Remember Machhlibabar ghat in Benaras where Maganlal Meghraj used to smuggle out artefacts while a conman posed as a baba and middle-aged women sang bhajans to hoodwink the police? If you are a Feluda, or Ray fan, visit the Padmapukur Youth Association community puja on Sarat Bose Road to have a look at Machhlibabar ghat that will be recreated on the banks of the swimming pool as a mark of homage to Bengal’s favourite detective who turns 50 this year.
Feluda, or Pradosh Chandra Mitra, started his journey as a detective in Darjeeling. The story Feludar Goendagiri was published in Sandesh Patrika in December 1965.
“To commemorate 50 years of Feluda and to show respect to his creator, the great Satyajit Ray, we have decided to design the puja theme on Feluda with a few works of Ray,” said Ashim Basu, the councilor of ward 70 of Kolkata Municipal Corporation and the president of the Paddmapukur Youth Association.
Significantly, Ray himself was a resident of Bishop Lefroy Road that falls in the ward of which Basu is the councillor. Recently chief minister Mamata Banerjee renamed Lee Road – the road adjacent to Ray’s home – as Satyajit Ray Dharani.
“The Puja committee approached us with their plans and I wasted no time in advising them how to recreate the Benaras Ghat since the water body is available at the swimming pool. I am excited to see how they execute the theme on my father and his characters,” said Sandip Ray.
“As a part of our theme we are going to name the road adjacent to the swimming pool as Satyajit Ray Dharani for the four days of puja,” added Basu.
Ray’s son and film director Sandip Ray has advised the organisers on the theme that will be replicated by Kumartuli artisan Bapi Das who has his workshop in Madhyamgram.
“We will be replicating the banks of the Ganges in Benaras just like the one on the set of Jai Baba Felunath on the sides of the swimming pool. The pandal will be in the shape of a small pandal. We will install figures of Goopi Gayen, Bagha Bayen and characters of Hirak Rajar Deshe. A light and sound depicting the boon of the Ghost King (Bhooter Raja in Goopi Gayen Bagha Bayen film) is also on the cards,” said Das.
Incidentally, this is the 49th year of the community puja.