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Revealed: 'Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!' character sketches

What: On a recent visit to the mid-day newsroom, film director Dibakar Banerjee revealed that he sketched out the looks of the main characters for his film 'Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!' This was in addition to the intensive research done for the costumes and the looks of the period film, informs Banerjee.

The disguised look that Byomkesh and Ajit sport in the film in a crucial chase scene
The disguised look that Byomkesh and Ajit sport in the film in a crucial chase scene

How: “We started about two years ago, when my production designer went to Calcutta, and worked on the film for six months to decide the best way to shoot the film: location, sets, or a mix of both. We had a bank of about 1,000 photographs of Calcutta in the 1930s and ’40s. We had a bank of books about colonial life of the time and all films that were shot then that portrayed people’s attire from those years. The pictures were taken by American GIs posted in Calcutta at that time,” shares Banerjee.

Dr Anukul Guha
The other two looks of Dr Anukul Guha (the antagonist of the film): (Left) the freedom fighter and the homeopath

Research led to a huge hard drive of reference sources. “If you looked for, ‘street hawkers’, we had a folder with street hawkers of that time, or ‘crowd male’, ‘crowd female’, each title had a folder,” adds the director. The closet sketch artist cites another example of the sync between make-up, costumes and production details, “Angoori’s character (played by Swastika Mukherjee) was the diva, the femme fatale. Apart from the costumes (designed by Manish Malhotra), you’ll see how most of her scenes are shot in hard light, so she looked as if she hailed from the Rs 40s. Costumes were sourced from my sketches for the principal characters and were elaborated through our documentary evidence.”

Dibakar Banerjee
Dibakar Banerjee

His favourite character, visually, is Bakshy. “Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay has left no real visual description of Byomkesh. As a result, most Bengalis imagine him as they wish to, or a big star portraying the character becomes Byomkesh. I had a tough task to make Sushant Singh Rajput a Bengali literary character. I dare you to enter the castle called Bengali taste,” he laughs.

Where: Detective Byomkesh Bakshy! is currently being screened in theatres.

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