Feluda actor ready for more sleuthing

Last Updated 10 June 2018, 17:28 IST

Sharing the lift with Sabyasachi Chakraborty, a towering figure not only for his envious height but also for his body of work, is daunting but as we sit down for a chat during the Bengaluru Bengali film festival in town, the artist, in his deep baritone, puts you at ease with his child-like enthusiasm about ‘Feluda’, Bengal’s most-loved detective.

For the uninitiated, Feluda is the iconic fictional sleuth created by eminent filmmaker, author Satyajit Ray. Sabyasachi portrayed Feluda on both the small and big screens after the legendary Soumitra Chatterjee donned the detective’s hat in two films directed by Ray himself in the 1970s.

Sabyasachi says that like most Bengalis, Feluda is one of his idols and favourite hero from his young age.

As Feluda, the character, completes 50 years, the Satyajit Ray Film Society, Bengaluru, screened a documentary on the famed detective and also held a group discussion. The festival, into its second season, aimed to offer a cultural exchange between Bengaluru and Kolkata. Sabyasachi played the character for the longest time and is still enthused about portraying the role of the sleuth.

The character has in fact assumed cult status and is much loved by children and adults. The fictional private detective is renowned for his remarkable observation, analytical, and introspective qualities, alongside physical attributes bordering on the fantastic.

“Perhaps few other characters in Bengali fiction stir as much feelings in the young and the old alike as Feluda,” Sabyasachi says fondly.

Sabyasachi still believes that Satyajit Ray’s style of etching out Feluda is more powerful than the televised characters as the former had minimal dialogues and was precise thereby being more effective.

Prod him on drawing a comparison between Feluda and the equally famous fictional detective Byomkesh Bakshi, Sabyasachi affirms that the two cannot be compared as Bakshi was a family man who solved crimes that would appeal to adult sensibilities while Feluda was written primarily for children.

He narrates how Satyajit Ray once declined to introduce women into the Feluda series as their inclusion would bring in complex issues making it difficult for children to understand. Sabyasachi says that both these characters drew inspiration from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. However, he is quick to add that fictional detectives like Philip Marlowe, the character created by Raymond Chandler who established the “hard-boiled detective” sub-genre, or Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot, legendary for his intuitive skills, are sleuths in their own right and have their own distinctive and endearing qualities. None can be likened to another, he says.

Will he sign another Feluda film if Ray’s son, renowned filmmaker Sandip Ray, insists? “I will be more than glad to do another film if asked to,” beams the versatile actor who has also done films like Dil Se, Khakee, Parineeta, Te3n and Phantom.

(Published 10 June 2018, 12:15 IST)

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