Review of “Satyanweshi Byomkesh” – The iconic sleuth presented with a new perspective
Director – Sayantan Ghosal
Cast – Parambrata Chatterjee, Rudranil Ghosh, Anjan Dutt, Suprobhat Das, Gargee Roychowdhury, Sumanta Mukherjee, Ayoshi Talukdar
No one can deny that Bengali cine audience have been over exposed to Byomkesh and to make audience attracted to yet another Byomkesh movie is indeed a challenging task. The makers of Satyanweshi Byomkesh has tried their best to face this challenge and they have succeeded to some extent. To bring some freshness in the movie they have tried to present the iconic sleuth with a new perspective and that is his political awareness and the impact of politics in his investigation. This new angle of story telling and a new cast have brought the much needed freshness to the film but still it is tough for the audience to completely ignore the feeling of déjà vu while watching yet another Byomkesh Bakshy movie.
The film is based on the story Magno Mainak written by Sharadindu Bandopadhyay. The story already has some political reference and to make it more inclined towards politics, screenplay writer Anjan Dutt has shifted the timeline to 1971. It was a period when both sides of Bengal was going through a political turbulence. In such a situation a girl named Hena Mallick (Ayoshi Talukdar) gets murdered. Hena was a refugee from Bangladesh who had taken shelter at a family friend Santosh Dutta’s house. Santosh Dutta (Sumanta Mukherjee) is an active politician who wants to contest in the upcoming election. Both of his sons Uday (Suprobhat Das) and Jugal had some relationship with Hena and obviously it had created some tension in the family. Whether this family issue caused the murder or it was a result of some dirty politics, to know the answer you have to join the investigation by Satyanweshi Byomkesh (Parambrata Chatterjee) and his friend Ajit (Rudranil Ghosh).
The screenplay has been written by Anjan Dutt and he has done a good job to keep the suspense intact till the end for those who have not read the story. If someone has already read the story then they obviously know the culprit but still they can enjoy the proceeding as some layers have been added to many characters to bring them under the radar of usual suspects. Anjan Dutt has also taken some creative liberties to give more importance to the ongoing political situation, here most of the character is impacted by the ongoing politics. In fact here, Byomkesh himself is actively involved in politics though he is unbiased from any political agenda while doing investigation. Although the opening scene where we see Byomkesh actively participating in Muktijuddho, practically serves no purpose and it has nothing to do with the main plot. Another new thing is this time Ajit is more active in the investigation process, in fact sometime we see him doing interrogation also with the suspects. As Anjan Dutt has written and creatively supervised the film so the whole film carries his signature style, the way he used to make his Byomkesh movies earlier. It has over shadowed director Sayantan Ghosal’s narrative style.
The technical team of the film is in very good form who has helped to create the perfect ambiance for that particular period. Neel Dutt’s background score is very refreshing and grabs attention. In comparison to that the only song in the film is not much effective and it could have been easily excluded. Shubhajit Singha’s sharp editing has made the film edgy and engaging. As there are many possible angles associated with the murder so the same scene has been repeated many times, but with his efficient editing skills he has presented the same scene with different point of view each time without making it look repetitive. Ramyadip Saha’s cinematography is also of good standard.
Just like the technical team, the whole ensemble cast also have done a good job. Of course the major responsibility was on Parambrata Chatterjee being the main protagonist. So far many of his contemporaries have played the same character and he must be aware that his portrayal will be compared and scrutinized at a higher level. But without being worried about that he has approached the character on his own and he has created a different version of the character with his own mannerisms. He has looked convincing enough as the truth seeking sleuth. Rudranil Ghosh is good as Ajit. He has used his good comic timing to add good sense of humor to this character. Also both Parambrata and Rudranil share good camaraderie and that has reflected on screen as well. Among the others it is Anjan Dutt as Rabi Verma and Suprobhat Das as Uday who have done brilliant work. Gargee Roychowdhury has nothing much to do but she is flawless in her limited scope. Sumanata Mukherjee and Swaroopa Ghosh are good in their parts. Newcomer Ayoshi Talkudar has made a confident debut but she has very little to do.
On a whole Satyanweshi Byomkesh is an earnest attempt by the makers to present the much known sleuth with a different viewpoint. It has worked to some extent but to keep the audience invested in this franchise in future they need to come up with many more new ideas.