Joined: 24 January 2010
My muse was a forensic doctor
C.I.D. has become a cult show on TV and, here is the director-creator B.P.Singh takes us through his journey of crime and punishment...
by Ankita Chaurasia
It's been 16 years and C.I.D. is still going strong...
(Smiles) Yes, it is! The idea came to me when I was working on a
Marathi detective show, Ek Shunya Shunya. I met a forensic doctor, who
could predict the time of death, what the
victim had consumed before the end and could even reveal the victim's identity by playing around in his lab. He was my muse for C.I.D. at a time when there was no such series running on TV, in India or even the West. We even had a real forensic expert on board for the first 10 episodes.
Whom do you credit with the show's phenomenal success?
I think it's destiny that we have been able to sustain audience's interest for so long. Also, my actors despite becoming so popular, have remained grounded and it is their collective energy that has contributed to C.I.D.'s success.
Kids are a huge part of C.I.D.'s fan base. Is that why C.I.D Chhote Heroes came about?
Yes, that's why we've come up with the one-hour special episode
on Fridays. It involves the kids in the story in a way that they feel
that they can contribute to the show. There was a huge demand for a
kiddie special and we have kept the the gory details to a minimum.
Has anyone ever pointed out
discrepancies on the show?
(Laughs) Just the other day, a man walked up to me in the airport and told me that there were many loopholes in the story and sometimes the plot gets too complicated. I appreciate criticism as much as applause. It is nice to know that people notice us enough to point out mistakes in our work.
The C.I.D. Gallantry Awards were a first of its kind. How did the idea develop?
I was moved to tears by the story of a cancer stricken boy who took his exams instead of taking the chemo shots that would have saved his life. He topped the exams, but was dead by the time the results were declared. We started with awarding one such braveheart in every episode. But, then it became quite a task to identify them. This is when the marketing team came up with the Gallantry Awards. We are in the fourth year and are happy to be giving back something to the audience.
How C.I.D. remained No. 1 for 16 years...
We started shooting outdoors using the best possible technlogy. We shot in England, Switzerland, Jodhpur, Kerala, Manali and Delhi, and tried to cover every little bit of the city so that the viewer gets more than just a good story.
Our audience profile has changed. The kids of those who have grown up watching C.I.D. are now watching the show. It is a huge responsibility to cater to such a diverse age group. We have recruited young writers who develop stories that the audience can identify with.
We have roped in young, technically sound directors to keep the episodes fresh.
Initially, the show wasn't meant for kids, but when we realised that they were the ones who are appreciating our shows the most, we decided to alter the content by cutting down the gore and adding comic elements. We keep away from very real stories and instead, try to cash in on the fictional quotient of our show.
Shivaji Satam 'Kids are wary and think I will scold them'
You are synonymous to ACP Pradyuman now. Has it become a part of your identity?
When I prepare for the shoots, I metamorphose into ACP Pradyuman with all his mannerisms and the attached idiosyncrasies. But, the moment the shoot is over, I'm back to being the genial, cordial person that I am. For me, it is very important to switch-off. So, though people address me as ACP Pradyuman, they see a completely different side to me once they get to know me.
Have there been instances when kids have run up to you wanting to talk about the show?
Actually, no, they are wary of me and think that I will scold them. (laughs) I have to tell them that I don't bite and once they get to know me, I'm their ACP uncle.
Did you expect such adulation when you first signed on?
I feel very lucky and blessed to have found the best actors to work with. Even before I came into TV, I was working with seasoned Marathi actors. That helps!
How do you manage to shoot four back-to-back episodes in a week?
Well, now the team is divided into groups and we shoot our scenes separately. Only when we are canning the bureau shots, we gather at the same place. It is physically taxing!
If you had to choose one episode...
It would undoubtedly be the one where the ACP kills his son, when he realizes that he is a threat to the country. It was very emotional episode and brought out the best in every actor. There was also the Guinness Book of World Records winning episode where we shot at a stretch for 111 minutes.
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