This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Rini Ayndrila. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

“Chiriyakhana”: When Two Legends Came Together To Make A Cultural Icon

More from Rini Ayndrila


“Film” and “literature” these two terms are well known to all of us. In the 18th and 19th century literature played a significant role, during that period it was a popular form to express society and human behavior through a writer’s pen. But in the 20th-century Film became more popular, because when viewers watch a film its audio-visual experience helps them to connect the moment more closely. Films that are based on books make a clear sense to their audiences. When we talk about Bengali detectives, Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay & Satyajit Ray these two names always stricken us because of their two legendary creations, ‘Byomkesh’ and ‘Feluda’.

Here I will discuss one of the famous film adaptations from Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay’s Byomkesh series “Chiriyakhana”( The Zoo). The director of the film “Chiriyakhana”( The Zoo) was Satyajit Ray. This complicated detective thriller was released on 29th September 1967. In this movie, we see Uttam Kumar a renowned actor played the role of Byomkesh.

The story in brief: The Zoo is not a zoo it is a nursery-cum-Dairy-cum- poultry farm. The story sets in Calcutta, Byomkesh and his partner Ajit were playing chess in their room. A new client came to visit Byomkesh. His name was Nishanath Sen, a retired judge. First, he gave a card to Byomkesh which contains his address, and he told that in Mohanpur, Golap Colony, he has a nursery and dairy farm. And also told about the inmates who live in his colony & work for the nursery as well as a farm. The strange thing was the men & the women who lived under Mr. Sen’s shelter were not normal people, some of them had some sort of physical deformation and some had a dark past. But, Mr. Sen came to him to get details about a Bengali song “Bhalobashar Tumi Ki Jano”.

Mr.Sen told him that this song was sung by a new actress Sunayana Devi in a Bengali film, the film worked well, but after that film, she was not found. And now Mr.Sen suspected that the actress is living in his colony under an Assumed Identity. And before leaving Byomkesh he told that for some days someone sending him some motor parts in his office. The very next morning Byomkesh & Ajit visited a man named Ramen Mallick “The Encyclopaedia of Cinema”. Ramen Mallick delivered the name of the film, “ The Poison Tree” & some details about Sunayana. Later Byomkesh and Ajit went to see a clip of the song.

After that day Byomkesh and his friend Ajit went out in the disguise of a Japanese to Golap Colony & visited all the suspicious characters, first he met Bijoy, Mr.Sen’s nephew, then his wife Damayanti, Nepal Gupta scientist and chemist, they met Banalakshmi Devi whose story was a sad one, Bijoy rescued Banalakshmi from a street-side, then, Bhujangadhar Babu a doctor who was derecognized for an illegal abortion & also a good musician, Byomkesh met others accordingly Brojodas, Mushkil Mia his wife Nazar Bibi, Panu Gopal, Rashiklal Babu & Mukul Nepal Gupta’s daughter.

Byomkesh took everyone’s photo. After some days Mr. Sen called Byomkesh to inform him something but during that call, he was murdered. Then Byomkesh started an investigation on the murder of Mr.Sen & how he is related to the song & the motor parts. Byomkesh started an investigation and solved this complicated case. He took everyone’s interview individually and solved the case very carefully. And at the end of the story, he revealed the name of the murderer Bhujangadhar and also the actress and singer’s name came out that Banalakshmi was both actress and singer as well as the wife of Bhujangadhar Babu.

And it also revealed that Damayanti Devi was not Mr.Sen’s wife. When Mr.Sen was doing his job as a judge and he gave the command to a criminal Lal Singh a motor mechanic to his death in court, but somehow Instead of hanging him, he was sentenced to life imprisonment, that Lal Singh’s wife came to Mr.Sen for help and Mr. Nishanath Sen gave her shelter as his wife. Therefore it was Lal Singh who came after his jail and was sending motor pts.

Difference Between Film And Real Story

There are many adaptations are available in the market but this film has a separate fanbase.

1, The acting of Mahanayak Uttam Kumar was excellent.

2, Satyajit tried to make the movie simple and understandable with his simple language and the scenes.

3, Satyajit tries to clear why Nishanath was interested in Sunayana Devi which was never clear from the novel.

4, the theme of the film seemed much practical than the real story.

And last, of all, Satyajit Ray tried to make the film more practical than the real story.

In the film, we can see that there are many changes from the real story, first, in the opening scene, a skeleton is found in Byomkesh’s room, through the skeleton Satyajit tries to decorate a detective’s room attractive.

Secondly, the presence of a baby python is ironic, because in the real story there is no mention of anything like this.

Thirdly, Satyajit shows Byomkesh as a bachelor but in the real story, Satyabati and his son were in Darjiling for a summer vacation with her brother.

Then come to the next point, the use of guns, Sharadindu never used a gun for Byomkesh .

Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay sets Byomkesh Bakshi apart and attractive to his readers from any other Detective characters by the use of a special Bengali word in his name that, “Satyanweshi” means truth-Seeker. In the first story of the Byomkesh series, he called himself ‘satyanweshi’ and started his career as a Private investigator. His look, his style is quite simple like a Bangali Babu. In the story “Chiriyakhana” he tries to make it interesting but somehow those who does not read detective novels will find it more difficult to understand, and Satyajit Ray tries to make the adaptation simple to all the viewers, that is why he changed so many things and decorate Byomkesh room in his own way. This film won two national awards in 1968.

References: Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay, Byomkesh Samagra – Chiriyakhana

You must be to comment.

More from Rini Ayndrila

Similar Posts

By Ronit Shakya

By Ritwik Trivedi

By SGT University

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below