It was in 1965 that a 27 year old, 6’2″ tall Bengali detective by the name of Prodosh Chandra Mitra or Pradosh C. Mitter with the nickname Feluda made his debut in a Bengali short story Feludar Goyendagiri written by Satyajit Ray. 50 years later, Feluda is still 27 and has not lost any of his cult fan following. Every Bengali is a Feluda fan. Be it a young boy or girl who is just starting off on the detective series or a person of 50 who has probably read every book in the series more than ten times, everyone wants to be a Feluda. We like his mannerisms, his wit, his ability to solve difficult cases and bring back precious artifacts from dangerous criminals. We remember every scene from the Feluda movies, every dialog and travel to Jaisalmer only to take a look at Sonar Kella because Feluda was there. What is it about Feluda that keeps him going at 50 and will he make it to 100 ? That was the topic of discussion at the penultimate session of the Tata Steel Kolkata Literary Meet 2016 on Republic Day where Boria Majumdar’s book Feluda@50 was officially released.
The original Feluda, Soumitra Chatterjee could not attend the session due to health issues and that was a huge disappointment but the conversation with the current Feluda, Abir Chatterjee, the author Boria Majumdar, director Sandip Ray and Chandril Bhattacharya was a most enjoyable one. Boria started off talking about his book and his personal connect with Feluda who he describes as the “Bengali Harry Potter“. He spoke of an incident when as a 23 year old man he was travelling to England to study at Oxford and on reaching, heard the news of his father passing away. He shared that on the flight back, he was holding on to a Feluda book the entire time. Not that he was reading it but just holding on to it gave him immense comfort. And I think that is the crux of a Bengali’s relationship with this fictional character. Feluda is nostalgia, Feluda is our childhood, Feluda gives us comfort, Feluda is our happy place.