Busting 'powder' crime

New Show
Last Updated 23 January 2010, 10:59 IST

It’s been quite some time since Indian television viewers were treated to a good crime serial. If Karamchand sent a cold chill down our spine in the 80s, it was CID in the 90s. Unfortunately, in the new millennium there has not been a single crime serial worth remembering. Though CID completed a decade few years back and is still running strong, the freshness factor is missing and the others being broadcast these days are nowhere close to the popularity of the show on Sony television.

This, in a way, is surprising because well-made crime thrillers are a runaway success in most cases and one of the safest bets in the television industry. In such a scenario, Yash Raj Films (YRF) coming up with a crime thriller on Sony is a welcome move. Though YRF has been associated mostly with love stories and dream sequences in Switzerland, they seem to be doing a good job with crime thrillers as well! At least, the first few episodes of Powder and the audience reaction to the show seem to suggest that.
The story of Powder is about the narcotics trade in the commercial capital of India – Mumbai – and two men on different sides of the law. There is a Narcotics Control Bureau officer who grew up in the slums where narcotics trade flourished, and yet he decided to become a good guy; and there are his friends with whom he grew up, who are now on the wrong side of law.

As expected, the two cross paths and what follows is high voltage drama. Sounds familiar? Well, the storyline has nothing new to offer — it explores the same human emotions – greed, loyalty, power, friendship, passion, love and betrayal. But where Powder scores is the high production values and the effective handling of the story.
Explains Rahul Bagga, the actor who plays Mahendra Ranade, the narcotics officer in Powder, “I am portraying a very interesting character in the show. I had to work hard to prepare for the role,”

He adds, “Since NCB officers are expected to work almost like undercover agents and be like any other civilian. I had to observe many of them to understand their mannerisms. Part of my research also involved learning about the Bureau and how they function. Overall, it was a fantastic experience.”

Another interesting aspect of Bagga’s role is the fact that Mahendra Ranade does not like women officers in the bureau. “It is not that Ranade hates women, it is just that he feels there are certain jobs women are not capable of doing. Law enforcement being one of them,” says the actor who hails from Delhi and comes with a theatre background.
But that is precisely what Brinda Sawheny, Intelligence Officer from the Narcotics Control Bureau does. And that is where the fights between them start. In a profession dominated by male officers, Brinda is the only lady officer in the NCB. Though she is shunted to a desk job because of the lack of faith, officers like Ranade have in women, without telling anyone she goes on to supervise dangerous spots and tails some drug dealers on her own.

The interesting character, played by newcomer Geetika Tyagi, has already become quite popular amongst different types of viewers. “This is my first show on television and I am quite lucky to get this break. Brinda is an author backed role and very carefully created,” says the pretty actress.

She adds, “I had to do a lot of homework too. Apart from attending a workshop for the show, I met lady police officers and spent days with them to understand how they work, how they behave and how they handle situations. It has really helped me immensely to live up to the expectations of the makers.”

Geetika hails from Delhi and has a background in theatre, just like Bagga. She has done plays with theatre legends like Mahabano Modi Kotwal, Paresh Rawal and Sunil Shanbaag. She was also seen as the main lead in an award winning short film – Midnight Lost and Found.

Both the actors agree that what separates Powder from any other serial is the treatment being meted out by Yash Raj Films. “I had heard a lot about YRF from colleagues and industry insiders. Now, I know why they are ahead of everyone else. The way they treat all of us is truly exemplary. Powder is being treated just like a film and not like a television serial because of which it is and will scale newer heights with every episode,” says a proud and elated Geetika who worked as a reporter and anchor before moving to acting.

The shooting for the serial has mostly been done in authentic locales in and around Mumbai to render it a realistic look. Adds Bagga, “We have shot in the lanes and bylanes of notorious areas in Mumbai including those in Dongri, Darukhana, Cotton Green, Lakda Bazaar and Rheay Road. We have even shot in Chamba and Dubai for Powder. I am not sure how many producers would go to this extent to shoot for a serial.”
‘Powder’ is being telecast on Sony every Sunday at 9 pm.

(Published 23 January 2010, 10:59 IST)

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