Anjan Dutt’s fourth Byomkesh film shows some promise by inserting emotions into skin of the sleuth but fails as a complete package, lacking in both the pace of the plot and killer instinct, quintessential elements of a detective flick. Byomkesh O Chiriakhana is based on the novel “Chiriakhana” by Saradindu Bandopadhyay, which was previously adapted by Satyajit Ray as a film of the same name in 1967, featuring the iconic Uttam Kumar as the next-door Bengali Sherlock Holmes. None of the two adaptations are up to the mark in bringing out the tension of the plot. The old one introduced the idea of a household Bengali detective similar to a common man of that time but lacks the construction of intensity with the progress of the film. The recent one that by Dutt is successful, to some extent, in that department but many unnecessary elements crept into its plot.
A retired Judge employs Byomkesh (Jisshu U Sengupta) to find out about Sunaina, an actress who disappeared suddenly and also to find out about a mystery of old motor parts being delivered to his house by someone for no clear reason. Byomkesh stumbles upon the fact that Sunaina murdered a rich bloke and took some expensive jewelry along with her in hermitage. Byomkesh along with his associate Ajit (Saswata Chatterjee) and a cinephile visits the colony, in an attempt to locate Sunaina, where the judge resides and gives residence to host of social outcastes doing petty jobs for his horticulture, but to no avail. When the employer is murdered, Byomkesh tries to wrap up the mystery by pulling the various loose threads scattered over the colony.
One of the loose ends of the film is its characterization or to be specific the lack of good characterization: almost all the characters have same instincts; they are bent upon sabotaging the investigation. Even the deceased employer suppresses some vital information. Another is the untidy cameo form the director as the semi-reincarnated antagonist from the first appearance of Byomkesh in the novel “Satyaneshi”, there was no need for the event to take place neither for the sake of the plot nor the audiences because he is not Hitchcock. Talking of Hitchcock, the adaptation of the famous shower murder scene through the curtains in Psycho inspired a bunch of directors and Dutt is no exception, as he included the murder by the actress in a flashback scene shot in black and white where the man is stabbed by the hand with a knife similar to that classic scene. As the man falls down, his hands slide through the glass door instead of the curtain, a small substitution of props, by the director.
Jisshu as the intelligent yet a tad volatile and a bit weak “Satyaneshi” did a good work to bring out the emotions of a man with a challenging job. He is apt in bringing out the charisma of the sleuth. Though the treatment of Byomkesh’s character is shade closer to Feluda , it is mostly due to the director’s choices and no fault of the actor is present. Saswata as Ajit is reduced to a comic puppet in the hands of the director, but being a great actor he presents an act of perfect comic timing and expressions again. Kanchan Mullick, Sujan Mukhopadhyay, Priyanka, Saayoni Ghosh all does a believable performance and it is one of the positive sides of the film. The cinematography by Indranil Mukherjee is nothing over the top to be appreciated. Arghyakamal Mitra also does a mediocre job with the scissors as the visuals and story varies in pace due to the editing techniques employed. The familiar Byomkesh tune is used again by Neel Dutt as the main background score for this film.
The ending of the film again featuring the director being chased by our protagonist and ending with a gunshot is out of place; it is probably there to hint for the next outing of Byomkesh. Looking from the eyes of one who wants only entertainment, the film can be considered a success and is definitely a must-watch for the fans of the Bengali sleuth.
Film Score: 61
Director: Anjan Dutt Screenplay: Anjan Dutt, Saradindu Bandopadhyay (novel) Editing: Arghyakamal Mitra Cinematography: Indranil Mukherjee Music: Neel Dutt Cast: Jisshu U Sengupta, Saswata Chatterjee, Priyanka Sarkar, Saayoni Ghosh, Sujan Mukhopadhyay.