Turns out the kids in Derry, Maine weren’t the only ones who needed to fear Pennywise’s grease paint and fangs, as his scaly claws apparently had the ability to reach out from deep in the gutter to far across the sea…
Stephen King is no stranger to having his work adapted. In fact, almost every single one of his novels and short stories have found their way to the big and small screen in some form or another. A handful of these adaptations could be considered what you might call “unique”: Carrie, King’s debut novel and in some ways his most popular release, has been brought to both theaters and television no less than three times, not including unrelated sequels.
Other interesting adaptations include The Lawnmower Man, a film that has absolutely nothing in common with the work from which it got its namesake (so much so that King would later sue New Line Cinema to have all instances of his own name removed from the final product).
But perhaps one of the most interesting adaptations of Stephen King’s work is Woh, an Indian television series from 1998 which was based on the American television miniseries It from 1990!
The major beats of Woh are almost identical to the American series. The titular character — a red-balloon toting, child-murdering monster disguised as a clown – is eventually bested by a group of seven teens who all vow to return should Woh ever return. Years later, when the balloons start popping up and kids start going missing again, the group of old friends reconvenes, intent on destroying Woh once and for all. Much like the American series, several members of the group fall victim to Woh’s shape-shifting and mind tricks, but by the end, the remaining survivors defeat the evil force.
That’s sort of where the incidental similarities end, however. The Indian series didn’t feel the need to marry itself to the source material. In fact, it took a lot of creative liberties, including giving Woh a mother. Near the end of the series, she provides the group with Woh’s backstory and motivations: apparently, he was a short man who found it hard to get along in society, and so he decided to commit suicide and became an evil spirit in the process. Another difference is how the group eventually defeats Woh: they sort of work with him to help him attain “salvation” so that he’ll stop being such a scary creepy clown.
Despite running for a whopping 52 episodes, Woh never caught on. Indian audiences were unfamiliar with the original American series (and King’s novel, for that matter), and found the material a little too niche for their tastes. Because of this, the show was not a success and only ran for one (albeit, long) season.
If you’re interested in checking the show out the complete series is currently up on Youtube, but there’s a little catch: it’s entirely in Hindi and there aren’t any subtitles. However, don’t let that dissuade you from at least checking out the opening credits. They’re perfectly creepy – not to mention oh so wonderfully ’90s.