Fund-starved documentary on Satyajit Ray’s Feluda pins hope on crowd-funding

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June 1967 file photo of Satyajit Ray, a film-maker from India. (Photo courtesy: Associated Press)

Kolkata– The makers of a documentary that pays tribute to the fictional detective Feluda, created by auteur Satyajit Ray over 50 years ago, are raising funds through crowd-funding to wrap up the venture in time for a screening at the New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF).

Documentary maker Sagnik Chatterjee has launched a crowd-funding bid to raise Rs 15 lakh (post-production) on the online crowd-funding portal Wishberry to finish his three year old project “Feluda: 50 Years of Ray’s Detective.”

He says: “This 111-minute documentary film will be the first Indian documentary that will pay a tribute to a fictional detective character created by Satyajit Ray over 50 years ago.”

June 1967 file photo of Satyajit Ray, a film-maker from India. (Photo courtesy: Associated Press)

“A lot of people have been able to earn their livelihood because of the stories and films on Feluda. So when we ran out of funds to finish this film, it made sense for us to reach out to the people that Feluda has completed his 50 years’ journey with,” Chatterjee says.

The team comprises of Chatterjee and cinematographer Subodh Karve.

With 29 days to go, Rs 3.77 lakh have been raised so far. As many as 87 have backed the initiative.

Revolving around the 27-year-old athletic Pradosh Chandra Mitter, nicknamed Feluda, the novellas showcase the private eye’s superb analytical and observational skills to dig out clues that ultimately lead to a solution of the mysteries — be it murders, theft or kidnapping.

“We’re working on a very tight timeline because we have been selected to premiere this film at New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF) at the end of April. So we’ll need to finish everything before that,” Chatterjee said referring to the risks and challenges of the project.

He says people should fund this venture “purely to preserve the legacy of this detective.”

“Satyajit Ray has never been truly explored as a writer and illustrator like he has been as a filmmaker,” says Chatterjee.

Chatterjee hopes to release the film on May 2, 2018 which is Ray’s birthday, on a larger scale.

Said to have been modelled on Sherlock Holmes, the cigarette-smoking and martial art-trained Feluda is accompanied in his sleuthing pursuits by cousin, Tapesh Ranjan Mitra or Topshe, who is the narrator of the stories and may have been loosely based on character of Dr. John Watson.

Ray also brings in a character from his sixth novella onward called Jatayu (Lal Mohon Ganguly), a writer of thriller novels who provides much-loved comic relief.

Feluda possesses a .32 Colt revolver but rarely uses it.

Since the first Feluda whodunit ‘Feludar Goyendagiri’ (Feluda’s investigation) debuted in December 1965 in the ‘Sandesh’ magazine, the series have been translated in four Indian languages besides English, French, Italian, Swedish, German and Japanese.

The books have spawned hit films, animations and comics and the character has attained cult status among old and young alike. (IANS)

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