Dibakar Banerjee has yet again decided to treat his fans with something out of the box and in his effort has become the first director to bring the famous Satyanweshi (detective / sleuth) Byomkesh Bakshi to Hindi cinema audience by buying the rights to all the 32 stories by Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay.
Previously during 1993, ace Filmmaker Basu Chatterjee also crafted a Television series on Byomkesh Bakshi in Hindi for Doordarshan & actor Rajit Kapoor climbed to hall of fame with his brilliant portrayal of the character, while theater actor K.K Raina acted as Byomkesh’s best friend cum assistant Ajit Bandopadhyay. The series also starred Sukanya Kulkarni as Satyaboti ( Byomkesh’s wife), who was the first actress to play the character. The series lasted for 33 episodes.
However Byomkesh first appeared in Kolkata Bengali movie in black & white format, holding the hands of the maestro Satyajit Ray & none other but the Mahanayak of Bengali cinema Uttam Kumar shouldered the responsibility of enacting the character of Satyanashi on the big screen whereas Ajit was played by Sailen Mukhopadhyay, the story chosen by Ray then was “Chiriakhana”. The film released in the year 1967.
In 1974, veteran Bengali film actress Manju Dey also tried her directorial luck on the big screen with a Byomkesh Story, titled “Sajarur Knaata”, starring Satindra Bhattacharya as Byomkesh while Ajit was repeated by Sailen Mukhopadhyay.
In the early 80s Kolkata Doordarshan produced several episodes of Byomkesh Bakshi in drama format, where Ajoy Gangopadhyay acted as Byomkesh.
Byomkesh Bakshi (2004) directed by mainstream film maker Swapan Ghosal, was the second television adaptation of the series also aired in DD Bangla channel. Actor Sudip Mukhopadhyay debuted with the role of Byomkesh Bakshi. Debdoot Ghosh played the role of Ajit & Satyaboti was played by Maitreyi Mitra.
Byomkesh (2007) directed by Swapan Ghosal who had also directed the previous series for DD Bangla collaborated with Tara Bangla Actor Saptarshi Roy who played Bakshi while Ajit was played by renowned theater actor-director Biplab Bandopadhyay.
Swapan Ghosal continued his experimentation with Byomkesh Bakshi on Big Screen in 2009 with Kolkata Bengali movie “Magno Mainaak”, where Subhrajit Dutta was chosen to play the lead and Ajit was played by a lesser known television actor.
Apart from this Swapan Ghosal film, Subhrajit Dutta also played Byomkesh Bakshi in the stage adaptation of “Aarthanartham”, directed by the famous theatre writer-actor & also the Honorable Minister of Education, Govt of West Bengal Bratya Basu.
Byomkesh Bakshi was the first installment of another Byomkesh-film-trilogy directed by singer-songwriter-actor-director Anjan Dutt and produced by R P Techvision Pvt Ltd. The film was released on 13 August 2010. This movie was scheduled to be followed by the other two film-adaptations of Chitrochor and Kohen Kobi Kalidas. The second film adaption was titled “Abar Byomkesh”, based on the story “Chitrachor”.
In the first film, Abir Chatterjee (son of veteran theatre artist Phalguni Chattopadhyay) acted as Byomkesh Bakshi while Ushoshi Chakraborty (daughter of renowned CPIM Leader Shyamal Chakraborty) played Satyboti. The character of Ajit was played by actor Saswata Chattopadhyay (son of late Subhendu Chattopadhyay). These two films have done a lot of good for Abir in Tollywood and have fetched him several big projects including Kamaleswar Mukhopadhyay’s “Megha Dhaka Tara” and Mainak Bhaumik’s “Bedroom”.
Now that Abir Chattopadhyay is all set to receive the baton of Feluda from Sabyasachi Chakraborty for the much awaited “Badshahi Aangti” to be released during the later part of 2014, Anjan Dutt is searching for a new Byomkesh. Reliable industry sources convey that Priyanshu Chattopadhyay will be seen as Byomkesh Bakshi in “Kohen Kobi Kalidas” while search for a suitable Ajit is still on.
Bengal’s most cherished filmmaker post Ray era, late Rituporno Ghosh also nurtured the dream of giving a shape to Byomkesh in his own style. First, he thought of casting Prosenjit Chatterjee as Byomkesh and Tapas Paul as Ajit but later withheld his plans, when the Bengali audience wholeheartedly accepted Abir Chattopadhyay as Byomkesh in Anjan Dutt’s “Aadim Ripu”. But when Abir chose the character of Feluda over Byomkesh, Rituporno Ghosh and Venkatesh Films promptly finalized their dream project “Satyanashi”, based on perhaps the most cinematic story of the entire series “Chorabali”. They followed this up with a masterstroke by announcing the name of Bollywood Director Sujoy Ghosh (of Kahaani Fame) as Byomkesh Bakshi and renowned lyricist, singer, composer Anindya Chattopadhyay (of Chandrabindoo Fame) as Ajit; this is the first time Ajit will be seen with beard though! But misfortune struck as our beloved Ritu da passed away just a day after the completion of the shoot. Now his creative and technical team Arghyakamal Mitra (Editor), Avik Mukhopadhyay (DOP), Sumanta Mukherjee (Chief Asst Dir) and Sujoy Ghosh himself are busy giving the final shape to Ritu da’s dream project “Chorabali”. CEO of Venkatesh Films Shrikant Mohta has already confirmed that Rituporno Ghosh’s ” Satyanashi” is going to be released on 30th August 2013.
Dibakar Banerjee’s film titled “Detective Byomkesh Bakshi” is jointly being produced by his production house and the Prestigious Yash Raj Films.
“The deal has been struck for about Rs 8-10 crore with the legitimate right holder Mr. Prabir Chakraborty, Kolkata and from now on, no one would be able to take up or use any of Byomkesh’s stories in any language except Bengali. We have bought all 32 stories. We have left Bengali out of respect to the writer and Bengali people, The idea is to ensure that no one else makes a film on Byomkesh till I am done with my franchise or series. If I don’t do that, someone else will pick up another story from the series. So there will be multiple Byomkeshs. It will ultimately be confusing and detrimental to my film and character’s image in the public’s eyes.” I am also planning to turn the stories into graphic novels. It’s a dream that we are working on. Right now, I can only say that much,” the director said. ( Source : Interview given to The Indian Express, dtd : 11th July 2013)
Set in 1942, the film, starring Sushant Singh Rajput as Byomkesh Bakshi and Dibakar’s favourite actor Abhay Deol likely to feature as the calm & cool Ajit , will show a war-torn Kolkata during the ’40s as it follows the first adventure of Byomkesh, who is fresh out of college. As gathered from Bollywood resources, Anil Kapoor will be playing a very vital character in the first story “Satyanashi” and his daughter Sonam Kapoor is shortlisted to play Satyaboti in the 2nd film, which would feature the story “Arthanartham”, in this story, Byomkesh first met Satyaboti while investigating a murder case.
The period thriller is expected to hit theatres in December 2014-15.
Article by: Sanjib Banerji
Image Credits: Google Images