In Bengali households the unwritten rule is that when a child is around eight,he reads Feluda and when he grows up to be 16 then it is time to introduce him to Byomkesh.
I tweaked the rule a bit and read my first Byomkesh novel when I was 14. It was the first adult detective series I had read and I was completely taken in by the atmosphere created by writer Saradindu Banerjee.
His stories are so intricately plotted,yet never pulpy. The cherry on the top is the characters and atmosphere that he conjures. Suddenly youll be introduced to a guy who looks like a Greek god and then he’ll smile and you can see the paan-stained teeth and in an instant he turns into a monster.
Byomkesh was completely Indian in his method and thought.
There is an instance where he solves the case by observing the sindoor on a woman’s head. Saradindu also created some really epic villains.
There have been numerous interpretations of Byomkesh in Bengali films but never in a Hindi film.
Being a Hindi filmmaker,I’m excited to introduce Byomkesh to the Hindi audience. Ive seen the TV show which was based on Byomkesh. The show is still memorable because of Rajit Kapur’s loveable screen persona.
The show narrated the stories of Byomkesh but didn’t reimagine them. I think there is space to do that and which is what I hope to do with my film.
Through this film I’ll also get a chance to recreate the old Calcutta of the ’30s and ’40s that was in Saradindus stories. In many ways,he did for Calcutta what Arthur Conan Doyle did for Victorian London. Though the story is based in 1942,it will have a contemporary take.
Incidentally,I wanted to make the Byomkesh film right after Khosla Ka Ghosla. I’m glad I didn’t make it then because I was too new and this film as I envisage it is a huge period piece. I’ve grown up as a filmmaker and can do justice to the vision of Byomkesh now.
Theres a deadly realism to Byomkesh which fascinates me. He is not James Bond-meet-street Romeo aka Pink Panther. He is a veritable detective who doesnt wear a trench coat. Detectives are currently going through an identity crisis in our cinema. They are meant to be anything from a jasoos and a spy to an agent. The term detective means an urban man gifted with detective skills of observation and intelligence. Weve never seen this in a Hindi film and that excites me.
Why Sushant Singh Rajput as Byomkesh? Since we are going back to the original story and Byomkesh’s very first case,I needed a young,inexperienced and vulnerable Byomkesh.
Youth can’t have mystique but in Sushant we have a boy who has the eyes and body that is full of mystique. Moreover,by the time the film comes out he’ll only be seen in three films so he’ll still be a bandh mutthi which works for us.
We have bought the rights of all 31 stories of Byomkesh Bakshi in all the languages except Bangla since I didnt want to rob Bengal of what is theirs.
The intention is to reboot and personify Byomkesh so that he doesn’t get diluted. Weve planned it as a genuine series. The second film is also planned but we’ll see how the first one goes.
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