Jan 2, 2012 (Calcutta Tube): Royal Bengal Rohosso is a 2011 Bengali movie directed by Sandip Ray with Sabyasachi Chakraborty, Bibhu Bhattacharya, Shaheb Bhattacharya, Bhaswar Chatterjee and others in the cast. Read the Bengali film review by National award winning film critic Shoma A. Chatterji at Calcutta Tube.
ROYAL BENGAL ROHOSSO – VERY GOOD FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT
Banner: Shree Venkatesh Films Pvt. Ltd. & Surinder Films
Story: Satyajit Ray
Screenplay, Music and Direction: Sandip Ray
Director of Photography: Sasanko Palit
Art Director: Manik Bhattacharya
Editor: Subrata Roy
Audio Design: Anup Mukhopadhyay
Cast: Sabyasachi Chakraborty, Bibhu Bhattacharya, Shaheb Bhattacharya, Bhaswar Chatterjee, Basudeb Mukherjee, Debesh Roychoudhury, Sanjit Sarkar, Paran Bandopadhyay and Biplab Chatterjee
Date of release: December 23, 2011
Every Feluda film pull holidaying kids away from their PSPs and computers into the theatres, such is the popularity of Feluda widely read by Bengali-reading children. Royal Bengal Rohosso is no different. From the first day, the film is running to full houses spilling over with kids and their parents.
Feluda and his small team arrive at the palace of Mahitosh Singha Roy, a famous landlord of North Bengal known for his hunting prowess and his book on his hunting expeditions. Singha Roy asks Feluda to solve a riddle left behind by his predecessor that would lead to a secret treasure somewhere in the palace or in the forest nearby. But no sooner they arrive than Mahitosh Singha Roy’s young secretary is found murdered. Feluda is now faced with solving two mysteries – who killed the young man and what does the riddle mean?
Part of the riddle Feluda discovers, has already been solved for him by the erudite and intelligent secretary and part by Singha Roy’s elder brother Debatosh Singha Roy who is kept confined in a separate room because he has lost his mental balance. The film spans the vast picturesque canvas of the North Bengal forests and the somewhat scary and spacious rooms of the palace where one room holds Singha Roy’s hunting trophies and another his weapons for hunting. The forests are filled with barking deer heralding the presence of a big cat hovering nearby. The sound effects in the forest bring alive the ambience of Nature that is a special talent with Sandip Ray who can create atmosphere very well.
Like all Feluda stories, Royal Bengal Rohosso is filled with small nuts of information. We learn that a sword when struck by lightning turns magnetic. The track guide explains what turns a tiger to a man-eater. Debatosh Singha Roy seems to use characters from the Mahabharat to mean different things that help Feluda solve the riddle. We also realise the complete lack of ethics in Mahitosh who uses his friend as a ghost-hunter in his place and takes credit for it. His famous book on his hunting expeditions is also ghost-written by his secretary. In fact, it appears that he too, like his ancestors, is slowly going insane. He treats his older brother cruelly and is not bothered about solving the mystery of his loyal secretary’s tragic death.
The actors have done their parts very well. Paran Bandopadhyay as Debatosh is the best followed closely by Sabyasachi who is beginning to look a bit too old and haggard as Feluda compared to the very young Shaheb Bhattacharya as his cousin-cum-assistant Topshe. One feels sad to watch (late) Bibhu Bhattacharya performing his swan-song as Jatayu with the character’s fresh naiveté blended into his natural timidity married to his funny bonhomie and his total commitment to Feluda. Basudev Mukherjee as Mahitosh Singha Roy and Bhaswar Chatterjee as his secretary come out with effortless performances. Debesh Roychoudhury as Sasanka, the real hunter, looks listless and disinterested in his role which is strange because he is a brilliant actor.
Satyajit Ray’s Feluda theme on the music track functions like a signature tune we are familiar with. Since all the wild animals as claimed in the pre-credits are computer-generated images, the final shot of the Royal Bengal tiger emerging from the woods and throwing Jatayu into a faint as he is perched on a tree branch is disappointing. The shots look more like stock clippings from other wild life films than computer generated images. Subrata Roy’s editing needed to be smooth and seamless while on the sound front, Anup Mukhopadhyay leaves his imprint on the track. The cinematography inside the palace is very good as so is the art direction but beyond that, the cinematography falters at some places.
Even so, Royal Bengal Rohosso provides wonderful and wholesome entertainment for the entire family during festival time, a rarity in contemporary Bengali cinema.
- Shoma A. Chatterji