In response to police corruption, the private detective business has become increasingly common in India. The Bengali Detective follows the life of detective Rajesh Ji, who, along with his ragtag team of assistants, investigates cases ranging from counterfeit hair products to a brutal triple murder. When Rajesh is not sleuthing, he has big dreams of competing on a televised national talent show, so he and his detective gang form a dance troupe—which must be seen to be believed—and rehearse for their big audition.
Set in chaotic Kolkata, formerly known as Calcutta, the film is shot with atmosphere and immediacy, complementing the mystery and suspense of the investigations. Director Philip Cox finds a riveting subject in Rajesh. He’s all at once a showman, a dedicated husband, and a humanitarian. The Bengali Detective is a layered, wildly entertaining film: a poignant profile of a delightful character, a gripping detective narrative, and a detailed look at the middle class in contemporary India. –Sundance Film Festival
An strange but utterly enthralling documentary about a group of private detectives in India who, on top of trying to solve a gruesome triple homicide, are also involved in tracking down counterfeit products on behalf of corporations, and spend their free time as an amateur dance troupe. Wonderfully idiosyncratic and entertaining, the film is set to be turned into a narrative film by director Stephen Frears.
Kolkata simmers with 15 million people and thousands of unsolved crimes. In this sprawling city, Rajesh Ji's Always Detective Agency is called upon to smash commercial counterfeit rings, expose adulterous affairs and solve murders. Screened at Seattle's SIFF 2011, it's part biopic profiling Rajesh and his professional and family life, and part Bollywood exposing his passion to dance in competition with his team.