Category Archives: Personal Musings

The Best of 2020

2020 has been a hellish year for humankind, especially the movie business. Cinemas across the country shut down by mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic. While OTTs came to the rescue of cinephiles, nothing can possibly replace the magic of watching a movie on the silver screen.

However, one must acknowledge the fact that the web gives a platform to low-budget indie films, which would not have otherwise got a showtime at the plexes. While we need OTTs in the ‘new normal’ one hopes that cinemas are back in business soon!

Here’s to the best of 2020 – a tumultuous year!

Image Courtesy: Data Activism Dot Net

Bengali Movies

5. Dwitiyo Purush
4. Sraboner Dhara
3. Dracula Sir
2. Tasher Ghawr
1. Nirontor

(P.S. Could not watch Guldasta because it did not release in Jalpaiguri)

Bengali Web Series

5. Kaali 2
4. Break Up Stories
3. Shabdo Jobdo
2. Rahasya Romancho Series
1. Feluda Pherot

English Movies 2020

5. The Prom
4. Just Mercy
3. Bombshell
2. Greyhound
1. The Trial of Chicago Seven

International Web Series 2020

5. Upload
4. Dash & Lily
3. Valhalla Murders
2. Queen’s Gambit
1. The Crown Season 4

Hindi Movies

5. Shubh Mangal Zyada Savdhan
4. Thappad
3. Bulbbul/Unpaused
2. Bhonsle
1. Raat Akeli Hain

Hindi Web Series

5. Aarya
4. Panchayat
3. Mismatched
2. Scam 1992
1. Pataal Lok

Feluda Pherot – Srijit Mukherji’s Christmas ‘miracle’ in the year of pandemic

Feluda – this one word can ignite a passion of nostalgia in every Bengali’s heart. Satyajit Ray’s iconic ‘private investigator’ has been a constant part of our growing up years, and even adulthood. The much-loved trio of Feluda-Topshe-Jatayu would invariably make an appearance on the silver screen every year on Christmas, as latest as ten years ago. But the death of Bibhu Bhattacharya (who played Jatayu in the recent films) put a brake on the journey.

Thanks to Srijit Mukherji and Addatimes, the tradition of a new Feluda flick on Christmas has turned into a reality, that too in a year which was full of gloom and doom. Feluda is back, and how! Albeit, adapted into a mini-series, instead of a full length feature film, ‘Chhinnamastar Obhishap’ lives upto the expectations, and surpasses them. Credit for that is most-deservingly Srijit Mukherji’s. His sleek writing, scene constructions, casting and eye for detail is top-notch, and makes ‘Feluda Pherot’ an endearing watch!

A still from Feluda Pherot (courtesy: Srijit Mukherji on Facebook)

First and foremost – the casting! Tota Roy Chowdhury’s selection as Feluda raised quite a few eyebrows. But he settles the debate with his skills. An worthy successor to Soumitra Chatterjee and Sabyasachi Chakraborty, Tota lets his face (mostly his eyes) talk for him. The ‘bangaliana’ charm is effervescent throughout, as is the dollops of ‘magajastra’. Tota Roy Chowdhury infuses life into the sketches of Feluda by Satyajit Ray.

And of course, Jatayu. Anirban Chakraborty is already a favourite of the masses, for his portrayal of Eken Babu. And he effortlessly fits into the shoes of Santosh Dutta as Jatayu. An excellent actor, he does not let Jatayu become a ‘bhaand’ while exuberating the innocent charm of a next-door Bangali. Kalpan Dutta pales in comparison, with very little scope for showcasing himself, and appearing stiff in some scenes.

Rest of the cast, too, fit into the characters, as if they were written with their image in mind. Whether it is Dhritiman Chatterjee as Mahesh Chowdhury, or Arun Guha Thakurta as Akhil babu, Rishi Kaushik as Karandikar, or Arindam Ganguly as Tekka, and Samadarshi as Turi – everyone of them give their best shots! Even Sultan is menacing enough to send shivers down your spine.

What sets Srijit Mukherji’s Feluda Pherot apart from Sandip Ray’s films is the stand-out writing. While Srijit Da has not deviated from Ray’s story, his storytelling is much more thrilling, pacy and intelligent. Even dialogue heavy scenes hold onto your interest, because of the way the sequence is shot. The background score is an added bonus. The marvelous lighting sets the tone for the plot. Not to forget, the charm of north Bengal adds to the enjoyment, as well.

I have never missed a first-day-first show for Srijit Mukherji’s films in the recent past. And his foray into OTT, that too with Feluda, is nothing short of a Christmas miracle in the year of the pandemic. As they say, patience does bear fruits. And ‘Feluda Pherot’ has been a juicy one.

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