Sandip Ray’s Royal Bengal Rahasya was released online by Databazaar media a couple of days back and that’s how we, the people of North America had the chance of watching one of Satyajit Ray’s classic short story featuring Feluda, turned into a film.
In my honest opinion, I still think Soumitro Chatterjee was the best Feluda ever but then again the current generation have not really seen Mr Chatterjee as the stern faced detective, they have grown up seeing Sabyasachi Chakraborty as the new generation Feluda and he is quite liked by many. Santosh ‘Jatayu’ Dutta replaced first by Robi Ghosh and then by Bhibhu Bhattacharya. Unfortunately, none of them are there to play their roles any more…RIP.
Royal Bengal Rahasya is a story that revolves around the ‘Singha roy’ family of North Bengal. Mahitosh Singha Roy ( Basudeb Mukherjee) the renowned hunter and the author of adventure stories related to wild life and forests, invite Jatayu, another renowned writer of adventure tales and even detective Pradosh Mitter (Feluda) to his place in North Bengal and is interested to get a puzzle solved by the detective. Mr.M has an elder brother, Debotosh Singha Roy played by Paran Bandyopadhyay who is mentally instable and is on serious medication and is often kept under lock and key when his condition goes beyond control. Tarit Sengupta (Bhaswar Chatterjee) is the secretary of Mr M and a very hard working, polite and committed guy. Shashanka Sanyal (Debesh Roychoudhury) Mr.M’s childhood and college buddy, Madhablal (Sanjib Sarkar) and yesteryear’s baddy Biplab Chatterjee as the cop make up the rest of the cast in the film.
The story is interesting; the detective is given three days to solve a puzzle which very predictably leads to some hidden treasure. The trio Feluda, Topshe and Jatayu come across all the members of the family and form different impressions about each of them. The village is in the grip of a rumor of a ‘man-eater’ re appearing in the forests and claiming its first human victim and the only person who can control this Royal Bengal man-eater is Mr.M himself. But he is hiding something, about everything, his predecessors, his brother, his writings etc, So, what is it that he is scared of?
Mr.M’s secretary Tarit, has to go on leave to visit his ailing mother and a day prior to that he is found dead in the forest. Who killed him and what’s the motive? Debotosh, the elder brother surely knows of some family secrets and can even throw some light on the puzzle that will lead to the hidden treasure. But will his hints and clues help Feluda and gang to solve the mystery of the Royal Bengal and even find out the motive of Tarit’s murder?
It is quite a good film but Sandip Ray should now seriously think of replacing Sabyasachi Chakraborty as Feluda. I am not comparing him to Soumitro Chatterjee as Chakraborty is a very fine actor but he has started to look old and Feluda was NOT old. Point to be noted here that Chakraborty’s son Gaurab is now a young hero and it is quite natural that he is looking his age.
I never quite liked Bibhu Bhattacharya as Lal Mohan Ganguli. Jatayu was a funny man and overacting will never help in understanding Jatayu’s character. What was a cake walk for Mr.Santosh Dutta and even Mr Rabi Ghosh looked to be ‘difficult-to-convince’ for Mr Bhattacharya. And this is all with respect to his departed soul.
Cinematography is just awesome; lush green forests, verdant hills and blue skyline and especially when the train chugs along the forest, it is worth a million dollars. Music is very Satyajit Ray ish and that helps to soothe the mind and even be in the mindset that ‘I am watching a Ray film.’ A little surprising is the screenplay. The puzzle had to be from the book, but what about the dialogues? One could actually sit with the book and read it out loud along with the film.
Quite a nice film, I would say but let’s hope for a new Feluda in the next film, may be Indraneil Sengupta or Tota Rowchoudhury. What say, Mr Ray Jr ?