Character[ edit ] Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay's most well known fictional character Byomkesh Bakshi first appeared as a character in the story Satyanweshi The Inquisitor. The story is set in in the Chinabazar area of Kolkata where a 'non-government detective' Byomkesh Bakshi, owing to the permission from the police commissioner, starts living in a mess in that area under the pseudonym of Atul Chandra Niyogi to probe a series of murders. Most of the stories are written from the point of view of Ajit Bandhopadhay, who meets Byomkesh in the mess at Chinabazar. It is Byomkesh who later requests Ajit to live with him at his three-story rented house at Harrison Road as his assistant and chronicler.
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The serial—despite poor production values—was immensely popular and has since been rerun by Doordarshan many times. All the episodes are available on YouTube, and a random check indicates that they get a respectable number of views. Certainly for many people who watched the serial when it was first broadcast, the actor Rajit Kapur has become identified with the fictional Bengali detective for all time to come. However, Byomkesh disliked being called a detective. He preferred the term satyanweshi, meaning seeker of truth.
The film is slated for release in February but more about Bakshy later. Byomkesh first appeared in the short story Satyanveshi in Over the next 38 years, Saradindu Bandopadhyay wrote 32 more stories—including several novellas—featuring his hero. Unfortunately, he died before he could complete the last one, Bishupal Badh The Killing of Bishupal , and so perfect seems the murder described in that story that I know no one who has come up with a plausible solution.
Saradindu-babu took that secret with him. However, there is a crucial difference between the two. The Feluda stories were written for teenagers; so Ray had to work within a set bandwidth—no crime could have a sexual angle to it Ray even complained that this significantly restricted his freedom to plot the stories.
Saradindu-babu wrote for adults. The mysteries that confront Byomkesh quite often hinge around lust, adultery, promiscuity, even incest. So, the annals of Byomkesh should be viewed in the context of the works of the international masters of mature detective fiction, such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Raymond Chandler.
Having read all of Byomkesh, all of Sherlock Holmes and all Philip Marlowe novels by Chandler and all of them several times , I can confidently assert that at his best, Saradindu-babu was as good as anyone in the world working this genre.
Like Conan Doyle, he wanted at some point of time to retire his sleuth. Public outrage forced him to bring Holmes back to life. Saradindu-babu, as he revealed in a interview, was a much kinder man. He married Byomkesh off an almost unheard-of thing for detectives across the world in only his tenth outing, and thought that was the end of it.
But on a visit to Calcutta, he discovered that Bengalis still hankered for his hero; graciously, he returned to Byomkesh and stayed with him till the end of his life. In the same interview, he worried about Byomkesh—he was now 60 years old 10 years younger than his creator ; and though still mentally and physically fit, he would like to retire, but was helpless as long as a vast number of Bengali readers kept wanting more of him. And Saradindu-babu could not let them down. This is the other interesting aspect of the Byomkesh stories.
He is very clearly situated historically. Exceptions are two films made by the multi-faceted Anjan Dutta , and the third one is releasing in two weeks time I have seen only the first one, based on Adim Ripu, but both films were big hits. However, it was a film Ray made reluctantly. His assistants had bought the rights to the Byomkesh novella, but lost their confidence at the last minute, and pleaded with Ray to take charge.
He knew it, and refused to put it on the international circuit. He also may not have been well-acquainted with the Byomkesh stories, since in the film, it is Ajit who is married, and Byomkesh is a bachelor In the very second paragraph of the first Byomkesh story, Ajit tells the reader that he has determined to stay a lifelong bachelor—which he does, and as we know, Byomkesh was a family man. Saradindu-babu was apparently outraged when he watched Chiriakhana.
Even Ajit sported a tie and a zari-spotted shirt that no one in the world in the s would have been caught dead wearing. Obviously trying to ape the original BBC Holmes TV serial of the s not the recent one starring Benedict Cumberbatch , some ignorami have put Byomkesh and Ajit in a study with a big table with some faux-antique stuff on it.
Evoking the period! Well, good for them, if it gets the TRPs, and I suspect that anything on Bengali television with Byomkesh in its title will get a large viewership. Anyway, literary works being mauled by their cinematic interpreters is nothing new.
Which brings me to Detective Byomkesh Bakshy. Yash Raj Films with, I presume, Dibakar Banerjee, who is a co-producer has bought the rights to all the Byomkesh stories for all Indian languages except Bengali. The teaser-trailer indicates that Banerjee is intent on making a lavish period film that recreates Calcutta, including the Japanese bombing of its port. The trailer also appears to indicate that Chinese residents of Calcutta play a crucial part in the film.
This seems to have nothing to do with the original stories. This is an astonishing departure from what we know of the Byomkesh of the printed word, but we should accept that too. Someone has put a hell of a lot of money behind this character, so I suppose we should be happy. The IMDb. I wonder what Saradindu-babu would have thought of that, but if our Byomkesh becomes a Bond-like franchise, I have no problems.
If Yash Raj and Banerjee can turn Byomkesh into a global or at the very least, a national multi-lingual franchise, we should rejoice. To put it very simply, at least people will know about a Bengali called Byomkesh.
The story is set in in the Chinabazar area of Kolkata where a 'non government detective' Byomkesh Bakshi on the permission of the police commissioner starts living in a mess in that area under the pseudonym of Atul Chandra Mitra to probe a series of murders. Most of the stories are written by Sharadindu under the pen name of Ajit who is said to have met Byomkesh in the mess at Chinabazar. Byomkesh Bakshi is described in Satyanweshi as "a man of twenty three or twenty four years of age who looked well educated. The only other person living with him, is his attendant, Putiram. At the request of Byomkesh, Ajit starts living at the house with them. It is also mentioned that Byomkesh did not like being called a detective, and the word 'investigator' was even more worse.
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