Bengali author Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay’s popular character from the ’30s and ’40s, Bengali detective Byomkesh Bakshi, seems to be getting his due on the silver screen. While filmmaker Sujoy Ghosh will play Byomkesh in director Rituparno Ghosh’s last venture, Dibakar Banerjee is also planning on making a film with the detective in the lead. In order to make the character as real as possible, Dibakar has decided to take Sushant Singh Rajput, who is playing Byomkesh, to Kolkata to help him soak up the nuances of Bengali culture.
The director is set to give Sushant a taste of everyday Bengali life, taking him through the city. “I need to turn Sushant into a universal Bengali. I want him to be steeped in Kolkata’s urban culture,” says Dibakar. “I want him to live in a crowded student boarding house, eat at roadside stalls, walk around the Maidan, hang out at the Indian Coffee House and go book hunting on College Street.”
Other activities that Dibakar has planned for Sushant include reading at the National Library, watching a popular jatra (form of folk theatre) on Theatre Road, catching a vintage film at Lighthouse and taking a ride down the river to Diamond Harbour. “I also want him to have a drink at a seedy bar and gorge on a Chinese meal at Tangra,” says Dibakar.
If time permits, the director is also set to take Sushant to some film studios and introduce him to regional actors, which might include Shanghai (2012) actor Prosenjit Chatterjee. “Only when Sushant takes in the heady pace of Kolkata, will we have taken our first step towards the creation of Byomkesh. I’m also doing this because I’ve never had so much fun since when I was 14 and living in Kolkata,” says Dibakar, who is visiting the city in August.