Darjeeling Jomjomat: Assessing the accuracy of Feluda on OTT
In her Essay 'Feluchand,' Lila Majumdar once wrote, “Even the unlettered also know Feluda, because they can watch him on screen."
That was the time when Satyajit Ray has already made two Feluda films, and after his death, his son Sandwip Ray was making some more. So, people who were not introduced to Feluda through books had the chance to experience him in the theatre or on TV.
However, since then, besides Sandwip Ray himself, many directors attempted to bring Feluda to life on screens, and Srijit Mukherjee is the latest name added to the list. Yes, the recently released 'Feludar Goyendagiri Season 1: Darjeeling Jomjomat' has Srijit Mukherjee as his director. The series is an adaptation of Satyajit Ray’s novel, 'Darjeeling Jawmjomat.'
The story is pretty simple. Feluda, Topshe and Jatayu, the Three Musketeers, go to Darjeeling on a special occasion, the shooting of the Bollywood adaptation of Jatayu’s novel. However, there, a retired banker named Birupaksha Majumdar gets assassinated brutally. And as usual, Feluda starts the investigation.
Now, coming to the point, how accurate was Feluda in this OTT version? Contemporarily, how accurate were the others?
Well, Srijit Mukherjee is worthy of getting claps in some cases for his vision and implementation. For example, the director tried to catch the exact moments Satyajit Ray has illustrated in Feluda's books, which can be said to be brilliant. Srijit also tried to maintain maximum accuracy in the casting of artists. The background score is also good. But, is the portrayal accurate enough?
There are two scenes, where Feluda can be seen doing yoga. From the book, almost all the readers know that Feluda has a fit, well-maintained body. But in this case, Tota Roychowdhury seems to have a bit more structured physique in contrast to other Feludas like Soumitra Chatterjee or Sabyasachi Chakraborty.
At some points, it feels like, to maintain such a physique, a guy needs to concentrate more on physical exercises rather than mental ones. Maintaining physique is a small part of Feluda’s lifestyle, which seems to be a denied concept here.
Also, Feluda here is seen to have a ridiculous perspective of Jatayu, more than he has in the books. Sometimes, that gives a feeling of humiliation, which is concretely against the character of Feluda.
Topshe is the narrator in all the Feluda stories, so his parts in the series should have been more tactful. But Kalpan Mitra is barely seen to have active participation in the flow of events.
Lalmohan Ganguly aka Jatayu is played by Anirban Chakraborty, who previously was seen playing the role of another famous detective of Bengali literature, Ekendra Sen aka Eken Babu in other web series and movies. And in this series, he can be found very Eken-ish. Just like Eken Babu, he seems to be childish, emotional, and in particular scenes, namby-pamby.
Besides, in 3 or 4 scenes, the location and frame angle completely matches those from the recently released movie, 'The Eken,' which pushes the performance of Anirban in 'Darjeeling Jomjomat' to be more Eken-ish.
The art direction and set design also hurt the series. During Darjeeling days, Feluda is seen wearing sports hoodies and joggers for exercise, which was not a trendy jogging outfit in the mid-’80s. The colour-grading also contains no vibe for the series to defend its period.
The two characters Rajat Bose and Rajen Raina have such poor makeup that their false hair (wigs) are very much visible, which is surely a negative point for the demonstration of their characters.
To conclude, this new Feluda series is a good treat for both the beginners and those fans of Feluda who were eagerly waiting for a movie or series. But, if compared with the imaginary Feluda, Topshe and Jatayu, the ones from the series can be said to be a bit dissatisfactory.
However, the initiative was good, and the viewers will surely be looking forward to seeing better seasons of this Feluda in the upcoming years.