When CID on Sony turned 12, last year, the show announced special awards for bravery. The channel claims to have received 5,800 entries in the last six months.
According to Shivaji Satam, who plays ACP Pradyuman, chief of the bureau, the contest wasn’t publicised much. “But CID has been on for over a decade, despite several programming renovations and minimal publicity. And that’s the reason for the flood of entries,” he reasons, adding that it’s difficult to pick out the bravest of them all.
Danish Khan of Sony agrees that the show has stayed on far longer than anyone expected. “Its slot is unaffected despite all the new YRF TV shows,” Khan points out.
He adds, “We announced the awards on August 15 last year and closed the response cell on October 2. The figures are huge.” He says that in the last couple of months, the channel has been hard at work cross-checking details of the entries sent and finally they have a list of clear winners who will be announced at a gala.
Excerpts from the interview
‘People find us better than the actual police officers’
ACP Pradyuman didn’t become the commissioner in these 12 years.
(Smiles) He didn’t accept the promotion. Jokes apart, I was offered to take on another designation and work as a commissioner or something like that. But I’m so attached to the character that I didn’t feel like taking on another designation. It somehow didn’t go with the role. I felt if I become a commissioner, my job would be more administrative than on the field.
Okay. Did you think, at the outset, that your show would last 12 years?
I never thought that the show would go on for so long. With BP Singh helming the project, I was sure of the quality of the product we were putting out. We had worked on Ek Shunya Shunya together and it was a big hit in Marathi. That’s why I took on CID also. We worked hard on sustaining it. It didn’t come easy. And now, I don’t want to switch to another show. This show and my co-actors are family to me.
Don’t people confuse your team and you for real officers?
Sometimes they do. But often, people know that we are actors. Whenever I interact with common people, I gather that they find us better than the actual police officers. That could be because they find us solving cases faster and more efficiently than the real officers. Our show actually intends to bring out the investigative hardworking side of the police.
Okay, go on.
Our characters are larger-than-life. They deliver lines that normal police officers will never utter. That possibly leaves a strong impact on a viewer’s mind and the real and reel personalities overlap. Now, I’m sure they will all be taken aback because a few episodes later, I will be shown under arrest. I’m just waiting to see the reaction to that.
Didn’t you ever get confused in your head between the real and the reel you?
No, I never did. I’m a trained actor from Marathi theatre. I know that I have to switch off when the camera switches off and my director calls out “Cut”. Every actor has to learn this trait to survive in the long run. If you take your reel-self too seriously, you’ll need medical help. ACP Pradyuman and Shivaji Satam are two very different people and I’m glad I can say that.
But I’ve heard you went through a problem a few years ago?
Yes. This was many years ago when I was doing Marathi theatre. I was doing a play called Dhyani Mani. It ran into 440 shows continuously for three years. It was an emotional psychological play. I was playing a man who hallucinates that he has a child; the child exists for his wife and him but doesn’t really exist in reality. Now that began to take a toll on my health, both physical and mental. My son was as old as the child in the play. It became extremely difficult for me to detach myself from that character.
Didn’t it affect your family?
Of course it did. My wife, kids and the entire family were stressed about this. They didn’t know how to get me out of it. It was crazy because in a TV show, once they say “Cut”, you know you are back to being yourself. But in a play, you are the character for two-three hours on end. And when you do that for two-three years at a stretch, it’s possible that you become the character you’re playing. The play won several awards but the award for my family was my health. It improved, thanks to Mahesh Manjrekar, who was my co-actor and director on the play. He insisted that we do the play only on intervals; we don’t go on with it for too long. That helped me get back my sanity.
Any episode on CID that really touched you?
Though all of them have been really special for me, there was one episode in which ACP Pradyuman’s son is shown to have fallen into bad company and the ACP actually ends up killing his own son. That was a great high point in the show. Soon after, the ACP was shown crying, and then convincing himself to get back to work. That was something that struck a chord with me too.
Do you follow investigative series on the western channels?
Before I answer that, I’d like to tell you that Indian shows could get better and achieve those standards too. As for my liking, I have always enjoyed reading investigative writing and watch investigative shows and films. They have always caught my attention. Old Fox is a favourite.
Other actors who enjoyed long innings
(Tulsi Virani of Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi— 2000-2008)
“The reason I played Tulsi for so long was because the show was a journey in itself. From a young girl to a newly wed bahu to a mother, saas, grandmother and grand-saas, mine was the only character that had such a range.
I never took my character home even though I enjoyed playing her. There was no confusion between my real and reel self. You have to be crazy to believe that your screen persona is you. For me, Kyunki… was fun till it lasted!”
(Parvati Agarwal of Kahani Ghar Ghar Kii— 2000-2008)
“I miss my show. On the last day of the shoot, it struck me that I would not be seeing any of these actors everyday again. A colourful chapter in my life had ended. Still, I’m glad the show came to a logical end.
Parvati bhabhi has become a part of my existence, even now when I’m moving on to another project. But the show has to go on. May be people will love me as much when I’m playing another character.”
(Pari or Rani of Woh Rehnewali Mehlon Ki— 2005-present day)
“I’ve been a part of the show for five years. The pace is easy and I’m allowed to take creative liberties with my character. I ventured outside this show, but couldn’t survive because I’m not used to a hectic working life. In these five years, the name of my character changed from Rani to Pari to Rani again. What didn’t change was the brief.
I’m still a god-fearing, homely girl who’s similar to the real Reena. That’s another reason for staying with this show for so long.”
(Prerna of Kasautii Zindagi Kay— 2000-2008)
“I played Prerna for eight years and never found my work boring because every six months there would be a twist in the plot — a generation leap, introduction of new characters or a makeover. But I never became Prerna; I was always Shweta Tiwari. An actor over the years learns to switch on and off because that’s what keeps you sane.”
Other detective shows on desi TV
Byomkesh Bakshi and Karamchand Jasoos on Doordarshan in the late 1980s and early ’90s pioneered the trend through Rajit Kapoor and Pankaj Kapoor who played the lead roles. Karamchand returned on Sony and vanished just as quickly.
Shekhar Suman, in and as Reporter, investigated murders and political crimes.
The Marathi show Ek Shunya Shunya made Shivaji Satam a household name before Sony’s CID made ACP Pradyuman a popular jasoos.
Saturday Suspense and Woh, Kohra were around for a while but never returned.
Mohandas BA LLB featuring Pankaj Kapur was too cute, specially with wife Supriya Pathak asking him, “Khaana khaaya, susu kiya?”
Bullet, Vakeel Jasoos on DD 2 and Panther on Home TV were in the race too.
A slick show, Private Investigators, was heard about briefly but didn’t show up. Tehkikaat made Vijay Anand TV’s most popular elderly investigators during its reign.
Yeh Hai Raaz was watchable.
Parmeet Sethi’s stint as DON (Detective Omkar Nath) generated a lukewarm response on Star One.
Mr And Mrs Mishra on Sahara One ended in less than two months.