His last Feluda film, Royal Bengal Rahasya (2011), which released last Christmas with Shah Rukh Khan’s Don 2, had a phenomenal box-office run, but Sandip Ray has no plans of returning with the franchise for two years. With Sabyasachi Chakraborty and Bibhu Bhattachrya getting older, the director has the unenviable task of looking for a new Feluda and Jatayu.
So he’s experimenting with a different format — a film that strings together different short stories by famous Bengali and English writers.“I’ve been reading a lot and have a short list ready. I will make an announcement soon,” he says. “The film will be a compilation of ghost stories that could have an intellectual link binding them together. It should roll next month. I’ll wrap it up in two-three schedules and am eyeing a December release.”
His father Satyajit Ray figures in the list of writers Sandip has been reading: “Baba (father) was fond of the supernatural and 75 per cent of his collection of short stories are rooted in this genre.”In fact, Monihara (The Lost Jewels), the second of Rabindranath Tagore’s short stories in Satyajit’s three-part series film, Teen Kanya (Three Daughter), released in 1961, the centenary year of the Nobel Laureate’s birth and was a spine-chilling ghost story.
Goopey Gyne Bagha Byne (The Adventures Of Goopey And Bagha, 1969) also had an iconic dance of the ghosts that recently inspired the dance of the spirits in Anik Dutta’s recent blockbuster, Bhooter Bhobishyat (2012).Sandip remembers finding his father holding a skeletal hand in their drawing room one day. “It was made of plaster of Paris and had a string.
Every time ‘baba’ pulled it, the fingers would wrap around a packet of cigarettes tucked into its palm,” he reminisces. “When I watched Manimalika’s ghostly fingers snatch the coveted necklace in Monihara, I realised what ‘baba’ had been up to.”He admits that Monihara, rooted in Gothic horror, still creeps him out and has his hands and feet turning cold. Sandip smiles, “I hope I can send some shivers down people’s spine too.”