Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Solving Crimes and Capturing Hearts: Meet Hrishikesh Pandey, the actor behind Inspector Sachin from C.I.D. (Exclusive Interview)

Interview by – Savio D’Sa

Written and edited by – Robin Bhuyan

Enigmatic Horizon recently had the pleasure of having a conversation with Hrishikesh Pandey, a face that a majority of Indians would be familiar with. He is famous for playing the role of Sachin Deshmukh in the popular and longest running Indian TV show CID. While he is most recognised for his work on CID, he has also played the lead in a number of other popular prime-time TV dramas, including Kohi Apna Sa, Kahani Terrii Merrii, Piya Ka Ghar, Kamini Damini, Porus, etc. In 2022, he also appeared in the thriller film Runway 34 alongside Amitabh Bachchan and Ajay Devgan. Join us as we talk about his adventures through his journey and his thoughts on the entertainment industry.

How did you get into the world of television and acting? Did it happen suddenly or was it a childhood dream?

It wasn’t a childhood aspiration, especially because we came from an army background. Academics were always our first priority. We grew up at a time, where the career options were quite limited to towards professions like medicine, engineering, or law. However, when I was in school, I did get encouraging and positive comments about my looks, and to try my luck in the world of entertainment. So, the thought of coming to Mumbai eventually began to take root in my thoughts.  

Could you tell us about how you got involved in the TV show CID?

C.I.D. materialized due to my prior collaboration with BP Singh, our esteemed producer and director. I had been a part of a few productions before, such as Special Bureau, and had even made an appearance in another police-centric series called Saakshi. Then, one day, I received a call from BP Singh himself. He asked me if I’d consider joining the cast of ‘C.I.D.’ as he was planning to introduce additional police officers to the show. I gave an enthusiastic affirmation, and the rest is history!

How did you prepare for your role of Sachin Deshmukh, who is known for his dedication and determination of bringing criminals to justice?

Coming from an army background, discipline was always ingrained in me. However, when I became a part of C.I.D. there was something truly exceptional about it. It didn’t feel like working for someone else; it felt like working for our own family. The ambiance and atmosphere was undeniably wonderful, as the entire cast of the show was like a closely-knit family. We would roam, dine together, share moments, and much more. Even after all these years, our bonds remain strong, and we’ve managed to maintain our relationships.

We all know that CID was not just among the most popular TV serials in India, but also the longest running TV show. Could you share with us some of your memorable moments from the show?

It’s challenging to single out just one story, as there are countless memorable ones. C.I.D. occupies a special place, not only in my heart but also in the hearts of millions of viewers. It’s a show that transcends generations—children, adults, and even grandparents could sit together and enjoy it. The show’s lack of gruesome or vulgar content made it universally appealing. So, the journey and experience were truly remarkable for me.

Another remarkable aspect was the opportunity to meet new people every day. In most other shows, the cast remains constant, and you see the same familiar faces. However, being a cop show, C.I.D. brought in new faces regularly, whether for a day or more. So there was a lot of freshness. We got to travel to different locations, which gave us a lot of excitement.

Is there any episode from the show which is your most favorite?

One memorable episode involved me donning a disguise, only to have my true identity as a cop uncovered by the team. Another personal favorite was the episode where my character grappled with memory loss.

An intriguing aspect unique to CID, which keen viewers might have noticed, was the respectful treatment of female cops and women in general. While male cops in the show never touched female cops or any other females, when I joined the series, they did introduce a romantic angle. Basically, the journey has been a beautiful and enriching experience overall.

The show’s impact was so profound that people often approached us for assistance, not realizing we were actors and not real cops! Such was the depth of love and affection we received from our viewers. Due to its immense popularity, the show was even adapted into several other languages!

Other than Inspector Sachin from CID, which is the most important role that you feel you have played in your TV career?

When I made my entry into television, I played Vishal Gill, a leading role in the show Koi Apna Sa. My character made such an impact that wherever I went, people would shout and greet me as Vishal Gill. The experience was crazy! Another important work in my career is the TV show Porus, where I played a dual role. These are few of the experiences in my career, that I will definitely remember.

You were recently seen in the Hindi film Runway 34. Could you tell us how your journey started and how was your experience working alongside Big B?

Previously I had worked in another film Dhai Akshar Prem Ke, where I had played a cameo role. Runway 34, my second feature film, was a much more significant project for me. My character appears for a significant part of the movie, and I am honored that I was chosen for this role. Previously I had worked with Mr. Bachchan for an ad, but in this film, working with him for so many days together was a truly amazing and lovely feeling. It was also a fan moment for me, as I had always admired the man! It was also wonderful working with Ajay Devgan, who was not just a co-star, but also the director and producer. Working with Boman Irani was also a great experience. I would like to add that watching Mr Bachchan is always a treat. Considering his dedication and hardwork, if we can even put in 10 percent of that, I think we all can go a lot ahead in life. It is admirable that even at this age, despite achieving everything, he is still so active and focused!

Today’s education system doesn’t offer prospects to those who aspire a career in acting and music. What changes do you think are required? What are some of the challenges that you had personally faced?

It is true that the education system provides limited career opportunities. Even for us, the choices were also between becoming a doctor or an engineer or an advocate, like most Indians. People don’t take art seriously and look at it only as hobby. But it is high time that we change our perspectives. In fact, things are improving to a great extent, but we still need to work on this, but there is this belief in society, that one cannot make a living as an artist. By excelling in sports, many people have proven the old perspective as wrong. And so we are definitely seeing a change.  

The entertainment industry has a huge pressure on everyone to be fit and healthy. Since you are doing a fabulous job at this, tell us about how you are managing to stay healthy and fit.

I believe that fitness extends beyond the confines of the gym and structured workouts. While building a fit physique may not require an extensive time commitment, the real challenge lies in its maintenance. So health and fitness has to integrate into one’s lifestyle. It is important to eat right, work out, and be nutritious. It is also important for one to avoid junk food. Whenever I find myself unable to hit the gym, I make an effort to incorporate more walking into my routine. Plus, it is very important to maintain your diet, and by doing so, you can even maintain yourself without working out.

Today, in 2023, we see artificial intelligence playing such a huge role in every industry. Tell us how you feel AI is going to impact the television industry in the future?

Artificial Intelligence has not affected us significantly. But yes, the impact can be dangerous. We’ve witnessed how the introduction of computers transformed workplaces, rendering some traditional jobs obsolete.

It’s true that machines can automate a wide range of tasks and even simulate human capabilities. This can include creating digital replicas. But we should still remember that the original is always original, and it is something that AI can never truly replicate. There is nothing much we can do about AI right now, however. Let’s just wait and watch!!

Are there any projects that you are looking forward to or excited about? Something that you would like to share with us?

I just finished shooting for a show called Bekaboo, where I am playing a negative role. Soon, I am starting another project for Star. Usually, I go with the flow. I am waiting for projects that excite me. The length of the role is not what matters to me. I like to make sure that I am doing justice to my character.

Thank you so much for joining us! We wish you all the very best in your future and loads of success!

It was a great pleasure talking to Enigmatic Horizon! Thank you so much!  

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