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The return of the sleuth
Sabyasachi Chakraborty, Biplab Chatterjee, Bibhu Bhattacharya and Parambrata at the shooting of Kailase Kelenkari at Ellora. (Bottom) Sandip Ray on the set. Pictures by Hirak Sen

Bengal’s beloved sleuth returns to the theatres this Friday, four years after he last chased a bunch of baddies in ‘Bombai’. In Kailase Kelenkari, directed by Sandip Ray, Feluda lands up in the exotic caves of Ellora to retrieve a stolen artefact. t2 engages the trio — Feluda (Sabyasachi Chakraborty), Topse (Parambrata Chatterjee) and Jatayu (Bibhu Bhattacharya) — in a chat...

Sabyasachi Chakraborty on how Kailase Kelenkari is different from Bombaiyer Bombete:

Unlike Bombaiyer Bombete, Kailase Kelenkari is fast-paced. But it is not action-packed. There is a bit of hand-fight with the culprit Chattaraj (played by Dipankar Dey) in the climax. But there isn’t much bloodshed; in fact, it’s a lot less than Bombaiyer Bombete.

Kailase Kelenkari is also very different in terms of magnitude. I think Bombaiyer Bombete had a bigger canvas with a chase scene involving a train and horseride. But Kailase is big too, location-wise. The Ellora caves are exotic. The architecture — the Shiva-Parvati images — is a treat to the eyes. It was a wonderful experience shooting at Ellora. We shot a major portion, including the climax, inside the caves.

There is a chase scene with a car and an autorickshaw too. An autorickshaw was last used in Sonar Kella.

We have stuck to the same old thriller format but have done away with Feluda’s hippie disguise, to be in sync with the times. Kailase Kelenkari was written in the Seventies and there were a lot of hippies in India then. I sport a hat, dark glasses and sideburns instead, and pose as a photographer. Though the villain has been allowed a cell phone, Feluda doesn’t use one.

The other thrilling experience was the filming of the plane crash scene, off the EM Bypass. We used fire engines and there was a huge crowd. The scene has been touched up with digital effects.

Parambrata on being too old to play Topse:

I was 22 when I played Topse for the first time in Bombaiyer Bombete. I think that was fine because unlike in the book where Topse is 18 going on 19, all the Feluda films except Sonar Kella had a slightly older Topse.

I am 26 now; so I was a bit apprehensive. But I have seen the rushes and I am not looking very old. I think the audience will accept me.

I had just started my acting career when I did Bombaiyer Bombete and I have matured over the past four years. I think that will be reflected in Kailase Kelenkari. Besides, Benukaku (Sabyasachi) too doesn’t look 30 anymore.

I have lots of fond memories of shooting at Ellora. One evening, a huge crowd had gathered to see us and I heard someone talking about Satyajit Ray and Rituparno Ghosh. I walked up to him and was surprised to find that he was a young Marathi guy from a village and he knew so much about our films!

Bibhu Bhattacharya on Jatayu’s bond with Feluda and Topse:

We are the three musketeers and I promise that the camaraderie among us is a lot better in Kailase Kelenkari. Here, Jatayu is disguised as a history professor and poses as Topse’s maternal uncle.

I did four Feluda telefilms before Bombaiyer Bombete, but in those Saswata (Chatterjee) had played Topse. When Parambrata joined us in Bombaiyer Bombete, it took us some time to get along. So, I think the on-screen chemistry suffered a little. But we bonded very well in Kailase Kelenkari. During post-production, Sir (Sandip Ray) called up from the edit room to say that our chemistry was brilliant! I guess that’s the high point of Kailase Kelenkari.

Besides, you will also see a more mature Jatayu in Kailase Kelenkari. There’s one scene where I try to fight a villain with a torch and hit Feluda’s head instead! Those silly moments are there but the character is more subtle in this film.

I still watch Feluda films where Santosh Dutta had played Jatayu; that is part of my homework. But Sir gave me a lot of liberty.

(Which is your favourite Feluda film? Tell t2@abpmail.com)

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