“Joy Baba Felunath!” is a 1979 Bengali film by Satyajit Ray, starring Soumitra Chatterjee and Utpal Dutt, based on Ray’s own novel, with the same title. The English title of this novel is “The Mystery of the Elephant God”.
Not so long ago, I read the entire Feluda series of novels (in English, translated by Gopa Majumdar) with the enthusiasm of an adolescent reader despite the fact that I was well past that age by then. Ray’s narration made me, the reader, younger by a few years 🙂 I knew that Ray made two of his movies based on his Feluda stories (The other one is based on “Golden Fortress”) and his son Sandip Ray made a couple more. But, until now, I never tried to find if there are some versions with English subtitles. There is one on Youtube! checkout if interested!!
Coming to the movie, I do remember the story, but in bits and pieces. I remember what happens to the “elephant God” and who does that, but not the “how” part. When books are made in to movies, chances are likely that they leave you dissatisfied, especially if you like the book. But, in this case, both the author and director are the same. Not just that, Satyajit Ray, the author is as brilliant as Satyajit Ray the director.
Utpal Dutt as the villain Maganlal Meghraj was cruelty personified. He had very few dialogues and he is not seen in too many scenes. But, I felt his presence stronger than Feluda himself! Such was Utpal Dutt’s eye-contact. Now, I see the whole essay where Ray writes about choosing his actors, in a better light! Ray’s music was good too.
But, ofcourse, I have a complaint: after all that powerful image we had of Maganlal Meghraj, his lame surrender in the climax is a bit disappointing. (Perhaps, I should keep in mind that its intended for adolescents and not adults!)
Anyways, despite knowing the story, the movie was still a suspense-thriller to me. To me, its an amazingly made movie. So, people who did not read the book and go ahead and watch the movie straight 🙂