From essaying the role of Topshe on small screen to playing Shabor Dasgupta in the recently-released sleuth-flick, Saswata Chatterjee career graph is an enigmatic as well as admirable one. From being the heartthrob of the television as Akash in Ravi Ojha’s magnum opus Ek Akasher Neeche to being the nation’s favourite villain Bob Biswas (Kahaani, 2012), the growth of Saswata Chatterjee as an actor is worth a case-study.
True to his talent, Saswata wins hearts as a detective of Kolkata Police. Move over Feluda and Byomkesh, Bengal’s new “goenda” is here – Shabor Dasgupta. Ruthless yet humane, practical as well as emotional, sharp-brained with a sense of humour, this character penned by Shirshendu Mukherjee has been brought to life by Saswata Chatterjee’s magnificent acting and Arindam Sil’s credible direction.
A woman is found murdered in her apartment at Ballygunge Place and the case is assigned to Shabor. What enfolds is a tale of love, betrayal, revenge, jealousy and illicit affairs. Skeletons and dirty linen tumble out of the closet as the story progresses.
Every actor, even in miniscule roles, have put up worthy performances (the argument scene between Rahul and Debaleena was hilarious). The constant reference of Shabor’s sidekick to his Bengali medium school reminded me of Jatayu’s invocation of Ethenium Institution in Feluda series.
Moving over who dunnit, this film explores the human psyche – a ride which the audience is an integral part of right from the beginning. The story does not end with the discovery and arrest of the culprit; the film once again points out that we all are victims of circumstances. But as Shabor advices one character – “There are many options. Try earning the honest way.”
Full marks for the crisp editing and free-flowing screenplay. Bickram Ghosh’s score is refreshing, but out of place in some scenes. Arindam Sil had disappointed in his first directorial venture; Ebar Shabor makes up for the disaster that was Aborto.
Looking forward to more adventures of Shabor Dasgupta – the sleuth with a heart – in years to come.
It is compulsory for every Bengali kid to grow up reading (and fall in love with) Feluda’s adventure stories. Satyajit Ray with his magic of words had gifted us Bengali literature’s best private investigator. To further titillate the imaginations of the masses, he made two cinematic adaptations of Feluda’s adventures – Sonar Kella and Joy Baba Felunath will remain etched in our memories forever.
With such a legacy on his shoulders, it was obviously difficult for Sandip Ray to deliver and win hearts. But he did, Bomabyer Bombaytey was immensely popular with the people. Following that, he lost the plot. A series of disappointments starting with Koilashe Kelenkari till Gorosthane Sabdhan, made us wonder if at all he has the caliber to adapt Feluda on screen. Thankfully, Royal Bengal Rahasya lives up to the expectations.
Not only is the script faithful to the original novel, it is also more thrilling, crisp, boisterous and engaging. Feluda’s real weapon – his magajastra or the mind – is put to use to full glory. One does feel part of the journey of solving the riddle, the focus of the plot:
Muro hoye buro gach,
Hath gon bhat panch,
Dik pao thik thik jobabe.
Falgun tal tor,
Dui majhe bhuifor,
Sandhane dhondaye nababe…..
On the acting front, Bibhu Bhattacharya surely deserves praise. He had the most daunting task of matching up to the standards set by Santosh Dutta’s personification of Jatayu in Satyajit Ray’s Feluda flicks. Bibhuda makes Jatayu his own, and gifts the audience his best till date (did he have any premonition that this could well be his last performance?).
Sabyasachi Chakraborty is always a pleasure to watch. His mannerisms, facial expressions, the thoughtful eyes mesmerise you. No one can play Feluda with such precision as he does. Although his age and lack of physical attributes (like Feluda) does haunt one in some scenes.
The photography was spellbinding. The forests of Orissa and North Bengal have been showcased on the silver screen in their natural beauty. The background score definitely added to the pulsating effect. Special effects and animation were not amateurish unlike Kailashe Kelenkari. Really loved the modification made in the climax, showing how concerned about present realities the director is.
Royal Bengal Rahasya is my favourite Feluda novel. It made me jittery when i first heard the news that Sandip Ray had selected this adventure for screen. But not only did “Babu-Da” make my Christmas gay, but added colours of joy to it. The two hours inside the theater were spent in reliving memories of childhood, enjoying the shadows of my imagination take shape on screen. RBR is a definite watch for Feluda fans, Sandip ray lives upto his father for once.
My Rating – 3/5
P.S. – Missed Bham while watching the movie. Watching Feluda is fun when you have a company with whom your wavelength matches 🙂 I remember having waited 5 minutes on a hanging bridge at Loleygaon, for Bham, just to tell him that place was suitable for the climax of RBR!!! Tee Hee…….