Title – Adventures of Feluda (Vol 1 & 2)
Author – Satyajit Ray [translated from Bengali by Gopa Majumdar]
Type – Fiction / Thriller
Reading Prompt – #11 – A book you loved in your childhood
I grew up on a healthy dose of Enid Blyton, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boy & The Three Investigators. But for this prompt, I’m reviewing the book(s) that were a part of my college years.
Satyajit Ray donned many hats. He was a director of international repute and a writer par excellence. My mother & I used to read his Adventures of Feluda and discuss them. Day after day. Week after week. Month after month. Every word is entrenched in my memory. The magic lingers.
My selection for this prompt was clear from Day One. It was as if the lines spoke to me, taking me down memory lane. I could smell the Charminar as the strapping six-footer Prodosh Mitter looked for clues. I clutched my aching sides as Lalmohan Ganguli brought the house down with the names of his atrocious-sounding novels. Sample this – The Vampire of Vancouver.
The target readers of the Feluda series were children. As a result, Ray made it clear that these stories will not have romance or crime passionnel. The adventures didn’t feature female characters. I’ll come to this later.
What held me spellbound was the sheer amount of general knowledge I gathered by reading the escapades of the Bengali detective. In an era where Google was absent, how learned Ray must have been to sprinkle titbits in the tales.
I’ll share some of my favourite episodes.
The Curse of The Goddess [Chinnamasta’r Abhishaap]
I visited the temple of the headless Kali just to experience the feeling when ‘the curtain lifted to reveal Rajrappa’.
Shakuntala’s Necklace [Shakuntala’r Konthohaar]
My mother & I rejoiced at the presence of the young female character. Later, amma confessed to me how she wished for a romance to develop between Feluda & Mary Sheela Biswas. Years later, for ToI Write India S3, I spun a fictional tale about Ms Biswas following her dreams, inspired by her hero.
The Secret of the Cemetery [Gorasthane Sabdhan]
Never before was my City of Joy portrayed in such a brilliant & mysterious light. I wish I could feast my eyes on letters written in beautiful handwriting. If only Charlotte Godwin had left behind such antiques for me.
Tintorreto’s Jesus [Tintorreto’r Jishu]
I travelled with team Feluda to Hong Kong. The detective’s exceptional observation powers come to light through something seemingly insignificant as a Bengali’s eating habits. After all, which self-respecting Bong will eat the bitter shukto at the end?
Any story with Maganlal Meghraj
He was the Moriarty to Feluda’s Holmes. Utpal Dutt immortalised him on screen. Even today, as I immerse myself in the Mystery of the Elephant God or find myself in Kathmandu to track the killers, I hear the velvety voice of Dutt, speaking in Hindi-accented Bengali. That is the evergreen magic of Ray & his creation.
I can go on, but I’ll put a brake on my gushing adulation.
Adventures of Feluda triggered glorious memories in me. My weekend is set – to watch the dashing Soumitra Chatterjee as Mr Mitter & the uber-talented Santosh Dutta as Lalmohan Ganguli.
Apologies for the lengthy review. But I can’t help it. Blame it on the fangirl.