Byomkesh Bakshi (Old Doordarshan TV Serial)
This television serial was aired by Doordarshan for the first time in 1993. The time when there was not the bouquet of TV channels that is seen today. Quality and quantity of entertainment in those days were limited to Doordarshan the main carrier and state owned channel of the country. Byomkesh Bakshi came with a whiff of a complete family entertainment that had a strong aroma of intrigue, thrill and what next expectation in it. A suspense laden package that compelled the entire family to sit together and participate in the detective deducing and solving the cases of intrigue. The original story was penned by an eminent Bengalese writer Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay. Conceptualizing and converting into a digital or film reel for the television channel was taken on by another person of eminence, Mr. Basu Chatterjee.
Creative crew and other technical details
Original Story by
Other Script writers
Mriganka Sekhar Ray
No. of Seasons
No. of Episodes
1993 – 1997
The birth and life of Byomkesh
The original stories had been written by Sharadindu Bandopadhyay in the years 1932 to 1970. The first time Byomkesh appeared in print was in 1932. Written in classical Bengali style with a gripping taste to it. From the very first story, the author had established the noir mood in the readers mind through his written style. While there was violence in the narrative as well as other devious forms of the criminal human mind, there was a fair presence of humor too. The author had used the character of Ajit, to narrate the story of detective Byomkesh whom he chances across in life and then follows on in the various adventures. The author also took care to age Byomkesh and Ajit in the succeeding stories that he continued to write as sequels till 1970. Sharadindu Bandopadhyay wrote in all 32 stories on this line, he was unable to complete the 33rd story due his demise.
Sharadindu Bandopadhyay had completed 10 stories with his character hero Byomkesh when he decided that it would be the end of this set of stories. In that story the author had the hero of his story married off and that spelt the end of the characters career as a detective. Famous fictional detectives the world over, have always remained bachelors, and this is the general perception held. Sharadindu Bandopadhyay went off to Bombay, today’s Mumbai to write for Bombay Talkie’s production, with Himanshu Roy. But fate had its own script written on a different page. Visiting Kolkata for some personal work, Sharadindu Bandopadhyay noted the demand of the Bengali reader had for his Byomkesh stories. He re-started the Byomkesh story line again with a break of 16 years and then never stopped till he breathed his last. Just a year before the author was able to write the last of the Byomkesh story; he had expressed his worry about the extended life that his character was living even at the advanced ages.
Byomkesh the Bengali detective personifies himself as Satyanweshi, which translates into being someone who is a truth seeker. The truth is what he deduces and not necessarily that which the legal system would rather have him adhere to. The perpetuator of evil, in his eyes, was meant to be detected and brought to task in the same manner that the evil doer was harming the innocent victims. The cases in many of the stories / episodes were such, where the villain was known, but evidence was absent to bring the criminal to justice. This is where the stories of Byomkesh differed from other detective stories such as Holmes and Hercules Poirot. Translating each story into one episode was what Basu Chatterjee did. Two stories were the only deviations which had been covered under two episodes.
Rajit Kapur was selected and accepted to play the role of Byomkesh Bakshi. The actor by then had already gained fame as a National Award winner for acting. Yet the effect that his TV serial had on his acting career is something that even he had not been to fathom. The tea and smoke addict, a picture which most Bengali’s in that period of time adhered to, his lean figure added real time substance to the Bengali reader’s who had read the original story by Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay. The role of Ajit was taken on by KK Raina and the other cast of the various serials were all perfect for their depiction. Some of the main roles played by actors are:-
Byomkesh Bakshi (34 episodes, 1993-1997)
Ajit (27 episodes, 1993-1997)
Punti Ram (17 episodes, 1993-1997)
Satyavati (15 episodes, 1993-1997)
Some interesting snippets
Rajit mentions about how the shooting did not take place episode wise but rather as a full length film.
The shooting location was also taken on one at a time. All shooting for a particular location used to be completed and only then the crew used to move to a new location.
As short parts of multiple stories were being shot at one single location, it entailed actors changing costumes frequently.
It was only at the final editing table that the episodes were grouped and formed as one.