Category Archives: Book Reviews

Feluda – Satyajit Ray

Satyajit Ray is a greatly revered filmmaker and a fiction writer throughout the Indian subcontinent. His books have been translated into various languages including English, French, Spanish, Polish, Italian and some Indian regional languages.

Winner of various prestigious awards, both as  a filmmaker as well as an author, he also has unto himself the credit of creating the fictitious amateur detective – Pradosh C. Mitter, affectionately known as Feluda (pronounced Felu-da. The Bengali character’s true nickname is ‘Felu’, but since the stories are narrated by Tapesh, Feluda‘s younger cousin, the Bengali suffix for elder brother ‘-da‘ is added). Feluda is both a popular Bengali television serial as well as a collection of short stories in Bengali and English both. Since I never knew how to read Bengali, I read the book in English. Although the true essence of the Bengali book, verbatim Satyajit Ray, may have been lost during the translation, it remains a very powerful book. I have a few Bengali acquaintances who watch this show regularly and narrate their tales with wide eyes and exceptional ecstasy for weeks after.

Feluda and Tapesh

The Feluda tales are a  jolly little bunch of good-humoured, simply put, enjoyable detective stories. They are all set up in different locations ranging from Gangtok, Sikkim in Trouble in Gangtok to Mumbai, Maharashtra in The bandits of Bombay. Feluda is an especially bright man who teams up with his younger cousin Tapesh or as he is often called in the book – Topshe ( Topshe is a distortion of his name executed by Feluda) , to fight crime, prevent fraud and spread goodwill in various parts of India. The stories are narrated by Topshe who greatly admires Feluda’s unmatched investigative skills and intuition. The duo meet Feluda’s favorite author Lalmohan Babu who writes under the pseudonym ‘Jatayu‘ early in the series. Lalmohan Babu is extremely clumsy as well as an extremely creative character. In Satyajit Ray’s own words, Lalmohan Babu provides ‘dollops of humour’ to the stories. Although not very well-known, I have never heard a negative comment about the Feluda tales. Enjoyed by us as kids and revered by us as elders, The Feluda tales are the Indian Sherlock Holmes.


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Curtain Raiser!

Its my first post on my first blog, so I thought it should be something big. So here it goes..

The Da Vinci Code

One of my personal favorites, this one book is definitely on the shelf for the ‘must-reads’. With an ingenious plot, gripping story line and interesting characters teemed up with many twists and turns throughout the book makes for a very enjoyable read.

The Da Vinci Code is one of the top-selling books of all time. It sold a breathtaking 18 million copies around the world. It won the Best Book award at the British Book Awards

Although admired by many, this book did not go down well everybody’s throats.

The book was criticized by the church in various countries on the basis of some of Dan Brown’s theses.

According to the book, Mary Magdalene was pregnant with Jesus Christ’s baby and together they started the Merovingian family prevalent at the beginning of the formation of France. Mary Magdalene and her unborn child along with some sacred documents were the ‘Holy Grail’.

The book also lays a claim about the anti-women attitude of the church. It tells us about how the Opus Dei segregate the sexes and women are to perform extra rituals to compensate for the ‘original sin’, i.e. of eating from the apple of knowledge.

The third controversy arose because the book said that the divinity of Jesus was voted on by the Roman elite to expand the powers of the church after Christ had been dead for almost 300 years!

Following the release of The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown became a star in the literary world.

The cover for Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code

In the book, Dan Brown successfully spins an inextricably intricate net of history, symbols, treachery and emotion all bundled up together to captivate the reader. His two main characters in this book  – Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveu – are both clever people with insights into symbology and cryptography respectively. They unexpectedly meet when Sophie’s grandfather, also a respected member of the Prieuré de Sione, is murdered and places himself in complex symbols to pass on the knowledge of the Grail and to prevent the knowledge from dying with him. The duo take us on a hunt for the long-lost ‘ Holy Grail’  from the Louvre museum in Paris to the Chapels of Scotland, concluding the tale with a startling end.

Some people hold the opinion that the book went on to be a bestseller only because of the mention of the Holy Grail which is one of the most baffling mysteries of history and a subject of major historical research but the people who have read it, like myself, firmly believe that this book is more than a random book about the Grail, it is a book that makes us think about our respective religions and makes us wonder about what they really are under the surface which is indefinitely more important than saying a bunch of prayers everyday without knowing to whom they are said – the divine or the human.


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