For close to two decades, Sony Entertainment Television has been airing the crime drama CID. The lead actor is Shivaji Satam, who turns 67 today (21 April). CID was first telecast in 1998, when Satam was already a seasoned actor at 48. Nineteen years later, the serial continues to entertain audiences. In these 19 years, the cast has aged — naturally — but despite so many years of yeoman service, assistant commissioner of police (ACP) Pradyuman has remained an ACP. There has been no promotion for the hard-working officer after solving thousands of crimes! The only surprise is why he hasn't left the force yet.
Jokes apart, ‘ACP Pradyuman’ has become a brand. So, poor Shivaji Satam has to live with it. That does not mean he has never enjoyed higher designations in his career. In films especially, you will find that he has even played top cop on occasion.
Satam made his Hindi film debut back in 1987 with Andhaa Yudh. He then played a doctor in Vijaya Mehta's Pestonjee (1988), starring Naseeruddin Shah and Shabana Azmi. He was first cast as a police officer, an inspector, in the popular 1988 Marathi TV show Ek Shunya Shunya (One Zero Zero). Remarkably, his next TV show came a decade later, in the form of CID.
Three years after Ek Shunya Shunya, Satam was cast as a police officer for the first time on the big screen in the suspense thriller 100 Days (1991). He returned as an inspector in the Nana Patekar-starrer Yeshwant (1997). A year later, he played inspector Hariram in Suniel Shetty’s Vinashak. It was around this time that the makers of CID roped in Satam to play ACP Pradyuman. The show was an instant hit and Satam became a household name.
He also got tagged as a cop. Director N Chandra signed Satam for his film Wajood (1998) and, for the first time, the actor played a police commissioner.
As CID went from strength to strength, Satam was cast in important supporting roles in films likes Vaastav (1999), Sooryavansham (1999), Kurukshetra (2000) and Pukar (2000). In Pukar, he played an armyman, a colonel, for the first time. Now, that was quite an upgrade.
Satam returned as police commissioner in 2004 with Bardaasht and with actor Puneet Issar's directorial debut Garv, in which he played the corrupt police commissioner Yeshwant Pandey. Garv, however, was a box-office disaster and became the last film in which Satam played a policeman.
CID, meanwhile, continued its marathon run on television defying all odds. There were periods when Satam took a break from CID. Reports even suggested that he had quit. The producers did try running it without him for a while, but it was impossible to imagine CID without ACP Pradyuman. The actor had no choice but to recharge his batteries and return to duty. The show aired its thousandth episode on 27 September 2013.
Now a biweekly, CID recently completed 19 years on the small screen. During this time, the channel has witnessed many shows come and go, including a show with Amitabh Bachchan, Yudh, which failed, but CID continues to linger on. It is no longer a show but an addiction. It appears that Satam will have to perform his duty till he is physically incapable of doing so. And he will have to settle for being an ACP, no matter how many more cases he cracks.
On the flip side, how many actors, on the small screen or big, can claim to have enjoyed a 19-year reign? So, take a bow, Shivaji Satam!