Royal Bengal Rahasya


Slick thriller

Story: Satyajit Ray

Screenplay, Music and Direction: Sandip Ray

Director of Photography: Sasanko Palit

Cast: Sabyasachi Chakraborty, Bibhu Bhattacharya, Shaheb Bhattacharya, Bhaswar Chatterjee, Basudeb Mukherjee, Debesh Roychoudhury, Sanjit Sarkar, Paran Bandopadhyay and Biplab Chatterjee

Acclaimed filmmaker Sandip Ray has made several movies on Feluda, the famous detective character created by his father Satyajit Ray. In Royal Bengal Rahasya, the director takes us into the deep forests of North Bengal where Feluda has to solve a mystery about a hidden treasure, which is left behind by an ancestor of Mahitosh Singha Roy, the local landlord. Singha Roy has a fetish for hunting and has also penned a book on his hunting expeditions.

The film offers a picturesque panorama of the forests filled with deadly snakes, wild birds and a dreaded Royal Bengal Tiger on the prowl to pounce on the next victim. It is rare to watch a film shot in a jungle in Bengali cinema.

Immediately after Feluda's visit to Singha Roy's palace, the landlord's soft-spoken secretary is found dead. Is it a murder, a suicide or an accident? Singha Roy is more interested in finding the hidden treasure than in solving the mysterious death of his secretary. However, Feluda is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery. While solving these two mysteries, he unfolds several others. Both reveal that Mahitosh Singha Roy is not the man he appears to be because his hunting was done by his friend Sasanka while his books were penned by his sharp and intelligent secretary. His older brother Debatosh, who is on the verge of madness, gives certain hints to solve the riddle.

Sandip Ray, a master at creating the right ambience that merges with the characters, has done the same for Royal Bengal Rahasya. However, computer-generated images of animals take away the magic and mystery. Satyajit Ray's Feluda theme enhances the atmosphere. The most outstanding feature of the film is Paran Bandopadhay's portrayal as Debatosh who is not as crazy as his brother would have one believe. Sabyasachi has grown into the character of Feluda save for the fact that he looks too old to play the detective any more. Bhaswar Chatterjee as the soft-spoken secretary is subtle and low-key in a brief role while Shaheb Bhattacharya as Topshe and the late Bibhu Bhattacharya as the nave and funny thriller writer Jatayu are very good. Basudeb Mukherjee too, lives up the proud, arrogant character of Mahitosh Singha Roy especially towards the end when his secret is out.

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