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Byomkesh hated being called a detective. He preferred the term satyanweshi, meaning seeker of truth. Unlike many other fictional detectives, Byomkesh ages, marries, has a son, starts a publishing firm with his assistant-cum-chronicler Ajit (he makes a more stable income from this than from his seeking of the truth), buys a house in South Calcutta, and ponders buying a car for his wife Satyabati (note that ‘satya’ occurs here again).
Byomkesh’s only addiction is smoking, he has no musical ear to speak of, but like many modern young Bengalis of the time, he has a solid grasp over Bengali literature and a working knowledge of the Sanskrit classics, from which both he and Ajit quote freely.
The first story appeared in print in 1932. The stories are chronicled by Ajit, a writer who meets Byomkesh in Satyanweshi (novel).
The books are written in classical Bengali, with a mood of noir – fast, gripping, uncompromising in their portrayal of violence or lust, with touches of wry humour. There are thirty two stories in all. Byomkesh gradually ages over time in them.
In 1936, in only his tenth outing, Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay, wanted to retire Byomkesh, and so married him off (an almost unheard-of thing for detectives across the world), and thought that was the end of it. He did not write another Byomkesh story for 16 years, and settled in Bombay as a writer for Himanshu Roy’s Bombay Talkies. But on a visit to Calcutta, he discovered that Bengalis still hankered for his hero; graciously, he returned to Byomkesh and stayed with him till the end of his life.
In a 1969 interview, Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay worried about Byomkesh—he was now 60 years old (10 years younger than his creator); and though still mentally and physically fit, he would like to retire, but was helpless as long as a vast number of Bengali readers kept wanting to read more of him. And the author could not let them down.
Byomkesh Bakshi (2010) was the first installment of the Byomkesh film trilogy directed by singer-songwriter-actor-director Anjan Dutt and produced by R P Techvision Pvt Ltd. The film was released on 13 August 2010. This movie is based on the novel Adim Ripu. This movie was scheduled be followed by the other two film-adaptations of Chitrochor and Beni Sanghar.
Byomkesh Phire Elo (2014) is the third film adaptation of the Byomkesh film trilogy by Anjan Dutta. In the film, all actors from the previous film have reprised their roles including Abir Chatterjee as Bakshi & Ushasie Chakraborty as Satyaboti. The Film is Based on Beni Sanghar.
The Sunday Suspense series of 98.3 Radio Mirchi (Kolkata) adapted total seven novels of Byomkesh Bakshi for audio stories which include Satyanweshi, Makorshar Rosh, Agnibaan, Roktomukhi Neela, Khunji Khunji Nari, Adwitiyo and Lohar Biscuit.
In the early 1980s Kolkata Doordarshan produced several episodes of Byomkesh Bakshi where Ajoy Ganguly acted as Byomkesh.
Byomkesh Bakshi (1993) directed by Basu Chatterjee was the critically acclaimed television adaptation of the series. Actor Rajit Kapur played the role of Byomkesh Bakshi, for which he was highly praised. Ajit was played by K.K. Raina and Satyabati was played by Sukanya Kulkarni who was the first actress to play the character. The series had 33 episodes, aired on DD 1 Season 1 in 1993 and Season 2 in 1997.
Byomkesh (2007) was also directed by Swapan Ghosal, who collaborated with Tara Muzik (a private Bengali T. V. channel). Actor Saptarshi Roy has played Bakshi while Ajit and Satyaboti were played by two lesser-known actors.
Byomkesh Bakshi was introduced to the Indian national audience in 1993 through the Doordarshan serial of the same name, directed by Basu Chatterjee. The serial was immensely popular and has since been rerun by Doordarshan many times. All the episodes are available on YouTube, and are extremely popular. Certainly for many people who watched the serial when it was first broadcast, the actor Rajit Kapur has become identified with the fictional Bengali detective for all time to come.
In 2014 film Doorbeen, an aged Byomkesh Bakshi is portrayed by Soumitra Chatterjee. The film is not based on any of Byomkesh Bakshi stories, it is a spoof film and a crossover between another Bengali sleuth Feluda.