Inside the House of Cards

I read an article today, where an actor expressed his desire to act in an Indian remake of House of Cards. I thought it would be interesting if a remake was made, in the Indian context. No better time, even, given the politically charged atmosphere here in the country.

Bus Hoarding of Jack Bauer's 24

24 was recently adapted in India and I was pleased with production quality. So to speak. The performances were less than lacklustre. I’ve been an Anil Kapoor fan from his debut, and I was upset, to say the least, with his performance. Everybody in the cast failed miserably to capture the tension and urgency that was Jack Bauer’s 24.

I have always believed that when you remake a successful series, you should adapt the context, not the concept.

And that’s what I’d expect from a remake of House of Cards (HoC). It’s a political drama, but there’s a lot to learn, or at least evoke curiosity, about the nature of the structure and mechanics of  how governments function. Funding, majority, PAC, rules and exceptions of the senate and congress, roles of the politicians and leaders and such things.

This is something that we need in India desperately. There’s a famine of civic knowledge, and a general laid-back ignorance of how our government functions. During the last few weeks I asked many of my friends, some of them passionate card-carrying members of various political parties, how members of the Rajya Sabha (the upper house of the Indian Parliament) are elected. Of the 30-odd people I asked, only one knew. While the new government in India has a clear majority, why will it not be a cakewalk for them to pass legislation? And in spite of that seeming difficulty, why does it have an amazing opportunity to bring about necessary change? These are the some of the questions we should understand than bitch about politicians and personalities.

Rhetoric in politics is a global phenomenon; so is mud-slinging. But the electorate has to understand and be aware of the parts of the machine and the nature of its operation, not just ideologies and leanings. The Indian news media, which I believe should shoulder this responsibility, completely ignores this in favour of sensationalism. It therefore falls upon the Indian entertainment media to take this up. Storify governing, lyric the constitution, cast the politicians, dramatise government, without compromising on — what we in the curriculum-making-business call — accuracy and sufficiency.

Every critical civics lesson is a potential for drama and a plot twist, if only writers would take the time to study the government. It will require decent research, which is rare; however the newer crop of entertainment content producers show a lot of promise and are quite talented.

Elections, government, and this country should be less about taking sides. It should be more about knowing what’s inside.

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