'Jassi' all set for American flight!
Come September and the Jassi of Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin fame arrives in America in her original 'Ugly Betty' incarnation.
Come September and the incomparable Jassi of Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin ("There's No One Like Jassi") fame arrives in America in her original 'Ugly Betty' incarnation to conquer yet another world.
"Yo Soy Betty La Fea (I Am Betty the Ugly), in her native Colombia, her has proved a hit in both East and West as Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin in India, as Falling in Love in Berlin, as Lotte in the Netherlands and as Born Ugly in Russia'.
They all tweaked the tone of the original with the German version all but excising the comedy while keeping the ugly duckling storyline intact to make it one of the world's most popular television shows.
Now the tele tale of a pitifully ugly woman trying to navigate the shallow waters of the fashion industry premieres in America on ABC on September 22 to give tough Friday night competition to NBC's impossibly attractive crime fighters of Crossing Jordan.
The American version holds close to the show's template, with some local adaptations. Betty is a bit less ugly; She's also younger (played by America Ferrera), works not as an assistant at a fashion house but at a fashion magazine in a Condé Nast-esque publishing empire.
She's also a first-generation Mexican, like the original Betty, has a singularly horrific fashion sense, and commutes each day to New York's
Manhattan business district from Queens, home to many an immigrant.
In her native Colombia, Yo Soy Betty could have been yet another nightly soap opera, but its creator, Fernando Gaitán, had different ideas. To critique the legendarily superficial culture of his country, he made Beatriz Pinzón Solano, a woman with brains.
By the end of its two-year run - 340 half-hour episodes, all written by Gaitán - Yo Soy Betty La Fea was Colombia's most popular tele novela, pulling in three million viewers a night. Betty's every move became a national obsession. By 2000 the show was drawing record ratings throughout.
Soon production companies from around the world came calling, snatching up the rights not to rebroadcast the show but faithfully to remake it.
In India, Betty became Jassi, and the show, was an instant smash hit. The rest as they say is history.
But given the tricky history of remakes of foreign shows, how will Betty play in America is anybody's guess. For if All in the Family (Till Death Do Us Part in Britain) was a hit, The Kumars at No. 42, a worldwide phenomenon, was cancelled before it was ever broadcast.