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 Ask.com (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 Sidhujyatha.com.
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.
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