Who’s the best: Soumitra Chatterjee, Abir Chatterjee, Parambrata Chattopadhyay or Tota Roy Chowdhury?
He lives at 21 Rajani Sen Road in Kolkata, smokes Charminar and considers his brain his most potent weapon. He is Bengal’s favourite sleuth and synonymous with his creator, the legendary filmmaker-writer-illustrator Satyajit Ray.
Prodosh Chandra Mitter, aka Feluda, was first spotted in 1965 in the children’s magazine Sandesh, of which Ray was the editor. Feluda has since travelled from the printed pages to the film screen, changing faces multiple times in more than four decades.
On Ray’s 100th birth anniversary, our Campus Team picks the actors who they feel fit the iconic detective’s shoes the best.
Over the years, I’ve seen Feluda’s trademark Charminar being passed on like a baton from Soumitra Chatterjee to Sabyasachi Chakraborty and, most recently, to Tota Roy Chowdhury. While the nostalgic Bengali in me would always be partial to Soumitra, Tota’s portrayal as the suave and classy Feluda in Srijit Mukherji’s latest web series, Feluda Pherot, has won my heart. It’s as if Tota’s Feluda comes to life from Ray’s sketches itself. Tota is lithe, athletic and keen, with a piercing gaze, gentle smile and a charm you cannot ignore.
--- Sohinee Basu, final-year PG English, St. Xavier’s College
The Feluda web series featuring Parambrata Chattopadhyay as the sleuth was great. Parambrata had earlier played Topshe. He added his own mannerisms to mould this modern version of Feluda but also held on to the essence of the sleuth that Bengalis are used to watching. Today’s youth binge on shows like Sherlock and want more visually-pleasing content. Parambrata’s Feluda provides exactly that.
--- Aikantik Bag, PG-diploma, New Media, Asian College of Journalism, Chennai
Feluda is an immortal character who will stay etched in the heart of every Bengali till the end of time. But, for me, no actor has captured the imagination of the audience as much as Abir Chatterjee. With his sharp, thinking man’s gait and subtle sarcasm, he was the perfect choice, deftly portraying Feluda’s many idiosyncrasies.
--- Aritra Biswas, UG, second year, Media Science, The Heritage Academy
Watching Feluda for the first time felt like learning how to read and write. Satyajit Ray educated children and elders in ways that no one ever could. Soumitra Chatterjee’s portrayal of Feluda was so spot-on that watching him gave us chills down the spine. His boldness, intelligence and sarcasm became synonymous with Feluda. Just like the character, Soumitra could switch from being witty to aggressive in a moment. He did justice to all of Feluda’s abilities.
--- Meghna Khan, UG, second year, English, St. Xavier’s University
My favourite Feluda is Sabyasachi Chakrabarty. The first ever Feluda movie I watched was Bombaiyer Bombete, where Sabyasachi’s portrayal of the character cast a magic spell on me. I have probably watched all of Sabyasachi’s Feluda movies more than once. Although Soumitra gave birth to the detective on the big screen, for me, Sabyasachi’s cool personality goes amazingly well with Feluda’s poise.
--- Srijaini Ghosh, UG, third year, Psychology, Loreto College
While kids my age dreamt of becoming Superman or Batman, I always dreamt of following in Feluda’s footsteps. The books and films together have been able to craft an intriguing experience, quite possibly because of Ray. The late Soumitra Chatterjee obviously has my heart. But of late, I’m more drawn towards Parambrata Chattopadhyay’s portrayal of the enigmatic detective. He fits the criteria really well.
--- Suddhosatva Majumder, fourth year, Law, Jogesh Chandra Chaudhuri Law College
My favourite Feluda would definitely be Abir Chatterjee. My exposure to Feluda movies was very late, and the first movie in the series I watched was Tintorettor Jishu. Most of us like Feluda for his thirst for adventure and the use of mogojastro to solve the trickiest of puzzles. Abir could justify these qualities with his calm, intellectual persona. He made for a refreshing take on Feluda, with a childish intrepidity on his face.
--- Natasha Aziz, second year, Law, Calcutta University
Soumitra Chatterjee’s Feluda was the charismatic detective, always up for action, disguise and excitement about the mystery at hand. But Sabyasachi Chakrabarty’s rendition had a cynical and mysterious twist to it, for better of course. His witty dialogues, statistical thinking and nuanced sarcasm were exemplary, his baritone being the cherry on the cake. Despite being a Soumitra fanboy, I’d hand over the Feluda mantle to Sabyasachi. It was his wit-mingled mysterious demeanour that did justice to the character. Merely listening to his voice over the radio would make me hum the famous Feluda background score.
--- Sankalpa Pal, second year, BCom, Bhawanipur Education Society College
In my view, Tota Roy Chowdhury is the best actor to have portrayed the resident of 21, Rajani Sen Road, with his tall, handsome personality and his bangaliyana. He took the legacy of Soumitra and Sabyasachi forward without trying to emulate them. Tota’s physique, voice, and acting abilities are unmatched in the Bengali film industry.
--- Saswata Banerjee, second year, BCom, Maulana Azad College
The first Feluda film I saw was Satyajit Ray’s Sonar Kella. With people warming up to OTT platforms now, it was time Feluda featured in some web series. The Addatimes series, Feluda, where Parambrata Chattopadhyay played the sleuth, is the one I love the most. He is a great actor with an amazing sense of humour. Both Parambrata and Riddhi Sen (as Feluda’s cousin and assistant Topshe) did a marvellous job in revamping Feluda for the contemporary audience.
--- Daita Dasgupta, second year, BSc, Media Science, George College
Abir Chatterjee in Badshahi Angti was outstanding. With his body language and charm, Abir did justice to the role of Feluda. That quintessential Bengali touch characteristic of every Feluda narrative was best captured by Abir in that film.
---Ankita Sen, UG-third year, English, Presidency University
Soumitra Chatterjee shall always be my favourite Feluda on screen. In my opinion, he is the only actor who fits all the characteristics typical of Feluda.
--- Astyartha Das, first year, English, UG, Jadavpur University
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