Exactly fifty years ago, the maestro Satyajit Ray created Pradosh C. Mitter aka Feluda. The six-foot, dapper detective who possessed the most brilliant of minds, made his ever-lasting appearance fifty years ago and has lived with us ever since. His profound interest in trivia, unconventional ways of solving the mystery and of course, dry wit left us all mesmerized.
In the last 50 years, we have seen Pradosh C.Mitter in books, graphic novel adaptations, radio plays, theatres, televisions and not to forget, in blockbuster films wherein the great actors such as Shashi Kapoor, Soumitra Chatterjee, Sabyasachi Chakrabarty and Abir Chatterjee have played the immortal character of Feluda.
The other characters of Felu Mitter have been crafted beautifully as well. Topshe, the cousin of Feluda who does what Watson does for Sherlock Holmes (fun fact: the character of Feluda was inspired by Sherlock Holmes about whom Satyajit Ray read in his school days) and the very Bengali writer, Lalmohan Ganguli aka Jatayu who fills the space with his much needed comic antics, are perfectly molded for every setting of the stories of the sleuth.
Not to mention the villains of Feluda who turn out to be the simple yet the most complex people at the same time.
Feluda didn’t just give you the excitement of reading a thriller book; it gave you more than that. It gave you the thirst for expanding your knowledge beyond what was written in the book. If Feluda went to a city of Lucknow, you did not just read about the mystery that Feluda solved, you also discovered the history that the city carries with itself, for as long as the story remains, you will roam around in the streets of Lucknow with Feluda, discovering it in the process.
Feluda does not teach, it makes you want to know more.
Like in any other story, when in Shakuntala’s necklace Feluda said “We now raise the curtain. At seven o’ clock this evening, in Jayant Biswas’s, all will be revealed.” you were as excited as I was. You knew something unexpected was going to happen. You must have anticipated something but in your heart, you knew that a twisted ending awaits you. You must have had your share of Enid Blyton’s books, Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew but none of them invoked the emotions like Felu Mitter did. He seemed familiar.
He was just another Bengali youth with an exceptional mind. The heydays of Felu Mitter might have been over but one cannot deny the long lasting imprint that the sleuth has etched on our minds. He was our first childhood crush and we all wanted to be like him. So whenever you want to take a trip down the memory lane, you know where he lives, 21 Rajani Sen Road, Ballygunge, Kolkata.