Bengali Movie Review: GOROSTHANE SABDHAN (2010) The New Feluda Film By Sandip Ray - Felu Mitter is back with a bang !

By Nilanjan Nandy


KOLKATA, Dec 10, 2010 (Washington Bangla Radio) While watching "Gorosthaney Sabdhaan", directed by Sandip Ray, the new Felu-da film which released today, I was wondering how the senior Ray would have thought of shooting this particular scene? How he would have picturised the action sequence? What kind of a musical instrument would he have used in the background music (I miss his music soooo much!!) while going through the shots of Ripon Lane, the stairs of Bourne and Shepherd or the moving vista of Park Street??

Thinking of an alternative while watching something like this which has been long-awaited may seem a little queer, but I had nothing else to do but , think of senior Ray, with whom , and with his immortal creation's I, and my entire generation has grown up, this is a fact which cannot be overlooked! It is only because of this, whenever I watch a movie concerning Felu-da, apart from "Sonar Kella" and "Joy Baba Felunath", I ponder about all that I have witnessed in my teens; firstly the non-melodramatic Jatayu aka Lalmohon-babu played to the 'tee' by none other than Santosh Dutta, a typical North Calcutta Bengali character who- though, provided something called 'comic relief' from time to time in a Felu-da caper, but had his wits all tightened up and expressions sharpened as a scalpel which will keep him alive for generations to come. Here in this current film Bibhu Bhattacharya has tried quite hard to bring Lalmohon to life but seriously failed and evoked nothing but yawns out of his mindless bufoonery and over board reactions. Siddhartha Chatterjee's Topshey was nothing but Topshey, anyone will agree to that. Though Parambrata has been replaced by Saheb (Zee Bangla Anchor), the pure smile, the innocence and the intelligent sparkle in the eye is no where to be seen.

In fact, if Benu-da (Sabyasachi Chakraborty) wouldn't have been cast as Felu-da, I believe Sandip Rays's each and every attempt would have bitten the dust, to say the least.

Sabyasachi Chakraborty is the only smart choice which has somewhat been able to maintain the taste of Pure Felu-da films which have been made to become immortal by none other than the world's greatest film director the magician of the celluloid - Satyajit Ray. Who else but Ray can bring about such thrilling scenes like the ones in Sonar Kella where the Black Scorpion inches towards Felu-da while he's resting on the bed and Topshey yells to get his attention, and then with a flick of his hand Felu- read:Soumitra Chatterjee) catches the predatory arthropod with an empty glass! Or the scene where after waiting for the train to Jaisalmer till midnight at the Ramdeora station Felu-da and his pack is attacked in the first class compartment in the moving train by none other Mandar Bose (read the inimitable Kamu Mukherjee)! Can one forget the "Joy Baba Felunath" spellbinding scene where Maganlal Meghraj's (read Utpal Dutta) private entertainer the knife-thrower Arjun (read Kamu Mukherjee once again) aims his steel at Lalmohon -babu. Felu-da with his face turned away, and Maganlal uttering single words like - "Naazuk" and "Bohot Achchha" after each knife's throw!

The heartbeat thumped and raced with each knife's flight and the movie hall ( I remember it was Sealdah's Prachi), gasped in silence. Those were the days, when one could watch a movie at a theatre in Peace. Today while watching this new Felu-da movie I had to request several people present in the auditorium to 'shut-up', or to keep their cells in silent mode! Where have we come, what have we become? Cell phone users, in theater ahlls, movies halls, concert halls are becoming a nuisance day by day, they are not at all interseted to watch the movie, they never try to find out the aura, the fragrance or the reald depth of a movie/scene, since for them Cinema is nothing but 'time pass', something like a television screen which happens to remain 'on' while you talk, eat, drink, and do whatever you like all through the day, without even bothering to give it a serious glance. Values and sense of privacy are two things which one will not get today, it has become long extinct.

However, here while 'am writing this blog, I only want to say to my readers that "Gorosthaney Sabdhaan" is perhaps one of the most tricky and intelligent stories by Ray, and his Sandip Ray though tried to maintain it's original flavor, changing a few details here and there (like turning the Blue Fox restaurant moment into a Trincas moment, since Blue Fox {God, how I miss those Chateaubriand Steaks}) and the lead actor Sabyasachi Chakraborty keeping Felu-da alive all through, "Gorosthaney Sabdhaan" will only satisfy a handful of viewers who have not, or will never come across senior Ray's Sonar Kella or Joy Baba Felunath, because after reading (I read Felu-da novels at least 5 - 6 times a year among other sevral English and Bengali paperbacks that I regularly read) senior Ray's novels and watching his only two Felu-da films over and over again, these Felu-da movies seem like small screen telefilms, which lacks mass and 'matter'.

Perigal Repeater - Pocket Watch from GOROSTHANEY SHABDHAAN

For my readers I would only give the outline of the story: which comprises of a half dug-up grave of Thomas Godwin, more than 150 years old in South Park Street Cemetary, which leads to the "Perigal Repeater", an antique pocket watch which was given to Thomas by the Nawab of Oudh, which at present is priced somewhere near US$16,500 (approximately INR 8 lakhs) according to Google search.

[GOROSTHANEY SHABDHAN]A fanatic watch collector-multimillionaire Mahadeb Chowdhury, played wonderfully by none other than Dhritiman Chatterjee tries to get the watch and the battle of wits and also muscle ensues between him, his henchmen and Felu-da himself. In the midst of several other characters Tinnu Anand as Marcus Godwin, the great-great-grandson of Thomas Godwin steals the show with his absolute natural acting power; and I want to give kudos to Sandip Ray for casting him in this role. Apart from these actors, Subhasis Mukherjee as Girin, Tamal Roy Chowdhury as Arakis, Dwijen Banerjee as the Doctor who treated Naren Biswas, Pradip Mukherjee as Naren Biswas and the veteran Haradhan Banerjee as Sidhu Jyatha have done their job responsibly and has made the characters believable.

I would not go through each scene and divulge the ending, as I want you all to watch the movie. At least it's better than watching a mindless Commercial movie which does nothing but entertains with utter blankness and stupidity.

Felu-da will not disappoint you and will bring several memories of the good Calcutta alive!!!

- Nilanjan Nandy can be reached at