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Super sleuth is now Santa Claus
- This festive season, Feluda is giving Bolly biggies a run for their money

Rahul Ganguly and his friends glanced at the posters of Taare Zameen Par and Welcome before pulling out a bunch of Kailase Kelenkari tickets. “We toyed with the idea of watching Welcome but couldn’t put Kailase Kelenkari on hold. A Feluda film is a different experience altogether,” smiled the 15-year-old at INOX Forum on Christmas.

Feluda is playing Santa Claus this festive season, drawing crowds to the theatres and spreading cheer in Tollywood. The Bengali super sleuth has stumped Bollywood big guns Aamir Khan and Akshay Kumar, who are struggling to keep pace with his mind games. “The response to Kailase Kelenkari has been phenomenal. All four shows at INOX (Forum and City Centre) and three shows at 89 Cinemas were sold out on Tuesday, despite Taare Zameen Par and Welcome,” said Subhasish Ganguly, the regional general manager, INOX.

The opening of the Sandip Ray film has also beaten the two Tollywood success stories of 2007 — The Bong Connection and Anuranan. “Kailase Kelenkari is enjoying the best first week. It has more shows than The Bong Connection and Anuranan. We’ve had 97 per cent footfall in the weekend and 90 per cent on weekdays at Priya. There are advance bookings in bulk and the audience is from the nine-to-90 age group,” said Arijit Dutta, the owner of Priya, which is juggling two shows of Kailase Kelenkari with one each of Taare Zameen Par and Welcome.

At Nandan, the day’s counter remained firmly shut, while a queue snaked in front of the advance booking window. All three shows on Tuesday were full and all three for Wednesday were sold out.

“The response is as good as Rang De Basanti or Black. There is a huge rush for advance bookings for the next three weeks,” disclosed Nandan CEO Nilanjan Chatterjee.

Four years after Bombaiyer Bombete, the response to his second Feluda film has come as a pleasant surprise to the film-maker. “I was wary of how people would accept Kailase Kelenkari but it is doing exceptionally well,” said Ray.

Basking in the attention is the evergreen hero, drawing young and old. “It’s a huge challenge to play Feluda. I don’t know if I am as good as Soumitra Chatterjee, but both the old and new generation of cine-goers have accepted me and I am enjoying every bit of it,” said Sabyasachi Chakraborty.

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