Monday 18 May 2015

Sonar Kella (The Golden Fortress) [1974]

It is at times difficult to believe that Ray adapted stories starring his immensely popular literary creation Pradosh C. Mitter aka Feluda only twice, given their lasting pop-cultural imprints in the urban Bengali milieu – barring Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne, no other film by him garnered more popularity and repeat telecasts than Sonar Kella, made 6 years after he began this franchise, and Joi Baba Felunath, made 4 years later. Mukul (Kushal Chakraborty), a young boy haunted by images purportedly from his previous life, is taken to Rajasthan by parapsychologist Dr. Hajra (Shailen Mukherjee) for academic reasons; however, two notorious crooks – the sly Amiyanath (Ajoy Banerjee) and the thuggish Mandar (Kamu Mukherjee) – smell possibilities of hidden treasure, and decide to join to further their nefarious interests. Smelling chances of foul play Mukul’s father engages the 21 Rajani Sen Road residing sleuth (Soumitra Chatterjee), who Ray had created on his own image and representative of the Bengali ideal, and so he, along with his nephew-cum-sidekick Topshe (Siddhartha Chatterjee), embarks on a trip to protect the kid, and what ensues is a tale filled with thrills, mystery and scintillating adventure. On the way he makes the acquaintance of Lal Mohan Ganguly (Santosh Dutta), a writer of popular fiction using the pseudonym of Jatayu, who would become a life-long friend and companion of the PI. Great narrative pacing ensured an engrossing watch while also investing time on etching characters, building suspense and capturing the flavours of Rajasthan. The wit and humour that the script was imbued with, along with fine turns by the cast, interesting tidbits and the iconic Feluda tune that Ray composed further added to its engagement quotient.

Director: Satyajit Ray
Genre: Thriller/Crime Thriller/Detective Movie/Adventure
Language: Bengali
Country: India

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