Eken Babu season 3 Review - Jatayu without Feluda

Eken Babu season 3 Review - Jatayu without Feluda

To understand Eken Babu, it is vital to be heavily attached to Bengali literature, films and culture in general. Apart from being one of the cultural icons of India, Satyajit Ray who comes from a family of litterateurs also became popular in the realm of literature for his Feluda novels. Ray had once written that he was heavily inspired by Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes series, which triggered in him to write detective novels based in Bengal. There were a lot of changes, but the familiarities between Feluda-Topse with Sherlock Holmes-John Watson was hard to miss. Pradosh Chandra Mitra and Tapesh Ranjan Mitra fondly called Feluda and Topse are cousins who share a huge age gap, which is why Topse tends to look up to Feluda like the young lad who looks up to that one member of the family because he is different. In BBC’s popular series Sherlock, John Watson (played by Martin Freeman) has been portrayed as a dim-witted man, who hardly understands why Sherlock Holmes is the way he is, and unlike him, why is he unable to not decode a human being with one glance. Unlike John Watson, Tapesh Mitra or Topse does not see Feluda as the overly intelligent friend but he looks up to Feluda with fascination. His manner of draping the shawl, lighting the cigarette, and thoughtfully observing every detail of the victim, perpetrator and every object at the crime scene fascinates Topse. To Topse, Feluda is nothing less than a God in the form of a human after all this was written in an era when detectives novels were just starting to become popular in Bengal. Along with Feluda and Topse, there was another character, Lalmohan Ganguly, who was fondly called Jatayu. The presence of the latter had been a comic relief for the novel series. To paint a better picture of how Jatayu adds more elements to the series, imagine Professor Calculus’s role in the Tin Tin comics. He is neither a part of the crime that has been committed, nor is he a perpetrator, but somehow, he manages to get into trouble, doesn’t he? Hoichoi’s latest series Eken Babu is an image of what a detective story would be had there been no Pradosh Mitra or Topse, but only Jatayu. What the makers seem to forget is that Jatayu was tolerable because of the presence of an intelligent man named Feluda wisely accepting him with his flaws. Now, without Feluda it is difficult to tolerate a man who keeps cracking jokes which are not that funny (sadly there’s no Feluda to make it funnier with a simple expression). Eken Babu thus turns out to be a man who stereotypes Bengalis, with his accent and over-the-top laughter skills. In the Feluda series, it was the detective and his assistant who kept us on the hook with their investigation, while Jatayu was just a pleasant distraction, which only remained that way because it didn’t last long and we were back discussing the crime again. Eken Babu makes us miss the moment where we can expect to go back to some serious business, mainly because none of it is serious business. As much as we want to be nostalgic, about the iconic characters that had touched the lives of readers, cinephile we only end up remembering that this isn’t Feluda at all, it’s not even a spin-off, it is mainly a void trying to fill the hole that Satyajit Ray left in his legacy.

Rating: 2/5


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