Feluda turns 50

Sandip Ray has filmed two more stories on the adventures of the sleuth, written by Satyajit Ray, to celebrate the occasion.

Published - October 13, 2016 04:25 pm IST

The late Satyajit Ray during the shooting of a Feluda story with Soumitra Chatterjee (who played Feluda) and Santosh Dutta (in the role of Jatayu).

The late Satyajit Ray during the shooting of a Feluda story with Soumitra Chatterjee (who played Feluda) and Santosh Dutta (in the role of Jatayu).

The suave sleuth Pradosh Mitra (Feluda), created by the late filmmaker Satyajit Ray, turns 50 this October. The Feluda stories were written for the Sandesh magazine. To celebrate the occasion, Satyajit’s son, Sandip Ray, has taken up two of the detective stories, ‘Somaddarer Chabi’ and ‘Golakdham Rahasya’ for the big screen.

Says the director, “It will be a two-in-one presentation. Although, the two stories have been filmed separately, one tale will be screened before the interval and the other after it.” The films, whose post-production work is going on, are likely to be released in November.

Although Feluda was inspired by Sherlock Holmes, he is contemporary and truly Indian. He is knowledgeable, well read and has a ready wit tinged by sarcasm. If Sherlock has a good friend and associate in Dr. Watson, Feluda’s assistant is Tapshe, his nephew, a teenager. And like Sherlock, Feluda is a bachelor.

Byomkesh Bakshi, a detective created by Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay, is an illustrious counterpart of Feluda but they have only one thing in common, their quest for truth.

Sandip Ray says, “Feluda is not only popular among Bengalis, but also among literature lovers of other languages too. Feluda depends on his brain to solve difficult criminal cases and like Byomkesh he never loses. For the latest two Feluda films, I opted for Sabyasachi Chakraborty. He played Feluda with success in ‘Bombaier Bombete,’ and ‘Royal Bengal Rahasya’.”

Though Abir Chatterjee was well received by viewers as Feluda in ‘Badsahi Angti,’ Sandip Roy decided to drop him this time.

Explains Ray, “Abir Chatterjee is a good and tested actor. Since he is playing Byomkesh Bakshi, it may confuse the audience. That is why I opted for Sabyasachi Chakraborty who is established as Feluda in viewers’ minds.”

Satyajit Ray directed two successful Feluda films, ‘Sonar Kella’ and ‘Joy Baba Felunath’ in the mid-1970s. The actor who starred in them, Soumitra Chatterjee, says, “Being directed by Ray as Feluda is an experience I cherish. For the first time I played a private detective, who investigates cases with rationality. Never is Feluda larger than life. So people identify with him easily.”

Satyajit Ray never intended Feluda to be either an Indian version of James Bond or Perry Mason. His vision of Feluda was that of an urban, educated, middle class Bengali. When Sandip Ray experimented with the Feluda series for Doordarshan in Hindi it did not yield the desired results and Shashi Kapoor was a miscast as Feluda.

In his films, Sandip Ray has made Feluda modern to suit current tastes. But this has not diminished his charm. Sabyasachi Chakraborty says, “I am honoured to be back as Feluda on the big screen. All my earlier Feluda starrers were directed by Sandip Ray. We worked really well together.”

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