Satyajit Ray is widely recognised as one of the best filmmakers of the 20th century. However, he also received equal praise for his literary work with the character Feluda. Now, a Bengali filmmaker hopes to bring the iconic detective back to life in a first-of-its-kind documentary.
Satyajit Ray, filmmaker extraordinaire, is actually equally, if not better, known for the very cherished Feluda series that he wrote. Scores of Indians grew up on a healthy diet of this social justice-themed mystery fictional character’s antics. Now, a group of Bengali filmmakers wants to make sure our literary Samaritan does not remain confined to the back burners of history. They are thus making a 111-minute documentary as an ode to forever save his legacy. It will be India’s first ever documentary on a fictional figure.
More than just a detective in a book
Feluda is a 6-feet-tall middle-class Bengali detective. He is also a voracious reader and a keen observer, who’s real name is Pradosh C. Mitter. He is accompanied by his cousin ‘Topshe’, and Lal Mohan Ganguly, alias ‘Jatayu’, who is also a “crime thriller” writer in all his adventures. There have been 35 books, 10 television series, and three full-length movies centred around this story in the last century.
The popularity of this character is very deeply entrenched in the minds of Indians. So much so, that even though Ray passed away in 1992, 500-600 people still come to his house annually without an invitation, just to pay homage. The noteworthy point here is that Ray got thousands of letters—not on his acclaimed movies, but for his beloved Holmes-like star boy protagonist, Feluda. These novels are in fact still considered the top 10 best-selling novels in Bengali literature.
The cult following he amassed
Satyajit Ray has profiled Feluda as a modern and knowledgeable detective who is very approachable. One of the most striking qualities of Feluda is his commitment to uphold social justice for the oppressed. He leaves no stone unturned to protect them, without worrying about his own monetary gain. His villains are mostly learned, rich, and powerful people who belong to the creamy layers of society. So, Feluda’s fight is the fight of an ordinary citizen who faces extraordinary crises and wins over them. It’s no surprise that Indians love his Robin Hood-esque persona even today.
What will the documentary contain?
The film will contain original footage and illustrations that will bring Ray’s masterpieces to life. Sagnik has also managed to interview pivotal figures who have shaped, and whose lives have been shaped, by the stories.
He has been working on this film for three years, and now it has reached its last leg, where he is urging the Indian masses to come and join this effort. The film needs funds to make sure that it can show at the New York Indian Film Festival 2017 this May, where its official selection has been made. Post-production—which includes restoration of footage, surround sound, and animation—is pending due to the lack of funds.
When Sagnik Chatterjee (Director and Producer) needed money to finish the film, crowdfunding seemed like the best fit. The very people whose lives were touched by this series now have a chance to be an active part of it. They have an ongoing campaign on Wishberry for the same.
We can’t let an Indian legend pass us by unnoticed!
Unless this legacy is archived, it’ll pass into oblivion, like many other icons from Indian anecdotes. It is of course any respectable Government’s job to make sure that cultural monuments are preserved. But in the digital times of today, the public has already shown its keenness to preserve something that is a lot more than just a literary icon by joining in through crowdfunding. Now you can too!
Help Sagnik Chatterjee bring the iconic Feluda to life by contributing to his Wishberry crowdfunding campaign.