Sleuths Galore
December 2021, volume 45, No 12

In the history of Bengali detective fiction—arguably one of the more often accessed sub-genres of popular literature in India itself—one could find the example of a gradual dwindling from something quite serious into something that is read mostly by children and young adults. When one speaks about such post-modern Bengali fictional detectives and adventurers like Satyajit Ray’s ‘Feluda (Prodosh Mitra)’, Samaresh Basu’s ‘Goyenda Gogol’, Sunil Gangopadhyay’s ‘Kakababu (Raja Roy Choudhury)’, Sayed Mustafa Siraj’s ‘Colonel Niladri Sarkar’, Suchitra Bhattacharyya’s ‘Mitin Mashi’, Shasthipada Chattopadhyay’s ‘Pandav Goyenda’ and ‘Goyenda Tatar’, Samaresh Majumdar’s ‘Arjun’, or Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay’s ‘Goyenda Baradacharan’, it reveals a list which consists of writings meant for the young adults. There are some so-called ‘adult’ detective-stories being produced and transformed into films in the late-20th and early-21st centuries, and they include Narayan Sanyal’s ‘PK Basu’, Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay’s ‘Shabor Dasgupta’, Adrish Bardhan’s ‘Indranath Rudra’, and Anish Deb’s ‘Ashok Chandra Gupta’—but these writings and films, unlike those on ‘Byomkesh Bakshi’ or ‘Feluda’, have failed to garner both readership and publicity. Not even the detective-characters created for screen by—among others—Sahana Dutta—for example, ‘Poroma Mitra’ and ‘Abhaya Mukherjee’—have been successful in retaining the viewers’ interest after a few episodes. Probably, in the age of cybercrimes and detection through automated analyses which are usually handled by the internal security departments, the ideas of ‘detective’ and ‘private investigators’ have lost their appeal to the reading populace.

Continue reading this review