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Satyajit Ray's Feluda is back again

By Indrani Roy Mitra
Last updated on: May 02, 2005 17:46 IST
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Like father like son, goes the adage. But Sandip Ray has big boots to fill. His father was the legendary filmmaker and Bengali author Satyajit Ray, who would have been 84 on Monday, May 2.

Having wowed all with his first Feluda (Satyajit Ray's creation, the suave sleuth who is the Bengali kid's Sherlock Holmes, also known as Prodosh Chandra Mitter) film, Bombaiyer Bombete, Sandip is about to make a sequel.

Has the commercial success of the film (Bombaiyer Bombete ran for more than 20 weeks at a south Kolkata cinema after a December 2003 release and forced a rerun) inspired him?

Sandip cites a different reason. "This year-end marks the 40th anniversary of the first Feluda story, Feludar Goyendagiri, published in (Bengali children's magazine) Sandesh. What better way to celebrate that than making a film on one of Feluda's investigations?" he asks.

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Sandip has picked Tintorettor Jishu, one of the later Feluda adventures, for his new film. It revolves around a priceless painting by Renaissance artist Tintoretto being targeted by an international smuggling racket.

Sandip promises to stick to the old trio Sabyasachi Chakraborty (Feluda), Parambrata Chatterjee (Feluda's cousin and Dr Watson Topshe) and Bibhu Bhattacharya (Feluda's friend Jatayu, aka Lalmohan Ganguly).

"The Bengali audience," says Sandip, "has accepted Sabyasachi as the new Feluda as opposed to his predecessor, the veteran Soumitra Chatterjee."

In an earlier interview, the filmmaker had said he has intentionally made the new Feluda a little more macho by making him wear a contemporary hat.

What made him choose Tintoretto?

"Like Bombete, it was the climax that beckoned me," Sandip says. "The film is likely to start (shooting) by December, and will travel to many places of India and even Hong Kong."

Will Barsha Banshal, daughter of R D Banshal and producer of Nishijapan, another of Sandip's recent films, foot the bill?

Barsha is positive. "If everything goes well, we will love to be associated with such a project," she says.

Feluda fans could not have asked for more. "Those who lamented the death of Feluda after (Satyajit) Ray's demise can now sleep easy," says Amritanshu Datta, who swears by the Charminar-smoking detective. "I can't thank him (Ray junior) enough. As and when he gets respite from his stint behind the camera, he should think of recreating the character (Feluda) in print as well."

Sandip refuses to commit himself to that, at least for the time being. "I have been toying with the idea of recreating the Feluda series in print as well but have not got the time. Though I can't promise anything now, I do hope to bring Prodosh Chandra Mitter back to life in the near future."

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Indrani Roy Mitra