Two Reviews from Shahrear Amin
Sherlock Holmes in India!
Detective books take critical thinking to an utter new level. We grew up hearing about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famous fictional character Sherlock Holmes. 221B Baker Street was a trademark of detective ideologies. Satyajit Ray was a practitioner of western literature and culture. He was altogether a package of art. He was a prominent film maker of 20th century. Born in Calcutta, India, he also wrote literary books and made music. He followed western films while making films. He must have thought of making our own detective character. Feluda is the one.
Feluda or Prodosh Chandra Mitra is an Indian by birth and grew up in Calcutta. He is a private detective to solve cases. The character is accompanied by two other characters, Tapesh Ranjan Mitra (Tapshe) and Lalmohon Ganguli (Jatayu), who are more likely to apprentices. Kolkatay Feluda is a collection of stories. It contains nine stories. In every story Feluda is seen solving cases. Tapshe is his favourite companion. Tapshe is taught the ways of a detective. Jatayu is mainly a story writer and looks for stories throughout the voyage with Feluda. It is almost similar to the character of Dr. Watson in Sherlock Holmes. Satyajit Ray here tried to portray himself as a detective. The characteristics of Feluda are mostly similar to his. Even the book cover tells it. Pose of Feluda holding a cigarette signifies him. Also, Feluda is clever and filled with wit like him. It is a teen thriller. But adults are also seen enjoying this book. There are also some other stories of Feluda. He went out of his country to solve cases. He is admired by a lot of people. But the nine stories this book contains are all incidents that Feluda tackled in Calcutta. A reader is provoked to think critically throughout a story. The stories are full of suspense. Feluda is our first fictional detective character.
Language of the stories is very clear. Reader will not face any difficulties while reading. Though the stories were written in the 20th century, use of technology was not prominent here. Even today at the 21st century, teenagers read this book. Some films were also made based on the stories of Feluda. But, in some stories the situation was not perfectly described. Thus the reader must depend on his/her imagination skill.
And also some stories are filled with characters. It gets confusing at some points who is who. But it might be the demand of that story. To make a story more critical the writer has used characters so as to make illusion in readers' mind. It also helps to create suspense. Satyajit Ray had interest in Sherlock Holmes. So in some cases Feluda may have some reflections of Sherlock. So to defend this the writer even included Sherlock as the role model for Feluda who puts an end to all kinds of controversies.