Touquir Ahmed is creating a Bangladeshi Feluda and here’s your first look!

For any book-lover Bengali, from this side of the border or the other, the name Satyajit Ray is one that’s very close to the heart. His short stories, novels, horrors, thrillers- they’ve all been a huge part of all our childhood. And the largest of them all is the hero we all looked up to growing up, Pradosh Chandra Mitra, or who we know him more as, Feluda.

Soumitra Chatterjee was the very first portrayal of Feluda on the silver screens

Read more: Is Feluda coming to Hollywood?

A Bangladeshi Feluda?

Sharp wit, an even sharper tongue, piercing eyes, tall, mysterious- this enigmatic character has been attempted to be portrayed by generations after generations. The list of visionaries who had their own vision for Feluda includes Satyajit Ray himself, his son Sandeep Ray and also many other writers and directors.  The latest and most intriguing addition to this list is our very own Tauquir Ahmed, who’s shooting a web series on Feluda from 21st April, in various locations of Dhaka and Chittagong.

Sabyasachi has played the character for the longest period of time

Even after decades of Feluda’s arrival, there have never been any attempts at large to create and show his persona in our cultural sphere. All the dramas, plays that have been made, have been at a small scale, never adding much justice to this stellar character of Bengali literature.

The latest series about Feluda saw an Indian Feluda solving cases in Bangladesh’s context. It was still not our own Feluda.

The closest we came to presenting this iconic series was the Feluda series in bioscope- but even in that series, the titular characters of Feluda, Topshe and Laalmohan Babu were played by prominent actors from West Bengal, with Bangladesh providing with the background and Bangladeshi actors portraying only minor parts.

Hopefully, we’ll be able to rectify the situation a bit with a Bangladeshi actor playing the main part and the web series being produced solely in Bangladesh.

Stellar cast and crew

Considering the situation at hand, Tauquir Ahmed has enough awards and recognition under his belt to reassure the avid fans on the project’s success. His different outlook on Bangla cinema and TV has helped the industry gain a lot of the international acclamation it has today.

The entire cast has not been announced yet, only who’s going to portray Feluda and its Ahmed Rubel. We do see Abul Kalam Azad and Abul Hayat in some latest stills but details have not been divulged yet.

Ahmed Rubel, our own Feluda at last?

Given the performer and the character, so far it seems to be the most understandable match. For those of you who can’t place Ahmed Rubel, he is mainly a theatre and television actor, who also has proved his acting chops in films like “Bachelor: the circle”, “Guerilla”, “Chandrokoktha”, “The last Thakur” etc which are far from mainstream. Now the production house claims to have some sort of surprise in store for the two sidekicks- Topshe and Laalmohon Babu, and we hope its more Bangladeshi actor, with the originality of the character preserved.

In a country full of intense Bengali readers, it’s been a shame to not have our own version of Feluda, Topshe, Laalmohon and Maganlal Meghraj. About time we walk in the right direction.

Komola rocket: the floating montage of misery, lust and greed

Komola Rocket, the Bangladeshi drama film entirely shot in a vintage steamer, has landed on Netflix earlier this year. As a ferry vessel enthusiast, the film was a long overdue one for me. Here’s my two cents about this 112 minute feature film that have made its way to international film festivals and earned accolades as well.

The brilliant minds behind

Based on short stories (‘Moulik’ and ‘Cyprus’) by esteemed writer Shahaduzzaman, Komola Rocket is the debut directorial venture of Noor Imran Mithu. Mithu previously worked with Mostofa Sarwar Farooki as an assistant director and was the lead actor in ‘Pipra Bidya’. Mithun merged two stories of his favourite writer and turned it into a script for Komola rocket. As interesting as it may sound, the film was shot in a century-old steamer and locations range from Sadarghat to the river beds of Khulna.

The plot

(SPOILERS AHEAD)

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Rocket, a very old steamer where queen Elizabeth once onboarded (not kidding), starts its journey from Sadarghat towards Khulna. With a crazy mix of passengers, rocket moves toward Meghna river. We see a packed vessel where every passenger has a story worth listening.

From circus freaks to corrupt business magnate, the stark contrast in social class is the heart of Komola rocket.

Atik, an idiosyncratic man is going to Khulna on a hideout to spare himself from an arson conspiracy. He meets a dysfunctional family he would rather not involve with. The family consists a couple with a child and a young woman. Atik, ever so edgy, also stumbles upon a weirdo called Mofizul. Camouflaging as a poet and kabiraj, Mofizul runs a prostitution ring in the steamer. Atik is bewildered when Mofizul mistakes him for a client, but he gets used to his fawning.

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We see a narcissist young girl who secretly mates with her boyfriend, not knowing Atik is right beside her room. Atik seems uninterested. His only concern is to withdraw insurance money for fire attack at his factory. It is clearly implied that Atik is the mastermind behind this sabotage. Fatefully enough, a distraught man named Monsur also onboarded rocket with a corpse. His wife was burnt alive at a factory fire tragedy and he’s going to bury her at their native village. Monsur meets Atik, not knowing he’s the owner of the very factory where his wife died.

The subtle messages

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There are other supporting characters who appear once in a while, aptly reflecting our social conscience.

Unemployment, cheating husband, rotting dead bodies- Komola rocket explores it all.

In the final act of the film, the steamer gets stuck in a ridge and it stands still in the middle of the river. Food supplies in the rocket shrinks soon. people from VIP cabin to freeloaders- all stand in line with a hungry stomach to eat overpriced dinner. The movie ends on a depressing note. We don’t see where the characters end up; we only see their misery, lust and greed.

What works and what doesn’t

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Komola rocket sees Tauqir Ahmed and Mosharraf Karim sharing the silver screen for the second time. Atik and Mofizul are played by Tauqir and Mosharraf respectively. Samia Syed, a Lux-Channel I superstar contestant appears as the narcissistic girl. Other acting credits include Joyraaj, Sheoti, Dominic Gomez etc. One thing I have to highlight about this film is the pristine cinematography. There are several drone shots of the rocket which I significantly liked. Noor Imran Mithu gets a pass for his first direction. If I have to nitpick anything about Komola rocket, then it should be the dialogue. I think the dialogues could have been a bit relevant and matured with the context. Overall, Komola rocket should be on your watchlist as one of the few decent Bengali language movies out there.

Check out other Bangladeshi films streaming on Netflix. ‘Television’ and ‘Pipra bidya’ are some of the popular titles you will currently find on this website.