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Friday, 20 April, 2001, 14:01 GMT 15:01 UK
Hindi makeover for Yes Minister
Paul Fowlds, Paul Eddington and supporting actor
Yes Minister was a huge success in the 1980s
An Indian version of hit 1980s television series Yes Minister is beginning later this month.

Ji Mantriji stars Indian actors and has been produced in Delhi in collaboration with BBC Worldwide.

It faithfully follows the original, which starred Sir Nigel Hawthorne and the late Paul Eddington.

"It is both an adaptation and a translation of Yes Minister," said producer Simeeta Chakrabarti.

Its closely-observed portrayal of what goes on in the corridors of power has given me hours of pure joy

Mrs Thatcher on Yes Minister

"While we have largely remained faithful to the script, we have adapted it to Indian surroundings."

References to Russia in the UK version have been changed to Pakistan, cricket becomes football and the EEC has been changed to SAARC - the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation.


New acronyms will replace the dismissive TPLC (tin pot little countries) of the calculating advisor Sir Humphrey - played by Hawthorne in the original.

The minister character in the original - Jim Hacker, has been renamed Suryaprakash Singh and will be played by the well-known Indian actor Farooque Sheikh.

Sir Humphrey is now called Rajnath Mathur and is played by Jayant Kripalani.

The idea behind Yes Minister was to expose the struggle between senior politicians and the bureaucracy - mostly it was the flappable minister who was at the receiving end of attempts to outwit him.

Mrs Thatcher was a fan. She said of the show: "Its closely-observed portrayal of what goes on in the corridors of power has given me hours of pure joy."

All the political spin and bureaucratic bungling of the original will be imbued with Indian colour in Ji Mantriji.


But Indian commentators have already queried the authenticity of this.

One journalist wrote: "Given the Indian political parameters, the bureaucrat is always at the mercy of the politician who keeps transferring him at will."

Derek Fowlds, Paul Eddington and Nigel Hawthorne
There are plans for Yes Prime Minister - Ji Pradhan Mantriji
But the producers are happy that the series works well.

"The kind of governance in both countries is very similar, so also is the bureaucratic red-tapism," said Chakrabarti.

Yes Minister already has already been very popular in India when it was shown in English.

This is a unique project for the BBC as it does not usually adapt its series for regional markets.

"This is the first time BBC Worldwide has completely recreated a series for the Indian market or anywhere else in the world," said Mark Young, managing director of the India region for BBC Worldwide.

Rupert Murdoch's Star Plus channel has licensed the series for pan-Asia transmission, and will start the series on Thursday.

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