By Ahana Bhattacharya
Kolkata, Nov 19 (IANS) Actor Tota Roy Choudhury is set to play the iconic fictional detective Feluda in an upcoming web series. He says the character will always belong to the late Bengali legend Soumitra Chattopadhyay.
Reminiscing about the late actor, who passed away on November 15, Tota told IANS: “Soumitra Babu had got the news that I am playing Feluda. Anirban Chakrabarti, who plays the role of Jatayu in the series, has worked in several plays with Soumitra babu. Anirban had showed my photographs to Soumitra Babu in Feluda get-up, which he instantly appreciated saying I look suitable to play the character. He had also quizzed Anirban a lot about details of the series and had told him that I can call him anytime if I needed help or guidance for playing Feluda.”
Quizzed if he had made a call to seek guidance or suggestions, Tota replied: “I told Anirban that I feel hesitant to call Soumitra babu regarding Feluda because I feel like I’m trespassing. Feluda belongs to him, it is his property, Soumitra Chatterjee is Feluda.”
“We were even planning to do a special show with him but that will never happen,” the actor added after a pause, with a tone of regret.
Tota has worked with Soumitra Chattopadhyay in several projects including the 2015 Bengali short film “Ahalya” directed by Sujoy Ghosh, also starring Radhika Apte. He also recalled working with the late actor in the 2006 film “Podokkhep”, which won Soumitra a National Award as Best Actor.
“I have worked in several films with Soumitra babu and have had an amazing experience. I was a part of his National Award-winning film ‘Podokkhep’. I still remember shooting for the film with him in Central Park in the Salt Lake area of Kolkata. He was resting in between shots when I asked him about a sequence in Satyajit Ray’s ‘Aranyer Din Ratri’ and he got nostalgic and started talking about Ray. When director Suman Ghosh came to call us for the next shot and heard Soumitra babu talking about ‘Aranyer Din Ratri’, he forgot about the shoot and sat down next to us!” Tota recalled.
“For the next half hour or so, we were spellbound listening to Soumitra babu speak about the great Satyajit Ray and the kind of relationship he shared with the maestro. He also spoke at length about the other Ray films that he did and I being a Feluda fan, started asking him about his outdoor experiences in films like ‘Sonar Kella’ and ‘Joi Baba Felunath’. That day he seemed to be in a trance and started talking about Ray’s contribution to his film career,” Tota added.
“I still remember he had told us how much Ray loved him, saying he did mot know what he had done to deserve this love from Manik da (as Ray was called). We were running late that day and finally did the shoot but those 45 minutes that we spent were my best moments with Soumitra Chatterjee in my entire career,” concluded the actor.