After the sparkling Bombaiyer Bombete, Sandip Ray returns with the stellar Kailashey Kelenkari. Made after a hiatus of almost four years, the piling years have neither affected the storytelling nor seem to have aged the characters who still are in their sparkling best. While the story is a complete departure from the previous movie, the signature style of the storyteller (by which I mean both the senior and junior Ray) remains evident in every frame. The film remains firmly rooted to the narrative that Satyajit Ray created and yet uses many modern toys and tools settling the story in a contemporary setting.
A sudden plane crash and the discovery of an ancient sculpture with one of the passengers, throws Feluda (Sabyasachi Chakraborty), Lal Mohan Ganguly (Bibhu Bhattacharya) and Tapesh (Parambrata Chatterjee) into a case which involves a pan India illegal trade of ancient sculptures. While Feluda considers the case as more than mere adventure and believes that people who are smuggling the assets out of the country should be brought down immediately, Lal Mohan Ganguly and Tapesh tag along for another whirlwind adventure into the heart of Indian civilization. While the trio travels all the way to the Ajanta-Ellora caves after the possible perpetrators, they meet a learned professor of ancient art whom Lal Mohan thinks to be a culprit in disguise. How Feluda and company save the day forms the crux of the narrative of the film.
With every new film and more budget and popularity, Ray seems to be upping the production value of his products. While the basic charm remains unaffected year after year, a little bit of fine tuning and polishing has done a world of good for the movies. While the sound department, cinematography and editing seem to have gained the most from this increment in the ante, the performances have also become much more nuanced and fluid leading to spectacular reality in the sequences. The film, even though an adventure, keeps a very firm grip of the reality. The action sequences are kept to a bare minimum and wherever they appear, they are kept believable.
The story concentrates more on the mental prowess of Feluda than his physical abilities. As is the case with most of his adventures, he solves the case with his keen reasoning power. Kailashey Kelenkari is not a whodunit thriller. We know who the perpetrators are right from the beginning. This film is more about how our trio nails the criminals and saves the day. As is customary with most Feluda films, Kailashey Kelenkari also gives you the guided tour through the Ajanta-Ellora caves with some serious historical lessons hidden in the little chitchats between the trio. This is one of the endearing aspects of the Feluda movies. One which I am bowled over by.
Sabyasachi has played Feluda numerous times and is in command of the character. He becomes the sleuth from the book and his every action reeks of the Dadagiri that we associate with the character of Feluda. Bibhu Bhattacharya is getting better as Jatayu with every film even though his English and everything else in terms of GK and history and memory and reasoning power isn’t, which in turns also makes his character loveable. His character does have the uncanny ability to have the right resource at the right time to aid the others. Parambrata Chatterjee as Tapesh is believable. Even though I preferred Saswata more, primarily because of the affinity that I had developed with the character but he still does just fine. Dipankar Dey as the principal antagonist is wonderful.
Overall, Kailashey Kelenkari has everything that you go into a Feluda movie for. It is probably one of those rare series where the tried and tested formulae don’t get repetitive and no matter how many adventures you see, you just crave for more. Built on miniscule budgets and with tech which is obsolete in today’s time and settings, these films still hold your attention and make you stand up and take notice. The reason is entertainment, entertainment and entertainment.