Giving us a break from the saas-bahu sagas and love stories revolving around naagins on television, is director Nikkhil Advani. The Kal Ho Na Ho director has helmed POW — Bandi Yuddh Ke, an upcoming Star Plus show that revolves around two Indian soldiers who were taken as prisoners of war during the 1999 Kargil War and return home after 17 years.
Sounds strikingly similar to the plot of the much-loved series Homeland? We don’t blame you.
POW — Bandi Yuddh Ke is an adaptation of the popular Israeli series Hatufim, which in turn is the original source material for Homeland.
Hatufim is the original and as some say, a better version of Homeland
Created, written and directed by Gideon Raff, Hatufim premiered on Israel’s Channel 2 in 2010. The show deals with three Israeli reservists who are captured in Lebanon and put behind bars. Seventeen years later, two of them, Nimrod Klein and Uri Zach return to Israel while the third, Amiel Ben-Horin is dead. The story kicks off as the two soldiers try to rebuild their lives with their families while being questioned by the military officials during in-depth debriefings.
Before Raff had even shot the first episode, Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa approached him and discussions for the American version of Hatufim began. The political thriller, starring Claire Danes, aired in October 2011.
Talking about the essential difference between the Israeli show and its American counterpart, Raff had told The Guardian, “Homeland is a straight thriller — is he a terrorist or not? What’s relevant for an American audience is the enemy within, whether the war hero’s been turned. Israeli audiences are more interested in the relationships, the emotional ride, the secrets and suspense.”
So what’s new about POW — Bandi Yuddh Ke?
Now, the obvious question, for someone who has watched either Homeland or Hatufim, is: Does POW — Bandi Yuddh Ke offer anything new?
The Nikkhil Advani directorial is essentially the same story but in an Indian setting. In an interview to Times Of India, the director admits that he has made the show a more emotional ride rather than a thriller about two prisoners of war. Much like Hatufim, Advani’s show too focuses on how a soldier’s captivity has direct ramifications on his family. A family whose lives remain suspended, unable to return to normalcy until their son returns home. However, when the soldier does return, it only leads to more questions than answers.
Speaking to Times Of India, Advani said, “I realised the real prisoners of war are the soldiers’ wives and families. The wives haven’t been able to move on with their lives…they have this sense of guilt that’s holding them back. They think, ‘What if he comes back?’…The story has a lot of emotions. Homeland is a little cold for Indians. Indians inherently love emotion.”
The 126-episode series features Purab Kohli, Satyadeep Mishra, Sandhya Mridul and Amrita Puri in central leads.