Sandip Ray’s simple story telling makes the film a wonderful watch
There are two stories – Samaddarer Chabi and Golokdham Rahasya. The former is a story of a musical instruments collector, Radharaman Samaddar. After his death, Radharaman’s nephew, Manimohan, seeks Feluda’s help in pursuit of his wealth. The second story is about a scientist, Nihar Ranjan Dutta, whose groundbreaking research on a cancer antidote came to an abrupt end after he met with an accident in his lab in the US. The accident leaves him blind, and now, his unfinished research is stolen and the detective goes to Golakdham to find the thief.
It is not easy to enjoy a whodunit film when you know the end. A thriller minus suspense is almost like food without seasoning. In a thriller, as oppose to a whodunit, the challenge for a filmmaker is to give away the culprits identity yet hold his audience. But Sandip Ray does not go that way in this film, which is a pure whodunit.
Double Feluda stands out for its unabashed simplicity. From narration to camera to script – Sandip Ray does not, for once, try to go over the top. And voila! On its 50th anniversary of the publication, Feluda is back with a bang.
We, the ardent Feluda fans, are bound to get the first goosebumps at the beginning scroll. It takes us on a stroll down memory lane with Satyajit Ray’s sketches and covers of Feluda books we grew up with. We walk through the nooks and corners of Feludar Goendagiri, Badshahi Angti, Chhinnamastar Abhishap, Gangtoke Gondogol, Jaibaba Felunath, Feluda One Feluda Two and so on before the finally settle down to the first chapter of the film – Samaddarer Chabi.
Manimohan Samaddar (Bratya Basu) comes to meet Feluda (Sabyasachi Chakrabarty) to find the hidden treasure of his dead uncle Radharaman, a frugal man who used to collect musical instruments. Feluda and Topshe (Shaheb Bhattacherjee) effortlessly finds out the culprit before the interval but not before casting a few spells of magnificent acting by Sabyasachi and Saswata Chatterjee, who plays the role Dharanidhar (Radharaman’s grandson) also known as Sanjay Lahiri. Sadhan Sen – the child hero of the story – also leaves a mark.
The second half starts with a fresh story, Golakdham Rahasya, in which another client, Subir Ranjan Dutta, played by Bhashkar Banerjee, visits Feluda at 21 Rajani Sen Road. This time, there is a case of attempt to rob the client’s house. Subir's brother, Nihar Ranjan Dutta (Dhritiman Chatterjee) – an eminent researcher – lost his vision in an accident in his US university. His unfinished research is under threat. But meanwhile, one of the tenants gets killed. By the time Feluda solves the mystery Nihar Ranjan Dutta dies and his unfinished research sees a ray of hope.
Golakdham Rahasya is a notch more intense than the Samaddarer Chabi. The film reaches its pinnacle when Feluda meets his Mycroft Holmes, Sidhu Jyatha (Paran Bandyopadhyay). Sidhu Jyatha, evidently miffed by Feluda’s irregular attendance, exchanges a bout of sharp dialogues. With a perfect balance of wit and wisdom, the brief appearance of Sidhu Jyatha is etched in our mind.
Sabyasachi has already garnered many accolades as Feluda from different quarters. After his one-film disappearance, the actor proves that he is the best possible option for the legendary, tall detective of our time. This Feluda is not in his early 30s. He is aging and director makes no effort to camouflage his age. Feluda, in this film, is not flying high, but has resorted to his greatest weapon, magajastro – the little grey cells in his brain.
The film has its follies. The second story slows down the film for a bit. And there are logical inconsistencies. When Feluda, Topshe and his client, Bhashkar, visit tenants' rooms at Golakdham, Mr Dastur’s (Biswajit Chakraborty) room was locked from outside. Soon, they meet Dastur while he was coming back from work. Dastur opens the lock and asks Hari, his domestic help, to serve cold drink to his guests. This either means Dastur locked his domestic help inside while going to work or there is something wrong in the making.
However, the film is fast and free-flowing. It doesn’t have the nuances of Satyajit Ray. But it has his music, his fantastic stories and his ideas. By the end of the film, we get another bout of nostalgia when all the cast, crew and other members related to Feluda film talk about their experience with Satyajit Ray, his character Felu Mittir and the golden days of children literature. If the film falls short in some aspects, the documentary at the end will surely make it worth remembering.