It is the first Byomkesh adventure written by Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay. Ajit Bandyopadhyay lives in a hostel, along with some other people. Ashwini Babu and Ghanshyam Babu are two of the hostel inmates; they live next to Ajit. The hostel is run by a philanthropic homeopathic doctor, Anukul Babu. Ajit has recently become aware of some murders that have happened in their locality.
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If there ever was a Calcutta winter meant to be steeped in detective fiction, then this was it. The days alternated between cold, mirror bright with a rare dry nip in the air and early morning misty fog deepening into gloomy grey damp — the first ideal for enjoying a detective thriller with your back to the sun, the second to gaze at and imagine atmospheric murders in.
True to form, the run up to Christmas and the New Year brought with it a bonanza of detective thrillers in the movie halls, all running to packed houses. But I am not here to talk about the resurgence of the detective thriller.
Just the one man: Byomkesh Bakshi, seeker of the truth. But apart from a few early plot influences, the similarities end there. Refreshingly, though, there is no air of moral preaching in the detective. His responses can sometimes be called compassionate. One cannot say the same for Sherlock Holmes. The books are written in classical Bengali and are a linguistic feast, yet the mood is clearly that of noir — fast, gripping, uncompromising in their portrayal of violence or lust, with touches of wry humour.
There are thirty two stories in all. Byomkesh gradually ages over time in them. Yet, these nuances successfully make up a layered picture of a man who endures in our collective memory since he first appeared in print in It is said that Saradindu Bandopadhyay was deeply disappointed when he saw the film.
Byomkesh would have remained a Bengali obsession but for his outing on Doordarshan, when Basu Chatterjee introduced a note perfect Rajit Kapoor and KK Raina as the detective and writer duo. For all its frugal production values, the actors shone through. The minute length of the cult series suited the format of the stories just so, and a new generation of Byomkesh Bakshi addicts was born.
Raj: Very good, Bernadette. You are a regular Byomkesh Bakshi. Bernadette: What is that, like, the Indian Sherlock Holmes? Byomkeshed Come the new millennium, and there is a veritable Byomkesh pandemic on the small and big screen. I have seen most of these, some with genuine enjoyment, some with a grim masochistic determination. The perfect Byomkesh adaptation still eludes me.
Which brings me to my pet peeve — with all this wealth of material, why is the perfect Byomkesh adaptation still not here? Here are my grouses as a bonafide Byomkesh nerd, in no particular order.
No pressure, Dibakar. The appearance Byomkesh is young and ages gradually. He is fair, moderately good looking, amiable and according to his chronicler, Ajit, looks intelligent. That is the killer. In an effort to look intelligent, too many actors portraying Byomkesh glare intently at the camera and frown for no apparent reason, taking ages to say the most mundane things, as if uttering profound truths.
Leave that for that one moment, guys — the revelation of the murderer. Byomkesh is also a detective and leads an active life — please let him be thin. Uttam Kumar was probably the most miscast of the lot.
Unlike Holmes, Byomkesh did not don outlandish disguises. Byomkesh wore a dhoti in the days when dhotis were the chinos of the urban middle class professional Bengali.
He wore it tied simply, with socks and shoes, and he owned it. Any Byomkesh holding his dhuti tentatively like it a dangerous weapon has failed in this crucial aspect. Rajit Kapur owned the dhuti like no Byomkesh has. Byomkesh speaks fluent Bengali all the time. Whether a Bengali or a Hindi adaptation, good diction is crucial. Halting Bengali and incorrect diction, as I have seen in some of the current adaptations, grate on the ear. For all the grimness of his profession, Byomkesh is a pleasant person.
A smile with a bit of a dazzle is a must. Bonus points for sharp cheekbones. Sushant Singh Rajput looks rather good as Byomkesh in the promos, except for one shot where he is holding his dhuti too gingerly for my liking. Abir Chatterjee looks the part and is coming into his own. But Rajit Kapoor, for my money, is Byomkesh through and through.
Rules for being a sidekick Too many Ajits stare doglike at Byomkesh in mute admiration too early on in the story. Here is my tuppenceworth to directors on casting the faithful Hastingses, Watsons and Ajits of detective fiction - please remember that they are first and foremost, close friends of the detective. There is a camaraderie that is mutual, an equality despite the intellectual gap.
Of course the admiration is there, but it is subtle. Ajit is a writer and is allowed a slight paunch. The slightly clueless, pleasant expression that K.
Raina mastered is the gold standard for me. Saswata Chatteree is rather good, too. They take polite Bengali middle and upper middle class stories and turn them inside out to reveal bloodthirsty violence, unbridled lust, drug running, blackmail and murder. They span from the inter-war years to the sixties when the nation and the city of Calcutta witnessed turmoil. Bombs fell on Calcutta; planes crashed at Bhowanipore; there were riots.
This turmoil forms the backdrop of many of the Byomkesh stories. It is unrealistic to assume that a Merchant-Ivory like treatment is necessarily appropriate. Byomkesh and Ajit were resolutely middle class. They did not live in a grand mansion. Yes, the up and coming but back of beyond suburb of Keyatola, that hub of late Deco houses with large square balconies and cement mosaic floors.
A nice touch. Gimme the speed! As any detective story junkie will tell you, we are addicts and need our thrills fast. Bandyopadhyay was an old hand at screenwriting he wrote quite a few Hindi films and knew how to pace his stories really well.
And like, we hear, Dibakar has done. There is no gay subtext in any Byomkesh story Byomkesh is happily married and shares his household with Ajit, who is a bachelor.
Saradindu Bandopadhyay never shied away from sexuality as a writer. If any of the characters, whether major or minor, were gay, he would have written about it. The writer has kept the characters the way they are to create red herrings and the exact pace that he wants, not for any other agenda. Create a powerful gay detective or gay character in a fresh detective story.
Please do not second guess a master of the genre. For all my complaining, there is no denying that Byomkesh Bakshi has come back to life like no other detective except for his inspiration, Sherlock Holmes. And I am secretly quite happy about this — delighted, actually. Jash Sen is the author of The Wordkeepers and its sequel, Skyserpents.
Byomkesh Bakshi from books to movies: five things to remember
Anna Kendrick —star of the new HBO Max series, " Love Life "—knew she had to embrace all the cringeworthy honesty of her character's romantic struggles. Watch the video. In this series pilot episode detective Byomkesh investigates the mysterious killings in the neighborhood of Chinatown- notorious for its drug infestation and now for the frequent murders of poor laborers living there. Sign In. Keep track of everything you watch; tell your friends. Full Cast and Crew.
The curious case of Byomkesh Bakshi
The series stars Rajit Kapur and K. It features music and background score from Ananda Shankar. It became critically acclaimed and most celebrated adaptation of the character keeping it fresh even after decades. Byomkesh Bakshi is a Bengali Detective who takes on spine-chilling cases with his sidekick Ajitkumar Banerji. Byomkesh identifies himself as Satyanweshi meaning 'truth seeker' rather than a detective. He stands out from other legendary detectives like Poirot or Holmes because he is more concerned with truth than with law as evidenced from his cases where he lets the perpetrator die by manipulating the circumstances using their own methods as a redemption and deliverance of justice for the victim in absence of evidence as in Balak Jasoos, Ret Ka Daldal, and a few other cases. Basu Chatterjee adapted each novel by Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay into an episode except Chiriyaghar and Aadim Shatru , which are made in two-part episodes.