Did you know that Satyajit Ray wanted a mix of four actors to play Feluda on screen? That his choices were Barun Chanda, Subhendu Chatterjee, Dhritiman Chaterji and Soumitra Chatterjee!
And guess what Sabyasachi Chakrabarty did first after Sandip Ray cast him as Feluda in Bombaiyer Bombete? He met Soumitra Chatterjee for acting tips. And Soumitra told him to bring that “thinking man’s look” on his face!
It was a trip down memory lane on Monday evening when Sandip Ray, Soumitra Chatterjee, Sabyasachi Chakrabarty and Shaheb ‘Topshe’ Bhattacherjee participated in ‘Feluda’r Shathe Adda’ with Barun Chanda as moderator, hosted by Bengal Chamber and Ananya Onnomon, at Williamson Magor Hall.
‘What makes Feluda an enduring popular sleuth on screen’ was Chanda’s first question to the two Feludas on dais.
Sandip answered first: “Baba started out by writing in Sandesh. The feedback to the first story was phenomenal. Baba was a huge fan of detective stories. After numerous phone calls and hundreds of letters, he decided to write a series of Feluda stories. The first was Badshahi Angti, which appeared for a year in Sandesh. But I think Baba’s characteristics are very much there in both Shonku and Feluda.”
“Right,” agreed Soumitra. “I firmly believe that Felu and Shonku are both alter egos of their creator and Felu’s popularity lies in his Bangaliana.”
“I am still investigating why Feluda is so popular. I haven’t been able to crack it yet!” quipped Sabyasachi.
“Well, Manikda (Ray) gave me a different hairstyle, a wig rather. He wanted Felu to look very different, so the wig. But I think he gave me the wig because he wanted me to play Felu in a few more films. And if I ever became bald, I could still play Felu!” added Soumitra.
If talk of looks and wigs made the audience break into peels of laughter, it was the master filmmaker’s eye for detail that left all spellbound. “There was a scene in Sonar Kella where Felu receives a letter. We were shooting in Jodhpur and the crew got a letter from the nearest post office. While taking that shot, Manikda noticed that the letter didn’t have a stamp. So he took out a pen and drew a stamp which was exactly the size of a real stamp. I guess we just see things while he actually ‘saw’ things,” signed off Soumitra, Ray’s favourite actor.