Legendary filmmaker Satyajit Ray‘s 101st birth anniversary, on Monday, also marked the 51st anniversary of his iconic detective character, Feluda. Filmmaker Srijit Mukherji took the opportunity to announce his upcoming series Feludar Goyendagiri.
Starring Tota Roy Chowdhury as the private eye, the series, set in Darjeeling, begins with Darjeeling Jawmjawmat. It also features Anirban Chakraborty as Lal Mohan Ganguly (Jatayu), a writer of thrillers, and Kalpan Mitra as Tapesh Ranjan Mitter (Topshe), Feluda’s assistant.
Pradosh Chandra Mitter, popularly known as Feluda, is a fictional private detective, who has appeared in a series of Bengali novels and short stories written by Ray. The character first appeared in a Bengali children’s magazine called Sandesh in 1965. Feludar Goyendagiri is the first adventure among the 35 novels in the Feluda series.
Mukherji, who began reading the books as a child, said that he had always wanted to make a Feluda film. “Feluda is an emotion for every Bengali. It has been an integral part of our culture and it has always made me happy to see Feluda returning in a new format over the decades,” he added.
While several films, web series and television serials on Feluda have been made over the years by various filmmakers, Mukherji tells Silverscreen India that with every new director, their own perspectives influence the work, consciously or subconsciously. Likewise, in the case of his upcoming series, Mukherji says he has tried to bring forth his personal understanding of Feluda.
“It is my thought process, my understanding, my aesthetics, my framing, my passion and my sense of storytelling that will make this version of Feluda unique. The biggest thing for me is that I am able to bring forth the version of Feluda that I have grown up with, to the screen. I am the happiest when working on Feluda.”
About Chowdhury’s casting as the detective, Mukherji says he had attended the premiere of a Feluda film that featured the actor in a supporting role, 12 years earlier. The filmmaker felt “there was Feluda written all over his face.” Mukherji, who was a budding music director at the time, had walked up to Chowdhury and told him that if he ever got to make a film on Feluda, he would cast him as the detective.
“If you have grown up read Feluda as intensively as I have, those sketches are imprinted on your sight, and the moment you see someone actually walk out of those pages, you know that is the guy, that this is the face you were looking for all this time,” says Mukherji.
The filmmaker adds, “It is as though Tota was born in the same muhurat as Feluda. His style of talking, walking, his looks, sense of humour, the perfectly restrained teasing of Jatayu, his entire personality… it was as though he was born to play Feluda.”
“At the same time, to become Feluda, merely the physical appearance is not enough, one needs to have the character within themselves,” Mukherji continues. “Feluda is a somebody that one can depend on, one can find comfort with when they’re in trouble. That trust is Feluda; living life without any evil is Feluda. The way Tota is such a straight-forward gentleman but also very uncompromising at the same time, that represents Feluda very well.”
The series will premiere on the Bengali streaming platform Hoichoi in July.