Most Bengalis, growing up in a place like Calcutta, have grown up with detective stories and have idolised our home-grown versions of Sherlock Holmes or Hercule Poirot. Whether it’s the super sleuth Feluda or the charismatic Kakababu, such detective short stories have been an indispensable part of our childhood along with the earliest Satyajit Ray adaptations of the same. However, there’s been a recent resurgence in the genre and several of these old-world stories have even been adapted with a contemporary flavour while others pay tribute to a time long past. Here are three Bengali detective films currently ruling the silver screen.
1. Double Feluda: Directed by Sandip Ray, the son of Feluda creator and Oscar-winning director Satyajit Ray, this crime thriller not only features the ageing Sabyasachi Chakraborty in the titular role, but also packs two detective stories in one movie. Much like the BBC Sherlock, this movie reimagines the famous detective in a 21st century setting yet retains the plot as well as charm of the original tales. While the second story proves to be more engrossing, this film makes for an enjoyable family watch.
2. Byomkesh Pawrbo: Based on the story Amriter Mrityu by Saradindu Bandyopadhay, this period movie is set in the picturesque Doars and deals with the illegal arms trade. With only a few suspects, a mysterious black horse and isolated wilderness, the movie makes for a thoughtful and thrilling ride. Abir Chatterjee as Byomkesh and Ritwick Chakraborty as his sidekick deliver excellent performances and the movie invites you to solve the mystery as well.
3. Kiriti Roy: Unlike the Feluda and Byomkesh stories which have been adapted several times before, this film marks the celluloid debut of the pipe-smoking brainchild of Nihar Ranjan Gupta. The 1950s era has been recreated with great detail with colonial aesthetics, antique furniture as well as oblique references to the politic turnmoil. Moreover, although the tone of the movie is darker and the mystery very complex, the movie hits all the right notes and makes you excited for all the Kiriti Roy films to come.
So whose your favourite home-grown detective and why? Let us know in the comments below!