A sleuth at home

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By Role call for Anjan Dutt's Byomkesh Mohua Das
  • Published 25.07.09
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A two-storeyed house in a lane off Bondel Road is where Anjan Dutt has built a home for Sharadindu Bandopadhyay’s Byomkesh Bakshi to shoot his film Adim Ripu.

A jumble of antique wooden furniture leads to the investigator’s bedroom, where a kurta-pyjama-clad Abir (Byomkesh) is laying out cards for a game with friend Ajit (Saswata Chatterjee).

“Anjanda had explained to me certain dos and don’ts that Byomkesh sticks to. He had also asked me to watch (Satyajit Ray’s Byomkesh film) Chiriakhana. I had read the Byomkesh books as a child and after I was chosen for the role, I brought them all out and re-read them,” says Abir, in between rehearsing his lines.

The first of Dutt’s Byomkesh Bakshi trilogy, Adim Ripu explores a dark and murky Calcutta set against the riots of 1963. “It’s a morbid story of sex and adultery that leads to violence and murder. Byomkesh is caught in a social drama when a black marketer is murdered. It’s a story of personal vendetta set against political violence,” explains Dutt.

While Dutt is absorbed in executing the scenes, Saswata is in the mood for fun. He starts ribbing Abir and Ushasie, who plays Byomkesh’s wife Satyabati. “I have a small role in Adim Ripu, so I’m looking forward to the next Byomkesh film where I’ll have a meatier role,” says Ushasie, draped in a green sari.

“My character doesn’t speak much. He emotes mainly through expressions and body language. It’s similar to my Topshe character (in Sandip Ray’s TV series). There I was Feluda’s young apprentice, and here I am Byomkesh’s friend. Since Ajit is also a writer, he is more involved in this case,” says Saswata.

As Dutt shouts “action”, he springs up from the divan and dashes into the sprawling drawing room. This is where much of the action of Adim Ripu takes place.

Art director Goutam Bose has captured the early Sixties’ look in the sets. “You won’t find a speck of plastic in anything. Since it’s a thriller, we’ve remodelled the rooms and used dark shades such as black, grey and bottle green on the walls. We have also used a lot of khadi and porcelain to capture the period,” says Bose.