Chronicling master auteur Satyajit Ray’s genius through ‘Feluda’

Posted on 5 July, 2017 by Team Wishberry


‘Feluda’ is Satyajit Ray’s alter ego

Sagnik Chatterjee is a self-confessed Satyajit Ray fan. Therefore, it was only natural that he would undertake a film on the master creator. However, Sagnik’s approach to documenting the genius that is Ray was not just via his films — he wanted to turn his ‘eye’ on ‘Feluda’, Ray’s beloved detective, through his novels.

Ray is an enigma; an outstanding talent — it will take more than a 100 years to explain. People, in general, know more about his filmmaker self. But as an illustrator and writer, he is simply amazing and outstanding which many don’t know about. This is the first work where his less-disclosed two creative sides —that of illustrator and writer have been dealt with most, rather than his filmmaker self.

Thus was born, Feluda: 50 Year’s of Ray’s Detective

An ambitious project, Sagnik spent close to three years working on it. However, he still needed funds to complete the film and that too before the New York Indian Film Festival, 2017 (April 30-May 7, 2017).

My film was selected in NFDC Film Bazar in IFFI 2016, Goa and I was looking for gap financing over there. Once the festival got over, I received a mail from the COO of Wishberry, Ms. Anshulika Dubey, about the crowdfunding proposal because she got the information of gap financing from Goa itself. I agreed to take this opportunity with an inner conviction to touch the ‘Magic Figure’.

The ‘Feluda ‘campaign went live on March 6. It successfully ended on May 10, 2017, and it has been a learning lesson for Sagnik. He believes that honesty is the biggest factor when it comes to crowdfunding.

I gathered a bunch of trusted ‘Feluda’ fans who came forward to raise the funds for this unique ‘Feluda’ film. The people who came forward had no prior experience of ‘Crowdfunding’ or film marketing. They were die-hard ‘Feluda’ fans. The majority of them came forward from Facebook. I just spoke to them, and presented my conviction for the film to them. They trusted my words and went forward vigorously on social network, to their friends and relatives, to their colleagues, etc. The majority of our funds came from positive and vigorous social network campaigns. We were also mentioned positively by publications such as ABP, Bartaman, The Hindu, and other newspapers’ digital versions. They aided the funding process by writing about the campaign quite often.

The road to success was full of surprises for Sagnik, the film and the team at Wishberry.

The first BIG 50K came from a person whom we don’t know at all and that person is not even part of Wishberry’s backers list. He is an Italian who is a fan of Satyajit Ray! Even my son contributed Rs. 500 from his piggy bank. A person like Sanjib Biswas who hails from Delhi, and resides in Oman now, contacted me through the Wishberry campaign page and contributed twice. He is responsible for the highest pledge amount and he did it only to see that his childhood hero ‘Feluda’s’ film be finished properly. The success of this campaign changed my personality; it increased my confidence greatly.

Following are some of the figures that were recorded during the campaign:

Target amount: Rs. 15,00,000

Target achieved: 103% (Rs. 15,40,154)

Total number of backers: 214

Percentage of unknown backers: 50

I’m positive about the concept of crowdfunding for films. But the person has to have a strong positive belief within himself/herself, and be clear in the communication for the film he/she is requesting funds for. They should also be extremely hard working and focused in strategic planning, and should remain honest in their intention.

As far as the film is concerned, it is already making the rounds of festivals (it did successfully screen at the New York Indian Film Festival after all!). It will be ready for theatrical release early next year.

Satyajit Ray

While signing off, we asked Sagnik if ‘Feluda’ is relevant is today’s day and age. His reply didn’t disappoint us:

‘Feluda’ is multi-dimensional.... in thinking, in action; in expression... this multi-dimensional aptitude is blended with humanity and a strong value system. For me, this is the reason of his relevancy till today.

Joi Baba Felunath!


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