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FOR THE RECORD
Popular detective series C.I.D. gets into the Limca Book of Records and attempts to enter the Guiness Book of World Records for its record-breaking single shot episode
He's all set to enter the Guiness Book of World Records for canning an 111 minute episode of CID in one single shot. A feat which director B P Singh feels every "Indian should be proud of because no one has achieved this before."
So far, a documentary called Russian Arch which is about a museum has been shot continuously for 88 minutes. This is the first time that anyone on television has attempted such a record-breaking feat. More than a decade ago, in 1987, Singh had shot an episode of his Marathi detective series Ek Shunya Shunya in a single take of 22 minutes.
But it was only two years back that the director approached the Guiness Book of World Records to enter his unusual Ek Shunya Shunya episode. However, he was told that he would have to shoot an episode for over 25 minutes to get into the book. That set him thinking. "Instead of 25 minutes I thought I should go in for a longer shot something which has never been attempted by anyone before not only in India but in the world. I got to know about the 88 minute documentary and decided to beat that." The question was how and when he would be able to achieve the feat.
This year CID is entering the seventh year and Singh thought it would be the best time to do something drastic for the detective series to pep it up. The whole of last year was spent in exploring various ways of attempting it. This year he spoke to Tarun Katial, VP, programming and response, Sony, about his innovative idea. To Singh's pleasant surprise, he found that Katial was more than game for it. "I warned him that if I shoot a 120 minute episode in one take it has to be telecast in the same way i.e without commercial breaks," informs Singh. He was delighted when Tarun agreed to go along with his "crazy idea."
That provided the much-needed boost to Singh who didn't wait a minute to achieve his dream. He started scouting for a location that would fulfill his criteria. The bungalow had to be huge because the camera has to capture the entire action happening in different places at one go. His search ended in Lonavala and for six months, Singh along with his technical team visited the place and worked out a script. Since there was no precedence of such an episode, it was challenging to write a script without cuts. "It had to have all the ingredients of suspense, flashback and flashforward. There was no scope for the camera to cut and dissolve and nothing that could be hidden from it," confesses Singh. Sensing the daunting task he had set for himself, the director known for his horror serials, organised a pooja at the location before even narrating the story to his actors. "It augured a good beginning. The fact that everyone was present gave me the confidence that we could do it," smiles the director. Such was the enthusiasm for the record-breaking episode that Raj Zutsi and Kay Kay agreed to be a part of it without even hearing the story, leave alone the role.
Having got his story and cast in place, he decided to shoot in August. At that time helicopters were also a part of the shoot, for which they had obtained the requisite permission. "Unfortunately it rained incessantly for 10 days, as a result of which we had to cancel the shoot. We wouldn't have been able to get the appropriate lighting," laments Singh. The shooting was rescheduled to October and the first 10 days of the month were blocked. This time however, they had to shoot without the choppers because, "the State went to the polls and permission was denied." Sans the helicopters, the cast and crew rehearsed the episode from October 1 - 6, and finally on the 8th evening they decided to go for the final take.
The shooting began at 6.30 pm, in time to capture the "magic hour lighting" which Singh wanted. "We chose 8th because if we goofed we could shoot again the next day." But Singh needn't have worried. Amazingly, everyone got it right in the first go itself. All the actors had perfected their lines and the operative cameraman Nitin Rao was raring to go. Singh, who otherwise captures all the scenes in the lens, had for this special one, decided to hand over the camera to another person, "because it's not possible for me to carry a a steadycam weighing 27 kgs for two hours." So, Rao who is one of the busiest cinematogrpahers in the industry was booked two months prior to the shoot.
Titled The Inheritance, this longest-ever shot episode is about a hotelier who comes down from South Africa to wind up his business and sort out his inheritance. All his relatives gather at the hotel in the hope of getting a share of his property. A murder takes place amidst them and the owner summons the CID. Just when the CID team thinks it has tracked the killer, two more murders are committed, this time in the presence of the CID thus intensifying the suspense.
This unique episode is to be aired on Sunday, November 7 at 8.00 pm. Generally, CID is telecast every Friday at 10.00 pm. Shot continuously for 111 minutes this is a unique attempt and understandably has been given a special slot. Starring in Singh's innovative experiment are Avinash Wadhwan and Krutika Desai among others.
Edited by prabhanarayan - 10 February 2010 at 12:30am