There seems to be a gross misconception when it comes to detective fiction. More than often it is freely interchanged with the idea of a thriller, which it is absolutely NOT. Furthermore, when it comes to Bengalis, they have forever deemed it as a ‘less-serious’ brand of fiction and thanks to the popularity of Satyajit Ray’s Feluda, even as adolescent literature or Chhotoder Golpo! Thus, Sharadindu Bandopadhyay’s Byomkesh Bakshi is the last and only resort of the Bengali argument about serious detective fiction for matured readers. And it comes as no surprise that Bengali cinema and Television, both having hit the rock bottom of creativity and imagination have turned to this conservative male messiah with regressive ideals (the sexism in the stories often borderlines on misogyny) and right wing allegiance (flaunting his close association with Vallabhbhai Patel).
The latest director to jump on the already crowded Byomkesh Wagon is Arindam Sil with his upcoming release ‘Har Har Byomkesh’. The film marks the return of Abir Chaterjee in the eponymous role with Ritwik Chakraborty, the most sought after actor in Bengali Cinema, playing Ajit.
The trailer of the film or rather it is more apt to call it a minute long teaser tries to deviate from the path of the standard trailer template of contemporary Bengali films which usually attempt to crystallize the entire film within a duration of 3-4 minutes. This one, on the other hand, shows a lot but reveals nothing. The film is apparently set in Varanasi, but the information only comes in dialogue as the images do not seem invested in the space so much as introducing the new cast and flaunting the presence of actors like Adil Hussain, Nusrat Jahan and Harsh Chhaya. The rest of it is a lot of verbosity which divulge information about WW II, a rare South American Poison, and the idea of a truth seeker (Satyanweshi) and reminds us that the story is taking place in Varanasi. The mansions, the arches, the glimpse of river in one shot, the Kotha are nothing that cannot be created and shot in Kolkata studios. It’d have been interesting to see some real Varanasi being explored! There is also an over abundance of mid shots and interior scenes which have been the curse of Bengali films in the recent years. In fact, in an attempt to keep the suspense alive, the trailer has offered nothing but an opulent production design.
Yes, there is one gun shot in the dark. But that is not nearly enough to promise a decent detective film.
Arup Ratan Samajdar