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Rajit Kapur as Bakshi in the 1993-97 critically acclaimed TV series
|Last appearance||Bishupal Bodh|
|Created by||Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay|
|Portrayed by||Uttam Kumar|
Sushant Singh Rajput
Aneesh See Yay
Ajit Bandopaddhyay (right hand and writer)
Byomkesh Bakshi is an Indian-Bengali fictional detective created by Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay. Referring to himself as a "truth-seeker" in the stories, Bakshi is known for his proficiency with observation, logical reasoning, and forensic science which he uses to solve complicated cases, usually murders. The character has often been called the Indian version of Sherlock Holmes. Initially appearing in the 1931 story Satyanweshi, the character's popularity immensely increased in Bengal and other parts of India. Though it gained pan-India popularity almost 6 decades later with a TV series on Doordarshan with Rajit Kapur portraying Byomkesh.
Byomkesh is a Hindu and wears mostly a white shirt with a white dhoti. He does not live in luxury but possess numerous books. He travels frequently, and does not own a gun and does not consider himself to be an "expensive helper". His habits include smoking, and drinking lots of cups of tea with milk. He fluently speaks Bengali, Hindi, and English.
Both of Byomkesh' names have since entered the Bengali language to describe someone who is both intelligent and observant. It is also used sarcastically to mean someone who states the obvious.
Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay's most well known character Byomkesh Bakshi first appeared as a character in the story Satyanweshi (The Inquisitor). The story is set in 1931 in the Chinabazar area of Kolkata where a 'non-government detective' Byomkesh Bakshi, owing to the permission from the police commissioner, starts living in a mess in that area under the pseudonym of Atul Chandra Mitra to probe a series of murders. Most of the stories are written by Sharadindu under the pen name of Ajit Bandhopadhay who is said to have met Byomkesh in the mess at Chinabazar. Byomkesh Bakshi is described in Satyanweshi as "a man of twenty-three or twenty-four years of age who looked well educated." Later in the story it comes to be known that Byomkesh lives on a three-story rented house at Harrison Road. The only other person living with him, is his attendant, Putiram. At the request of Byomkesh, Ajit starts living in the house with them. It is also mentioned that Byomkesh did not like being called a detective, and the word 'investigator' was even worse. Thus he fashioned a new name for himself and had it inscribed on a brass plate in front of his house. The plaque read "Byomkesh Bakshi Satyanweshi" (The Inquisitor). Unlike other lead characters in detective stories, Byomkesh Bakshi marries, ages, contemplates buying a car, etc. When Sukumar is charged with murder in the story ‘Arthamanartham’, Byomkesh meets Satyabati, Sukumar's sister, whom he later marries. In the story Adim Ripu, there is some information about Byomkesh's early childhood. His father Mahadev Bakshi was a mathematics teacher at a school and practised Sankhya philosophy at home while his mother was the daughter of a Vaishnavite. When Byomkesh was seventeen years old, his parents died of tuberculosis. Later, Byomkesh passed University with scholarship. During the Second World War and after India's independence, Byomkesh, Satyabati and Ajit live in the mess house of Harrison Road. It was the author's imagination, that the detective even assisted Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in his secret missions which was found to be written in one of the Byomkesh stories. Later, they decide to buy land in Keyatala in South Kolkata and shift to their new home.
Saradindu Bandopadhyay penned 32 Byomkesh stories from 1932 to 1970 prior to his death. In his early stories, Ajit Bandhopadhyay is described as his companion, and chronicler of his stories. But in some cases Ajit also investigates in absence of Byomkesh (Makorshar Rosh, Shoilo Rahasya). These stories are all written in traditional formal Bengali language but later stories shift to more colloquial language. Sometimes the later stories are not penned by Ajit, as he is much more engaged in his publication business.
The stories are not very complicated but very engaging, with a long series of surprising events. The stories present a range of crimes, from the first story, Satyanweshi, where Byomkesh destroys an international drug racket, to household mysteries and crimes like Arthamanartham, Makorshar Rosh, etc, all are equally enjoyable. Byomkesh gradually ages through the series, and he has a son called Khoka (Little Boy) in the series.
Sharadindu did not want to continue the Byomkesh stories, which is why he stopped writing Byomkesh stories from 1938 to 1951. During that time he was busy writing scripts for films in Bombay. After his return to West Bengal, there was still a demand for Byomkesh stories and so he wrote Chitrachor (Picture Imperfect) in 1951 and gradually on to 1970, when his last story "Bishupal Badh" (Killing of Bishupal) was not completed owing to his untimely death.
List of stories
In the Byomkesh series there are 32 published and 1 unpublished stories. The list is chronologically arranged.
- indicates "story".
- indicates "novel".
- indicates unfinished writings.
|Novel/Story||English title||Year of publicaton||Characters|
|Pother Kanta||The Gramaphone Pin Mystery||1932||Yes||No|
|Seemanto-heera||The Hidden Heirloom||1932||Yes||No|
|Makorshar Rosh||The Venom of the Tarantula||1933||Yes||No|
|Arthamanartham||Where there is a Will||1933||Yes||Yes|
|Uposonghaar||An Encore for Byomkesh||1935||Yes||No|
|Roktomukhi Neela||The Deadly Diamond||1936||Yes||No|
|Byomkesh O Boroda||Byomkesh and Boroda||1936||Yes||No|
|Durgo Rahasya||The Mystery of the Fortress||1952||Yes||No|
|Adim Ripu||The Pristine Enemy||1955||Yes||No|
|Banhi-patanga||The Moth and the Flame||1956||Yes||Yes|
|Rokter Daag||The Bloodstains||1956||Yes||Yes|
|Monimondon||The Jewel Case||1958||Yes|
|Amriter Mrityu||The Death of Amrito||1959||Yes|
|Shailo Rahasya||The Phantom Client||1959||Yes|
|Achin Pakhi||The Avenger||1960||Yes|
|Kohen Kobi Kalidas||Thus Spoke the Poet Kalidasa||1961||Yes|
|Adrishyo Trikon||The Invisible Triangle||1961||Yes|
|Khuji Khuji Nari||The Will that Vanished||1961||Yes|
|Adwitiyo||One and Only||1961||Yes|
|Dushtochokro||The Crooked Circle||1963||Yes|
|Henyalir Chhondo||The Rhythm of the Riddles||1964||Yes||Yes|
|Room Nombor Dui||Room Number 2||1964||No||Yes|
|Cholonar Chhondo||The Man in a Red Coat||1965||No||Yes|
|Shajarur Kanta||The Quills of the Porcupine||1967||No||Yes|
|Benishonghar||The Annihilation of Beni||1968||No||Yes|
|Lohar Biskut||The Iron Biscuits||1969||No||Yes|
|Bishupal Bodh (unfinished)||The Annihilation of Bishu Paal||1970|
In other media
The Byomkesh Bakshi stories have been adapted into several television series, radio programs, audio dramas, films, and video games.
The 1993-97 Byomkesh Bakshi television series, created by Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay, and starring Rajit Kapur as Bakshi, and K.K. Raina as Ajit respectively, became the most critically acclaimed and most celebrated adaptation of the character.
There have been 20 Bakshi movies, with Abir Chatterjee portraying the character 7 times.
A Bollywood movie named Detective Byomkesh Bakshi starring Sushant Singh Rajput and Ashish Rana in lead roles was also released.
- "Stories". 25 December 2009.
- "Byomkesh Bakshi (1993, 1997)".
- "Off the beaten track: TV show Byomkesh Bakshi is popular even now". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 11 August 2016.