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Soumitra Chatterjee is the ultimate Feluda to me: Indraneil Sengupta ahead of Nayan Rahasya release
Feluda
Image by Avishek Mitra/IBNS

Soumitra Chatterjee is the ultimate Feluda to me: Indraneil Sengupta ahead of Nayan Rahasya release

| @indiablooms | 07 May 2024, 03:10 pm

Indian actor Indraneil Sengupta, who made his Feluda debut with Hatyapuri in 2022, is back as the popular fictional sleuth created by Satyajit Ray with Sandip Ray's Nayan Rahasya. In an interaction with IBNS correspondent Souvik Ghosh, Indraneil speaks on his journey as Feluda, Nayan Rahasya and more...

Q. Was it comparatively easier to act in Nayan Rahasya, which is your second venture as Feluda, compared to Hatyapuri?

A. I think work remains the same. We actors give one-hundred percent to every film and role. In Hatyapuri, it was a challenge to emerge as Feluda onscreen. I felt the pressure of whether the audience would accept me as Feluda or not. Going by the audience's response, the pressure is much less now. In Nayan Rahasya, I could only concentrate on my work rather than thinking about whether the audience will accept it or not.

Q. How much did you have to work on your language, since you have mostly worked in Hindi?

A. I had to work during Hatyapuri, actually. I am a Bengali but I stay mostly in Mumbai where I speak in English and Hindi largely. I hardly have any Bengali friends in Mumbai so I remain kind of out of practice in Bengali speaking there. On the contrary, Feluda is a complete Bengali person and his language is traditional Bengali. I had to work hard on my Bengali during Hatyapuri. For about six months, I tried to avoid watching Hindi and English films and instead read books, listening to music, and watching films in Bengali. I stayed in Kolkata even prior to the shooting dates and interacted with Bengali people to get into the Bengali ecosystem.

In Nayan Rahasya, I didn't have to work on Bengali that much because I feel I have embraced Bengali a lot as such in my life. So I didn't have to follow the method but the process will continue. I can't compare my Bengali speaking skills to people who live in Kolkata because I haven't grown up here.

Image by Avishek Mitra/IBNSImage by Avishek Mitra/IBNS

Q. You had approached Sandip Ray to play Feluda initially. What prompted you to do so?

A. I have been reading Feluda since my childhood but Byomkesh much later in life. Though I liked both the detective characters, I couldn't imagine myself as Byomkesh ever. For whatever reason, I feel Feluda's Bengali culture is more urbane than Byomkesh. I felt Feluda was achievable for me.

In 2009, when I started working in Kolkata, Soumitra Chatterjee was the first one to suggest that I approach Sandip Ray with a wish to play Feluda. But I am very shy by nature and can't approach people. I took a lot of time to approach Babu-da. But unfortunately I couldn't make it to the final selection to play Feluda as the role went to Abir Chatterjee then. I was upset, honestly, because I felt Abir from our generation would succeed Sabyasachi Chakraborty as Feluda. In that scenario, I would have no other chance.

Even I couldn't get a chance to play Feluda for the second time because of some contractual issues as I was essaying another popular sleuth (Kiriti Roy) on big screens. Since 2016, I have been waiting to play Feluda which materialised after the pandemic.

Q. Do you read the texts before playing Feluda?

A. Yes, yes, I read books. Feluda can be re-read many times. Moreover, I read books before the script. I think this process is the same for all.

Q. Do you have any favourite Feluda film?

A. Soumitra Chatterjee is the ultimate Feluda to me because he was the first one to essay. Sonar Kella and Joy Baba Felunath will remain closest to my heart. But of course Benu-da (Sabyasachi Chakraborty) has also delivered some of the memorable Feluda films.

Q. Why did you say in a previous interview that playing Sandip Ray's Feluda is your achievement?

A. I have always maintained that I won't play Feluda on any other platform. I will only venture into any other platform as Feluda if Babu-da makes it or permits me. I feel Indraneil Sengupta as Feluda completely belongs to Sandip Ray. I will be loyal to him. After Satyajit Ray, the only person who has known, seen and grown up with Feluda is Sandip Ray. No matter whatever some intellectuals say, no one knows Feluda better than Sandip Ray. I am proud to play Sandip Ray's Feluda because it's the purest of all.

Moreover, Babu-da stuck to his original cast even after a fiasco over it and made sure that the same cast goes on to play the respective roles in Feluda. I don't see any reason why I would not stand with Babu-da at any point of my life. So I am absolutely indebted and loyal to Babu-da in terms of Feluda.

Image by Avishek Mitra/IBNSImage by Avishek Mitra/IBNS

Q. Do you fear getting typecast into detective roles in Bengali film circuit since you mostly work in Hindi?

A. I never actually felt it. Luckily, I am still getting offers for diverse roles in both Hindi and Bengali after Feluda. Even I won't agree to play a detective role other than Feluda. I am open to playing a cop or a CID officer type of detective but won't dilute my image as Feluda, which has remained my dream role. I am also not that greedy.

The only thing about typecasting is I get offers to play only urban roles. I am keen to explore rural characters as well. I would like to play a role that is more rooted to the earth.

Q. In Hindi, you recently caught the limelight starring in Sushmita Sen's Aarya. How was that experience?

A. It was a wonderful experience. It was my first work with Ram Madhavani. None can believe how professional the production house is. It's very planned. I enjoyed shooting for the series a lot.

Though I didn't have many scenes with Sushmita Sen, it was easy to work with her. She is always charming and makes everyone feel nice. Since she has played Aarya for three seasons, Sushmita Sen knows the role to the core (laughs). It was fun. It was also very courageous of her to come back from the health scare and pull it off.

(Images by Avishek Mitra/IBNS)


The writer is a Kolkata-based entertainment, sports and political correspondent with IBNS. He can be reached on thisissouvikghosh@gmail.com

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