Badshahi Angti is the reboot of the existing Feluda Series which had its last release in Royal Bengal Rahasya. Following that film, we now have a new Feluda in Abir Chatterjee and Topshe in Sourav Das. The film is based on the book of the same name by Satyajit Ray. The film follows the journey of Feluda aka Prodosh Mitter as he is just embarking towards his adventures as the detective we know from the films and books. The film introduces us to a Feluda who is still honing his skills and in the process does make a few mistakes which he himself takes into his account.
The film begins with Feluda, Topshe and his uncle arriving at Lucknow for spending their Puja Vacation at his Uncle’s friend’s place. On that very day they meet a Dr. Shrivastav (Bharat Kaul) who owns a precious ring and who has had an attempted robbery at his place. Mr. Sanyal (Biswajit Chakraborty) who is their host agrees to keep the ring at his place for safe-keeping. The following day the ring disappears from their place. Everyone is stunned and perplexed and all doubts points to a saintly figure who had visited their house the day the ring vanished.
Feluda begins his investigation and in doing so he meets a host of interesting characters including Bonobihari Sarkar (Paran Bandyopadhyay), a man who rares snakes, spiders and scorpions as a hobby, Mahavir Seth (Tathagata Mukherjee), the son of a wealthy businessman who had given Dr. Shrivastav the ring for saving his life in the first place and Ganesh Guha (Rajatava Dutta), the keeper of the pets at Bonobihari’s house. The rest of the film is about how Feluda successfully tracks down the thief and brings back the ring to its rightful owner. The film takes us through the picturesque locales of Lucknow on the way to Haridwar and Laxmanjhula before pulling down the curtains.
Like all the previous Feluda films, Badshahi Angti is equally humble and modest in its treatment yet its simplistic portrayal of the incident, life like performances and engrossing story keeps you hooked. It may be that the viewer is able to predict the bad man within moments of him coming to the screen but the question like “why” and “how” will keep you engrossed. The film like the others before it takes you to one of the famous cities of India. This time around it is the city of Lucknow, the home of the Bara Imam Bara, The Bhulbhulaiya and then over to the Laxmanjhula and Haridwar.
The film is propelled by some splendid performances. My pick of the lot is easily Abir as Feluda and Paran Bandyopadhyay as Bonobihari Sarkar. Abir effortlessly slips into the shoes left vacant by Sabyasachi giving the character his own identity and ensuring that it has the trademark dadagiri that we associate with Feluda. He is vulnerable at many juncture but in the end, his courage and penchant for details saves the day for one and all. Aiding him in his endeavors is Topshe played wonderfully by Sourav Das. He is same star struck prodigy of Feluda that we know from the books and he does complete justice to his essay. Paran Bandyopadhyay is terrific as the foil to Feluda and he does exceedingly well to act natural even though his character demands a lot of theatrics.
Overall, Badshahi Angti is an entertaining affair. This is the kind of film which you can enjoy with your whole family and easily watch it more than once. I believe that’s something which is not commonplace in the films of today but Sandip Ray has time and gain managed to kindle the spirits with his minimalistic yet absorbing cinema. I am waiting for lot more in this series from Ray.