From Sonar Kella (1974) to Chhinomostar Obhishap (2020), Feluda on screen has come a long way. Anshula revisits her favourite Feluda films, the iconic detective created by Satyajit Ray. Ray himself made two films on the series.
My journey with our sweet, brave and courageous Feluda started with the first film of Feluda, written and directed by Satyajit Ray – Sonar Kella (1974). The first time when I watched it I was totally fascinated by Feluda’s investigative powers.
The things which impressed me the most about Feluda in my first watch was that he is a thinking detective. He always thinks first and then takes a step or any type of action. Also Lal Mohan Ganguly or Jatayu (Santosh Dutta) who is a close aide of Feluda and provides a comic relief in the adventure also made a nice place for himself in my heart. He is funny with his Bengali and Hindi mixed language and silly questions that irritate and also amuse Feluda.
The best thing about Lal Mohan Babu is his comedy. In Sonar Kella, while they are moving through sandy expanse towards the station in the car, Lal Mohan Babu is dying to ask questions but Feluda has asked him to keep quiet. Unable to keep silent he asks Feluda “Unteder khaddo ki?” (What do camels eat?) Feluda replies, “Khoob shombhoboto kaanta jhop.” (Most probably cactus.) Lal Mohan Babu promptly asks, “Kaanta ki tara bechhe khae?” (Do they first pull out the thorns and then eat?) Obviously, Lal Mohan Babu is referring to the way Bengalis eat fish. Feluda with a very irritated look says, “No.”
But the one person whom I like most is Topshe and his brilliant observation and thinking. His presence of mind is like a real assistant of a professional detective.
So as my journey with Feluda, Topshe and Lal Mohan Babu began I started to watch all films of Feluda which had been released or which were reachable to me. Like Sonar Kella, Joy Baba Felunath, Badshahi Angti, Gosaipur Sangram, Joto Kando Kathmandute, etc.
In this journey after Sonar Kella came Joy Baba Felunath (1979). In it what touched my heart was Topshe’s observation quality when the three of them went to the villain Maganlal Meghraj’s place. None other than Topshe notices that Meghraj had a gunman sit in the attic of the room with his gun pointing towards Feluda.
When the gunman fires, Topshe, being ready from the beginning, jumps up and saves Feluda from being shot. This act or alertness and courage of Topshe touched me a lot.
After that it is Lal Mohan Babu’s turn to show his courage. He is put through a very difficult test. He is made to stand in front of large board and face a knife thrower who keeps throwing big, sharp knives at him to show his skills. The knives get stuck all around him. They can either miss him or hurt him and kill him because the knife thrower is very old and shaking badly. But Lal Mohan Babu does not run away. Anyone else in his place would have fallen on his knees and begged mercy. By putting his life in grave danger he proves his courage and faith in Feluda. In the end Feluda takes revenge for what was done to his friend.
In both these films, Soumitra Chatterjee played Feluda.
The next Feluda movie I watched was Badshahi Angti (2014) — this is the first adventure of Feluda written by Satyajit Ray. What I really liked was Feluda’s Churni Krito Bramhastro (which means powderised missile, and is actually a box of red chilli powder). This missile comes into use near the end when Feluda and Topshe are trapped by Bono Bihari Babu and his aide Ganesh Guho.
Ganesh Guho lets loose their pet rattlesnake on Feluda and Topshe. As Bono Bihari and Guho are about to move out, Feluda asks Topshe to cover his face and throws his Churni Krito Bramhastro which blinds the two villains, makes them cough and fall down the stairs. You don’t always need pistols to defeat the enemy.
Abir Chatterjee plays Feluda in Badshahi Angti. I can’t remember how many times I have watched this film.
Next I watched Gosaipur Sangram with Sabyasachi Chakraborty as Feluda and Saswata Chatterjee as Topshe. This film once again attracted my attention towards Feluda and his adventures.
In this film I loved our Lal Mohan Babu’s comedy and Topshe’s alertness and observations. What I liked most was the way Feluda solved the mystery of the hidden treasure and the revelation of the real identity of Atta Ram Bapu. Feluda also healed the broken relationship of the father and son again. It really touched my heart. But Santosh Dutta’s performance of Lal Mohan Ganguly in the two films by Satyajit Ray is unbeatable.
Then it was Golapi Mukta Rahasya where the villain Maganlal Meghraj of Joy Baba Felunath returns. Here Feluda himself jumped into the mystery to teach Meghraj a lesson and help a man get back his pearl from Meghraj which was forcibly taken away from him. Mohan Agashe played Maganlal Meghraj in this film although I prefer Utpal Dutt’s performance as Meghraj in Joy Baba Felunath.
Feluda investigates the case with the help of Topshe and his brilliant alertness. And Lal Mohan Babu with his unique ideas. All these things made me think and even feel like I myself was a character in the story.
After that I watched the latest Feluda series released in 2020 — Chinnomastar Obhishap.
Here our Feluda (played by Tota Roy Chowdury) solves a mystery left behind by a man on his deathbed. This old man plays with words and believes that he had been cursed by Goddess Chinnomasta as his second and favourite son had left home earlier and never returned.
The old man told Feluda to find and give the picture of Swami Muktananda which he used to keep near his bed towards the head to his second son Biren.
Feluda’s investigation and Topshe’s presence of mind is fabulous. The way the two brothers read the diaries of the old man and Lal Mohan Babu being a best selling author also jumps in to help them solve the mystery and the riddles are very exciting and thrilling.
The title song of this series really fascinated me. The most important thing was that this song was based on the title music of Feluda composed by Satyajit Ray himself.
The next series of Feluda, Joto Kando Kathmandute, released on 2 May 2021 the centenary year of Satyajit Rays’ birthday. I look forward to watching this film with bated breath.
Feluda Pherot title song
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