It was my weakness for the old-school YA-friendly detective adventure, which eschews cynicism, gruesome violence and tortured psyches, that led me to check out Guptodhoner Sandhane (GS) aka Hunt for Hidden Treasure. GS is Satyajit Ray's Feluda by way of National Treasure. Kollywood's favorite sleuth actor Abir Chatterjee, after having played both Feluda and Byomkesh Bakshi, now dons the part of Subarna Sen alias Sona-da, a history professor from Oxford (represented by overcoat and muffler scarf) with a penchant for solving puzzles, and when called for, fisticuffs too.
Sona-da accompanies his food-obsessed lawyer nephew/companion Abir (Arjun Chakrabarty) to the 350-year old family mansion in Manikantapur village (Oh, these delicious Bong names!), where they find both clues to a hidden ancient treasure as well as mysterious nocturnal sightings. Teaming up with Abir's childhood-friend-now-chirpy-lass Jhinuk (Isha Saha), they set out to solve the mystery while also facing the unfriendly advances of a local politician-goon Dasanan (Rajatabha Datta) who is out to get the treasure for himself. The movie also has cameo appearances from Gautam Ghose and Arindam Sil.
GS is not some scintillating exercise in detective movie-making, but it's good comfort food (and I'm not just referring to the sight of the tasty Bengali dishes shown). There's a smattering of fictionalized history; the treasure is supposed to have been originally the property of prince Shah Shuja, the son of Mughal emperor Jehangir who fought (and lost) with both Dara Shukoh and Aurangzeb, before he fled to Myanmar. The light-hearted tone and the honoring of the family-friendly spirit in which Ray wrote his Feluda spirit keeps the proceedings pleasant and easy to watch. The setting of the family mansion and adjoining ruins is well-realized with some nice night-time photography.
GS could have fared better in the writing. There are too many A-ha! moments that muddy the detective aspects of the story. It also suffers from making Sona-da omnipotent. If our historian puzzle solver can also biff-pow bad guys, what's left for anyone else to do? Abir is mostly reduced to a gluttonous scaredy-cat buffoon, making you wonder why the curious and plucky Jhinuk would have anything but contempt for this friend. A more even spreading of the heroic qualities among the leads would have led to a complimentary dynamic between our desi Three Investigators.
But it does well enough as an easy-to-watch on a lazy afternoon family-friendly mystery adventure, especially for fans of the Feluda stories. Apparently there's a sequel called Durgeshgorer Guptodhon, but from my initial impressions it seems to be almost identical to the first film.