Films: The Bengali Detective

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The Bengali Detective

The Bengali Detective

United Kingdom, 2011, 110 Minute Running Time
Additional Countries: India, USA
Genre/Subjects: Crime, Documentary, Music, Social Issues
Program: Documentary Films
Language: Hindi, English, Bengali English Subtitles

Producer: Jon Thompson (exec), Phil Cox, Giovanna Stopponi, Himesh Kar, Annie Sundberg
Editor: Taimur Khan, Tom Hemmings
Cinematographer: Lisa Cazza To-Vieyra
Principal Cast: 

For his latest documentary, director-cinematographer Philip Cox interviewed private eyes across India before encountering the ultimate Bengali detective, Rajesh Ji. “My previous films in India were more current affairs and reportage,” he has said, “but I had long been looking for a story that would be character-based, with a [protagonist] who did something that revealed other people's lives.

Rajesh is making his mark in Kolkata as an investigator. Since the Indian police tend to fall down on the job, he and his crew at the Always Investigating and Security Concern Agency go after murderers, counterfeiters, and adulterers for their clients. But Rajesh does not limit his passion to work: he loves to dance. Entering himself and his uncoordinated colleagues in a national TV dance contest, he hires a coach to help the gumshoes learn the moves. A family man, Rajesh also dotes on his son and his severely diabetic wife, explaining that theirs was a love match rather than a traditional arranged marriage.

Using two cameras, Cox follows Rajesh through the underbelly of Kolkata on vice raids and into the homes of murder victims’ families, while revealing his hero’s tender side in hospital emergency rooms—and mixing in Bollywood-style song-and-dance numbers to boot. The shift between scenes of light-hearted humor to those of serious crime and personal grief, revealing the many layers of Rajesh’s life, is effortless.

Sponsored by Consulate General of Canada in Denver

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