Category Archives: Baksho Rahasya – the dangers of modernizing Feluda’s world

In an earlier review of how Sandip Ray’s cinematic version of Tintorettor Jishu stacks up against the book, I pointed out the extensive  makeover that Feluda has undergone since the Seventies. In Sandip Ray’s Feluda films, Lalmohan Ganguly’s green Ambassador has given way to a green Hyundai Santro. Characters move about in the present day. As Sandip Ray mentioned in an interview with the Telegraph taken during the shooting of Tintorettor Jishu, even though Feluda himself does not use a cell-phone, others around him do. I think this transition to modernity is a very bold move.

Sandip Ray has made clear his desire to make a film based on Gorosthane Shabdhan! in modern Kolkata. As I review in my commentary of this book, in the middle of the adventure, Feluda is entrusted with finding out exactly what a Perigal Repeater is. As customary in many of the Feluda stories, he seeks information from Sidhu Jyatha. In this case, Sidhu Jyatha cannot help him out because he doesn’t know the answer to his question. Feluda, Topshe, Jotayu, and the readers have to find out the hard way and it is an enriching experience!

The use of Sidhu Jyatha as a reliable compendium of information works brilliantly in a world that predates the internet. Sidhu Jyatha becomes anachronistic and redundant in today’s world – the world of internet search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo. In my opinion, this is the primary danger that Sandip Ray faces in completely updating the series. It took me under five minutes to find out what a Perigal Repeater was from Google. Do we want Feluda to live in a world where antiquated books can be accessed through Google Books and up-to-date maps through Google Maps thereby making travel through time and space essentially an armchair feat?

What would be the role of Sidhu Jyatha as a  purveyor of rare information? Would he be asked to peer through well-worn volumes of newspapers clippings or would Feluda do a search for articles by year on Google News instead?!

Of course, in a world filled with “crowd-sourcing”,  Sidhu Jyatha might be a contemporary equivalent of Yahoo Answers or (formerly better known as “Ask Jeeves” and named after the fictional valet of Bertie Wooster from P.G. Wodehouse’s works). Sidhu Jyatha could provide expert insight along with opinion through his website

Still, one cannot help but be anguished by the role that Sidhu Jyatha would play brushing shoulders against members of Generation X and Y who tread easily on the information superhighway.

©2010-2012 All rights reserved.


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Feluda Quiz 3 – Actors in Feluda films (ছায়াছবিতে ফেলুদা)

This is the third part of a series of trivia quizzes on Feluda films and stories. The first and second quizzes  were on specific books and films.  We will return to the other stories and films in subsequent quizzes, but this one is on characters in the Feluda films (from Sonar Kella to Tintorettor Jishu). We hope you enjoy this set of questions as much as the others.


1. Saswata Chatterjee and Parambrata Chatterjee are the two actors that have played the role of Topshe (তপসে) in the Sandip Ray Feluda films. Can you name the actor who was Topshe in Satyajit Ray’s two Feluda films?

2. Three actors have played the role of Tosphe and Jotayu (জটায়ু) in the Bengali cinematic releases. Three actors have also played the part of Sidhu Jyatha (সিধুজ্যাঠা). Can you name the three actors who played the part of Sidhu Jyatha in Sonar Kella, Baksho Rahasya, and Kailashe Kelenkari?

3.  Can you name the Bollywood actor who was originally considered for the part of Feluda in the Hindi series Satyajit Ray Presents?

4. I mentioned that three Bengali actors have played the part of Jotayu in the Bengali cinematic releases. Baksho Rahasya was a part of the Feluda 30 series aired on Indian television in 1996 before making a limited cinematic debut. Who was another actor that played the part of Jotayu in Feluda 30?

5. Satyajit Ray had a combination of four actors in his mind for Feluda according to a report published in The Telegraph in 2008. One them, was of course Soumitra Chatterjee. Who were the other three?


1. Siddhartha Chatterjee. (All three Topshes are Chatterjees)

2. Harindranath Chattopadhyay in Sonar Kella, Ajit Bandyopadhyay in Baksho Rahasya, and Haradhan Bandopadhyay in Kailashe Kenenkari.

3. Amitabh Bachchan, read about it in Sandip Ray’s Aami aar Feluda (আমি আর ফেলুদা) and in this excellent blog-post by Nirmalya Nag.

4. Anup Kumar who was followed by Bibhu Bhattacharya

5.  Dhritiman Chatterji, Barun Chanda, and Subhendu Chatterjee. Read all about it in this article entitled “Feluda Phenomenon” in The Telegraph.

©2010-2012 All rights reserved.

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Feluda Quiz 2 – Baksho Rahasya (বাক্স রহস্য)

This is the second part of a series of trivia quizzes on Feluda films and stories. The first quiz was on the film and the book Tintorettor Jishu.  If you’ve seen the film or read the book, Baksho Rahasya, you should be able to answer most of the questions in this quiz.


1. Whose briefcase got exchanged with Feluda’s client Dinanath Lahiri’s similar-looking briefcase? Where did he live?

2. Who was the author of the travelogue on Tibet that Mr. Lahiri was reading on the Kalka Mail? What was the name of this travelogue?

3. What was the name of the book bought from Wheeler’s found in the briefcase that Mr. Lahiri ended up with?

4. What was the animal that Prokhor Rudra fought with at the North Pole in Jotayu’s novel released just before meeting Feluda and Topshe in Baksho Rahasya?

5. Who played the role of Sidhu Jyatha in the film version? (Hint: He shares his name with a famous fictional character in the Byomkesh Bakshi detective series).

6. What was the screen name of Dinanath Lahiri’s nephew, Prabir Lahiri who had an unsuccessful career in films?

7. What was the prized weapon of Lalmohan Ganguly (Jotayu) in Baksho Rahasya?

8. Chowringhee, Park Street, Theatre Road, and Lower Circular Road were all marked on the map of Kolkata found in the briefcase that Mr. Lahiri was left with after the exchange. What did Feluda find common to these locations?

9. What game was Naresh Pakrashi fond of playing?

10. At one point in the novel Lalmohan Ganguly wrongly states the proverb, “Truth is stranger than fiction.” What does he say?


1. G.C. Dhameeja, resident at the “Nook”, Wild Flower Hall, in Shimla.

2. Shambhoo Churn Bose. The travelogue was titled A Bengalee in Lamaland. You will find the title in the book and not in the film.

3. In the book it was Ellery Queen’s The Door Between. In the film, it was Agatha Christie’s They Do It With Mirrors. I suspect that Sandip Ray might have had a hard time finding a copy of Ellery Queen’s book for the film.

4. It was a hippopotamus (জলহস্তী). Jotayu made a mistake in translating “walrus” into Bengali.

5. Ajit Bandyopadhyay (yes, the same name as the faithful friend of Byomkesh!)

6. Amar Kumar

7. A boomerang, which Lalmohanbabu claims always hit a target and came back to the thrower.

8. At each of the marked destinations on the map was a hotel.

9. Chess

10.  Truth is stronger than fiction.

©2010-2012 All rights reserved.

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