drivers'. "The show 24 has given us publicity worth Rs 15-20 crore. When was the last time you saw an Indian show featuring on Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, New York Times and CNN International?"