US-based hi-tech entrepreneur steps in to co-produce detective film based on Satyajit Ray’s ‘Feluda’

Two new producers, one of them a US-based entrepreneur, have stepped in to fund the next feature film on Feluda, the popular detective character scripted by late movie maestro Satyajit Ray, after the original producers backed out over casting differences.

A source close to Sandip Ray told
PTI Friday that Florida-based high tech serial entrepreneur Anjan Ghosal, a family friend of the Rays and local businessman Shyam Sundar Dey will jointly produce the thriller ‘Hatyapuri’ (Murderous place) and the shooting for the movie is slated to start at the temple town and sea-resort of Puri from mid-June.

The deal was clinched on Thursday just a week after differences between the original producers SVF and the director over casting in the detective movie. Producing the movie in this year, the 100th anniversary year of the legendary movie director Satyajit Ray was particularly important for Ray officiandos. The source said popular actor Indraneil Sengupta was the choice of Sandip Ray as the new Feluda and he has been preparing for the role in past few years. SVF has been casting actor Tota Roy Chowdhury in its web movies.

The role of Feluda had been earlier essayed by actors Sabyasachi Chakraborty and Abir Chatterjee in detective movies directed by Sandip Ray, while the maestro had cast the late Soumitra Chatterjee in the role in the first two Feluda films.

“The production house (SVF) might have their own priorities over certain issues. No hurt feelings. But we wanted the decision of casting should be in the domain of the film maker,” the source added. Director-actor Abhijit Guha would be essaying the role of Lalmohan Ganguly a.k.a Jatayu, the popular comic character who is an author of a popular crime pulp fiction series. Shyamsundar Dey, whose Shadow films is co-producing the movie with Ghosal, said “we will give 100 per cent

liberty to Babuda (Sandip Ray). I had been wanting to produce his films for long.”

A spokesperson of SVF told PTI three days back, “Under the SVF banner, Feluda, based on Ray’s murder thriller Hatyapuri was gearing up to peek into the minds of the audience in a new avatar with his cousin Tapesh and their hilarious pulp fiction writer friend Jatayu this year in December. The fate of this Feluda adventure is unclear, as SVF has officially turned down the project amidst major casting issues.”

Sandip Ray and SVF had jointly declared the project in December 2021 and set a release deadline for the film during Christmas in 2022. The film maker had completed location recce for ‘Hatyapuri’ in early April. In ‘Hatyapuri’, Pradosh Chandra Mitter a.k.a Feluda visits Puri on a holiday but gets embroiled in investigating a murder that takes place in the coastal town during his stay. Sandip Ray had earlier said “someone having a combination of athleticism and sharpness in his look” would essay the role creating a buzz of speculation in Bengal where Feluda fictions are among bestsellers.

In his earlier seven Feluda films made between 2003 and 2016, Sabyasachi Chakraborty and Abir Chatterjee brought the sleuth’s character to life. A Feluda film ‘Badshahi Angti’ had been produced by SVF. Sandip Ray had merged two Feluda stories – Samaddarer Chabi and Golokdham Rahasyo – to make his last Feluda movie Double Feluda in 2016, the 50th anniversary of the birth of the fictional character. From the 35 Feluda stories penned by him, Ray had directed Sonar Kella (The Golden Fortress) in 1974 and Jai Baba Felunath (The Elephant God) in 1979.

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