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HindustanTimes Mon,24 Nov 2014
Chasing criminals, cracking cases
Shreya Sethuraman
July 27, 2012
First Published: 18:56 IST(27/7/2012)
Last Updated: 17:57 IST(28/7/2012)

A couple is having dinner at an upscale restaurant and talking about their impending wedding. After sipping the wine, the guy falls to the ground, and the girl shrieks in shock and horror. A nearby diner makes a call, “Hello, CID?”
 
That is pretty much how every episode of CID begins. On air for the last 15 years on Sony, the show has acquired a dedicated following, with fan clubs on Facebook and numerous Twitter handles. And now, it looks like the show will be made into a film. Producer BP Singh, the man behind the series, who also plays a character, DCP Chitrole, says, “The plan to make CID into a film has been on for the last four years, and now we have a budget for it.”
 
But what is it about the show that despite the simple, sometimes ludicrous plots, its popularity never flags?  How did the ‘team’ come together?

ACP Pradyuman, and senior inspectors Abhijeet and Daya, the pivotal characters of the series, have been with the show since it began, and have become household names by now. Marathi theatre veteran Shivaji Satam who plays ACP Pradyuman, the boss of the team, had worked with Singh on many projects.

CID
 
Prominent among these was the Marathi crime show Ek Shunya Shunya, which was popular in the late ’80s. “Having worked with BP on so many projects, I had to be part of CID,” says Satam. Aditya Srivastava, or senior inspector Abhijeet, though introduced in the show as a criminal, was later absorbed into the CID team. “I had agreed to only 26 episodes. In 1998, I was also doing some films, but BP sir gave me the flexibility to come and go as I felt like. But I began to enjoy the role of Abhijeet, and so stayed on,” says Srivastava. Singh wanted Srivastava to be part of his team after seeing his work in Ram Gopal Varma’s Satya.

Dayanand Shetty (Daya) was spotted by Sanjay Shetty, a member of the CID production team, in a community play, in which Daya was adjudged best actor. So impressed was Singh with Shetty that he finalised him five minutes into the audition! Loved by children for his habit of breaking doors, Shetty says, “None of us thought the show would run for so long. We had enough episodes to last for around two years, but slowly our popularity began to rise, and we kept doing more and more episodes.” This tall, strapping man, who also featured in last year’s dance reality show Jhalak Dikkhla Jaa, says that “our show is such that four generations can watch it together.”

But how exactly did Singh conceptualise the show? Following the success of Ek Shunya Shunya, based on real crimes and a great deal of coordination with the police, Singh wanted to expand the scope of the genre. “Many real-life cases are sub judice and there are other complications. Fiction gives us more freedom,” he says. The pilot episodes of CID (made in the early ’90s) featured actual forensic doctors. It was while working closely with them that Singh got attracted to the science and decided to create the forensic science department in the show, headed by the entertaining Dr Salunkhe (played by Narendra Gupta of the violently dyed hair).

Not starry-eyed
The CID team is aware of the adulation that viewers have for them, but refuse to be swayed by it. Neither Srivastava, nor Shetty are Web-savvy and don’t know about the various fan clubs on Facebook. However, they are naturally pretty happy about it. For Shetty, “ignorance is bliss. I think it’s good that I’m away from the online stuff,” while the reticent Srivastava says, “I don’t think a lot about this.”
 
However, Satam is active on Facebook and Twitter and tries to keep track of online activities. Even after playing the same character for 15 years, Satam says he isn’t bored or exhausted. “Our show will run till God becomes tired of CID,” he says with a laugh.

Sushant Singh, Gaurav Chopra in Savdhaan India@11

And the cult grows...
There are more than ten Facebook pages on CID; one of them is exclusively devoted to Daya’s slaps (Daya is pretty generous when it comes to slapping criminals on the show). Shetty remains a particular favourite with kids.
 
Remembers Delhi-based student Shantanu Argal, 25, “When I was a kid, I wanted to grow up and be like Daya as he was always this larger-than-life character.”

Seven-year-old Abhay Verma, who studies in Bombay Scottish School, is an ardent follower of the show. “I love detective serials and CID is my favourite. I love Daya because he’s big and strong, and manages things properly,” he says. Adds BP Singh, “We knew early on that kids love our show, which is why we’ve always been careful with the show’s presentation.”

Grown-up fans often find the show amusing but enjoyable. Says Urvashi Singh, a 29-year-old Mumbai-based lawyer, “It’s predictable and the endings are always so stereotypical – the suspect is always getting slapped in the end! It’s quite funny actually. But it’s entertaining.” Her favourite character is Abhijeet as she finds him rather intense.
 
In the show, the CID officers don’t have surnames and there no focus on their personal lives. The show did try to focus briefly on personal plots, which included one where Satam shot his criminal son. “That episode was emotionally draining,” recalls Satam. However, Shetty feels that the prime focus of CID is crime, and personal tracks don’t merit a mention.
 
Among the crew’s most memorable episodes is one that was shot in a single take and lasted 111 minutes! It has found a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.
 
It isn’t that CID has enjoyed a smooth run all these years. As producer BP Singh says, “There were times we thought the show would go off the air.” But it always survived.

While fans wait for the film, expected to go on the floors by the end of 2012, they will have to make do with watching the show, and hearing ACP Pradyuman’s famous lines, “Teen khoon karne ke liye, ab tumhe sirf phaasi hogi, sirf phaasi!”

Other crime shows and their anchors

Anup Soni, Crime Patrol

Anup Soni, Crime Patrol
“The audience connects to the honesty of the show”
Crime Patrol began in 2003 on Sony, but failed to garner good TRPs. However, ever since Anup Soni started hosting Crime Patrol, the show has done well, and features in the top 10 list. Creator-director-writer Subramanian Iyer credits it to the way Soni narrates the plots. “He  talks as if he understands,” says Iyer, who gets his information from national and regional media. Brilliant acting works in favour of the show. “It is honest and makes
people aware,” says Soni.

Sushant Singh, Savdhaan India@11
“We analyse the crime and make viewers aware”
Another ‘gritty’ crime show, Savdhaan India@11 which deals with real-life crimes, airs on Life OK and is hosted by Sushant Singh. Though similar to Crime Patrol, the actors on the show are not as good. However, Singh is an excellent and engaging narrator. “We’re not trying to glorify crime, we analyse it and make viewers aware,” says Singh. At the end of each episode,  viewers are urged to share personal incidents.

Gaurav Chopra, Savdhaan India@11
“People are now open to watching violence on screen”
More than one production house handles Savdhaan India@11, with Gaurav Chopra as the other host of the show. “I do episodes where people from modest backgrounds fight their oppressors,” says Chopra, who still hasn’t left a deep impact on viewers (maybe he tries too hard to please). Chopra also does his own research before each episode. “We should not turn a blind eye to other people’s problems but do our own bit,” he says.

Karan Kundra, Gumrah
“Gumrah explores the psyche behind the reason for a crime”
Hosted by Karan Kundra, Gumrah (Channel V and Star Plus) centres on crimes committed by teenagers. Creative director of the show Vikas Gupta says, “There’s nobody to guide teenagers properly. Gumrah shows viewers teens as they are.” Kundra is an engaging narrator, with a good youth connect. “Gumrah is not a crime reporting show. It explores the psyche behind the reason for committing the crime,” he says.

From HT Brunch, July 29

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