The newest Byomkesh: Chamber drama or good old fashioned murder mystery? Let's find out
Can too much of a good thing be disappointing? Not for the Byomkesh phenomenon which is set to hit us yet again, just in time to make our pujas more interesting. Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay’s dhuti-clad, Bhadralok sleuth is back for another cine adaptation; this time with a story so dynamic that you may have to reset your Puja itinerary around this film.
Satyanweshi Byomkesh, the upcoming Byomkesh instalment is based on the story Magno Mainak. Not only does it feature a screenplay drafted by Anjan Dutt (who is solely responsible for re-imagining Byomkesh as the next big thing in Bengali cinema), but the role of Byomkesh Bakshi will be portrayed by Parambrata Chatterjee, who — going by the trailer — can end up being the most promising Byomkesh we’ve ever had.
Moreover, playing the role of Byomkesh’s ever-trusty companion Ajit, is Chatterjee’s friend of 17 years, Rudranil Ghosh; so we can expect the real-life camaraderie to spill over on the screen. Satyanweshi Byomkesh revolves around a murder mystery but has a streamlined focus on the political scenario of the time, and we are told, the film is much more dynamic and high-octane than any of the earlier renditions.
This is also the first Byomkesh film to be helmed by a millennial director - Sayantan Ghosal has already directed Byomkesh in the webspace and is very familiar with the mystery/crime oeuvre (having directed Jawker Dhan and its upcoming sequel). He is essentially taking over the reins of a canon which has been brought to life by some of the most prolific filmmakers, from the late Rituparno Ghosh to Anjan Dutt; for Ghosal, Satyanweshi Byomkesh could be the film which defines his filmography.
Satyanweshi Byomkesh is like fusion cuisine because we find the distinct moody element featured in Anjan Da's Byomkesh films. And then again, we have my team behind it, which consists of a younger crew, we all belong to the era of Netflix, our interpretations are fresher, our edit patterns are different, the way we execute the technicalities is also new. This film will have a tremendous appeal for the youth, it's fast-paced, it's modern, despite having classical touches.
I was reading somewhere that Anjan Da apparently didn't let me do anything except yell out 'action' and 'cut'. That's somewhat true - we have such incredible actors, I feel like I didn't have to do much! (laughs)
“I’ve played and directed Feluda for the webspace, I've played Topshe for a long time and with Byomkesh I feel like I’ve come full circle (laughs). And I feel the chamber drama element that’s so core to Anjan Da’s Gharana of Byomkesh films, that has been used heavily in this film. And with a new director, we always see an entirely different perspective, a fresh approach.
And I have with me my friend of 17 years, Rudranil Ghosh, whom I have known for a very long time, and we’ve have been through a whole lot together and we have shared many films and many memories together. And I think it’s such a wonderful coincidence and such luck that he is playing Ajit to my Byomkesh. And we have Anjan Dutt on board, who is the man responsible for bringing the Byomkesh much closer to the Bengali audiences, that’s incredible.
Personally I've always wanted to see how his friendship with Ajit makes Byomkesh more humane and how their interactions actually make him much more discerning; I played a crucial role in Anjan Da's first Byomkesh movie, and I noticed this in that film as well. In the last few years, most of the Byomkesh films have given this relationship a 'Bhanu Goenda, Jahar Assistant' dynamic. The space to explore their friendship was missing, we couldn't find the quintessential, intellectually enriching Bengali friendship, which actually made the Byomkesh series so different from other hardened, gritty sleuth novels.
In fact, during the shoot, Anjan da reminded us that Param and I are old friends, but Byomkesh and Ajit had been friends for even longer. Anjan Da's screenplay captures that relationship and the spirit, it's a powerful, consciously-drafted script.
I feel great that what I started off once has been taken further by so many people and it saw a lot of success. I'm not a director in the film, I'm merely an advisor, I've handled the screenplay. A lot has been said about how we have too many versions of Byomkesh - ‘eto Byomkesh, ki hocche’ (so much Byomkesh, what’s going on?), this debate will go on. But I have lived with Byomkesh for a long time, and I've read the literary work very closely; I have to point out that Byomkesh has many sides, he has many selves.
I feel different actors bought out a different self of Byomkesh, be it Uttam Kumar or Abir, or Dhritiman babu (Chatterjee) or Jisshu (Sengupta). Parambrata's Byomkesh will see an entirely different side of the detective, and that self is my favourite one. He's a young, exuberant, politically-proactive Byomkesh, which I feel we've not seen as of now. He's not just a sleuth, but he represents a very crucial side to the Bengali psyche
In Satyanweshi Byomkesh, I play the role of Sukumari, who’s a kirtan singer in the main story, but here she sings ghazals. I feel that side of my character will come off as really interesting to the viewers. I love how the character has been given so many shades in the script. Sayantan is a very intelligent director. And I have always wanted to work with newer filmmakers, but the way Sayantan works, I've never felt he is a newbie.