Movie Review | Shabash Feluda: This Feluda is in search of a whodunit
DECCAN CHRONICLE | Ajit Andhare
When you have Satyajit Ray as a writer in your credits, half of the work is already done. A solid foundation is laid upon which the makers need to build smartly to match the writing prowess of the legendary filmmaker.
However, it seems it is easier said than done. Hence, director Arindam Sil despite having a good story fails to deliver a thriller.
‘Shabash Feluda’, playing on Zee5 currently, is based on Ray’s ‘Gangtokey Gondogol’ published in 1971.
In this series, Feluda gets a contemporary reboot. He now uses mobiles and banks heavily on CDR to unravel the mystery. Hence, his dependence on ‘magajastra’ or ‘brain weapon’, which provides a cutting edge to the stories, is conspicuously missing here. He has been described as an ‘information analyst’ here. Less sleuthing and more analysing.
While there cannot be two opinions about the story, the screenplay and its execution are weak.
The events in ‘Shabash Feluda’ unfold in Gangtok. A business tycoon Shivkumar Salvankar (Arindam Sil) is found dead. First what was believed to be an accident later turns out to be a murder. Salvankar’s deputy Sashadhar Bose (Ritwick Chakraborty) ropes in Feluda to crack the case.
The series is spread over a whopping ten episodes. While the first episode establishes the characters and premise, subsequent ones just drag on. Speed seems to be a quality unknown to the makers.
Ideally, it is sufficient even if one watches the first and last episodes. Still, the entire story would be understood. Thrillers if not racy and pacy fail to engage the viewer and ‘Shabash Feluda’ is a shining example of this.
Another highlight of Feluda stories is his bond with his second-in-command and cousin Topshe (Rwitobroto Mukherjee). Feluda’s Dr Watson. The chemistry between the two doesn’t come out here.
Parambrata Chatterjee as Feluda is okay but not as impressive as his illustrious predecessors. He had big shoes to fill. While he is suave and sophisticated, somehow he has failed to bring Feluda alive on the screen. He lacks the sharpness of a detective. At times he seems to be too stiff to get into the skin of the character.
Characters like Feluda and Byomkesh Bakshi are not only endearing for millions of fans but today are a part of our folklore. If we cannot improve upon what has already been created, we should not at least ruin it.
Several attempts have been made in the past too to have a Feluda-verse. Some have been successful especially when Ray himself was at the helm. However, ‘Shabash Feluda’ fails to build any real tension or suspense. And that’s a disappointment. It is agonisingly low on thrills.
Loyal Feluda fans must be squirming with anger and discomfort at this timid and insipid adaptation of a story that had the potential to be an edge-of-the-seat thriller. Better luck to the makers for next time as for sure there will be always an attempt and demand to bring alive detective stories and this one will be quickly forgotten.
Series: Shabash Feluda
Director: Arindam Sil
Cast: Parambrata Chatterjee, Rwitobroto Mukherjee