| Sabyasachi takes aim during the shooting. Picture by Hirak Sen
His fans are miserable. Prodosh Chandra Mitra has been hibernating from the big-screen for two decades and more. But by the year-end, the suave and cerebral sleuth is certain to have his hands full, racking his grey cells and chasing a shady Hindi film producer to Mumbai.
Shooting for Bombaiyer Bombete, the third Feluda adventure after Sonar Kella and Joy Baba Felunath, is nearing completion and may hit the city halls by “Puja or the winter, if all goes well”, says director Sandip Ray, about his debut Feluda venture on the big screen.
“Bombaiyer Bombete is baba’s most action-packed and fast-paced Feluda story. Though the plot is lucid and less complex compared to other episodes, it is crammed with incidents that can be aptly blown up into a two-hour film. The element of spectacle, characters, places and an elaborate climax help thicken the plot,” Sandip says, busy jotting down notes at the desk once used by father Satyajit Ray in the quietness of their sitting room at 1/1, Bishop Lefroy Road.
Filming a Feluda has long been Sandip’s desire. So, when Ushakiron Movies approached him to make one out of Bombaiyer Bombete, there was no second thought. But adapting the text — written by Ray in the late Seventies — to the contemporary milieu was a challenge. “Bombay has changed so much since and the characters needed to be updated.” Hence, cellphones, new cars and a diesel or an electric train instead of a steam engine. “But neither Feluda, nor Topshe or Jatayu carries mobile phones, as it would not go down well with viewers,” he quickly adds.
The most daunting part of the shoot is slated probably for May, where a film-within-a-film sequence fuses reel action and reality. The stunts and horse-riders will be hired from Andhra Pradesh, where a major portion of the film is being shot. Sandip plans to can the climax scene in the Araku Valley, which has a topographical similarity with Khandala-Lonauli, where the text is set.
“Baba had always shunned the whodunnit format and made thrillers instead. In both Sonar Kella and Joy Baba Felunath, the audience knew the villains from the start. I, too, have stayed off the whodunnit method, as it requires an elaborate explanation, which can be very boring for the audience. The interest fizzles out and the repeat value of the film is also reduced,” says the director, who’s all praises for his cast.
For Sandip, ‘Feluda’ Sabyasachi Chakraborty has teamed up with newcomer Parambrata Chatterjee as Topshe and Bibhu Bhattacharya as Jatayu. But Ashish Vidyarthi, who does not bear the faintest physical resemblance to Ray’s Mr Gore, is an unusual choice as the villain. “For Mr Gore, I wanted someone who had a strong screen presence and could speak both Bengali and Hindi. Ashish fitted the bill. Another Bollywood actor, Anjan Srivastava, will play Inspector Patwardhan,” Sandip explains.
The filmmaker is keeping his fingers crossed. “Though one can always bank on the tremendous popularity of Feluda, directing this character for the big screen is a challenge,” he says, a hint of tension in his voice. If Bombaiyer Bombete passes the big screen test, Ray Junior is likely to roll out more of Feluda, with Kailashey Kelenkari and Gorosthane Shabdhan topping the priority list.