Feluda – the bhodrolok super detective – gets a makeover in the promo of Addatimes’ upcoming Bengali web-series Feluda. It opens expectedly with Feluda’s young cousin and sidekick Topshe (played by Riddhi Sen), who introduces us to the modern-day private investigator who still smokes Charminar cigarettes, exercises regularly, and is also somewhat of a walking-talking encyclopedia.
The promo gives us a peek into Feluda doing his everyday activities without revealing his face, all narrated by Topshe who wonders how to put up with his cousin — the classic eye roll is seen when one talks about someone they spend a lot of time with.
With the background music in tow with Feluda’s movements, towards the end we are introduced to Pradosh Mitter — a very fit-looking Parambrata Chatterjee pointing his gun at the screen while in a moving car. He has a menacing stare and an expression that is difficult to read.
The promo gives one an eerily familiar feeling — the same anticipation and unpredictability that Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock in Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat’s mini series gives.
Bengali actor Parambrata, best known outside Bengal for his role as Satyuki/Rana in 2012’s Kahaani, is directing the first season of the web-series. Based on Satyajit Ray’s Feluda stories, the first two stories are ‘Sheyal Debota Rohasya‘ and ‘Ghurghutiyar Ghotona‘.
Watch the promo here:
Satyajit Ray’s Feluda first made his first appearance in a Bengali children’s magazine called Sandesh in 1965, under the editorialship of Ray and Subhas Mukhopadhyay. This story was written soon after Ray’s Charulatha was released, about a teenager who wrote about his cousin and his deduction skills in the form of the adventures they embarked on.
Ray even drew the duo for his story, and subsequently published stories of their adventures, bringing in more characters to the fore. Sonar Kella (The Golden Fortress) continues to be the most popular Feluda adventure where they try to solve the mystery of a child who remembers events from his previous life. The story was adapted into a film by Ray himself in 1974.
For Ray, it wasn’t very difficult to find inspiration for creating his Calcutta-based private investigator. Having been fan of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, Ray Bengalicised Watson as Topshe and Feluda himself portrayed as someone who looked up to Sherlock Holmes, the fictional investigator. Ray also dabbled with crime fiction through the Feluda series.
Feluda’s backstory is as intriguing as the stories he’s made to solve. Following the death of his parents when he was 9 years old, Feluda was brought up by his father’s brother (Topshe’s father). He harbours a very close relationship with Topshe and depends on his oratory skills for their adventures. They’re also into Tintin’s adventures.
As the super sleuth living in 21, Rajani Sen Road, Feluda appears to look like just another 27-year-old Bengali man. Except, he’s known for his athletic figure, super analytical skills, the ability to disguise himself with ease, and also walk around with a .32 Colt revolver although he chooses to use his physical strength.
Actors Who Played Feluda In The Past:
With Parambrata as the new Feluda, Ray’s private investigator, much like Superman, has been portrayed by various actors beginning with Soumitra Chatterjee.
Having played Feluda four times, twice under Ray’s director, Soumitra was pegged as the best Feluda out of all the other actors who played the fictional detective. Fit, profound knowledge on a variety of subjects, unbiased, moral, and razor sharp intelligence, it is believed that when Ray wrote Feluda, he had his Charulatha actor in mind. Soumitra himself, 50 years after the film, admitted that he never expected his character to become that popular.
But two movies later (two other movies in the 80s without Ray though), Soumitra bid adieu to the character and had Sabyasachi Chakrabarty step into Feluda’s shoes. Suave and bringing in his own style to Feluda — sporting a perpetual no-nonsense expression, some would argue Sabyasachi was the better Feluda albeit older than what one would expect from the short stories.
Sabyasachi said in many interviews that Feluda is one of his idol and had even egged Ray to direct another Feluda film. But the director vowed never to make another Feluda movie after Santosh Dutta, the actor who played the role of Jatayu in his Sonar Kella, died in 1988.
Sabyasachi approached Ray’s son Sandip, and in 1994, at the age of 38, Sabyasachi played his iconic hero and went on to play Feluda several times until it stopped last year with Double Feluda.
Bengali TV actor Abi Chatterjee, too, had his stint with Feluda, stepping into the detective’s shoes in 2014’s Badshahi Angti. But he’s better known for his portrayal of the other super sleuth Byomkesh Bakshi, having starred in four films focusing on the character.
The web-series is expected to air some time in September. The show can be seen on addatimes.com and on the app for a subscription fee of Rs 50 per month.
Feature Image: News18