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Doordarshan nostalgia: Byomkesh Bakshi

I was watching the second run of Karamchand on Sony a few weeks back, and started wondering about the other detective serials that we see. There is the strange CID, but my memories went back to that serial from long ago, Byomkesh Bakshi. It brought back a lot of nostalgia. The year was 1993, and satellite channels were just picking up. Doordarshan was still watched by a number of people, and here comes this non-flashy detective serial, starring Rajit Kapur. The director was Basu Chaterjee, which was another plus point about the serial.
The series was based on a detective created in 1932, by the Bengali author Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay. The detective was picturized in a film (Chiriyakhana or The Zoo) by Satyajit Ray, starring Uttam Kumar in 1967, and the movie is typically known as one of Satyajit Ray’s not so better movies. And then came this series, and the series was what made the character of Byomkesh Bakshi famous.

The series is based on the character of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but not completely. The character has his own life and peculiarities, and is based in the social system of the time. The character like Sherlock does not work in the police, but otherwise does not make money from this hobby; he is not an expert in things such as footprints, cigar ash, finger prints, is not addicted to nicotine. He is however an expert thinker, keenly aware of things going on in an case and capable of doing the analytical analysis necessary for resolving a case.
The interesting thing about the series was the setting of Bengal of that time, where you don’t have too many modern scientific DNA and other analysis, just the razor sharp thinking and quick analysis; and I really cottoned onto Rajit Kapur’s acting (I also liked his role in the Aamir starred Ghulam), he played the part with perfection, and it is a shame that he is not seen more often in movies and TV (instead restricting himself to the stage).
So what was the series all about? Well, like a detective series, it was all about going-on’s where the police was unable to resolve things, and Byomkesh declares himself to have the noble profession of being a truth seeker. Byomkesh meets his lifelong friend Ajit in one of the episodes, and they start sharing a flat. They get many leads from the newspaper, including from the ads. In one of the episodes, Byomkesh meets the woman who goes onto to become his wife.
Episodes of the serial can be watched at this website, or at YouTube.

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