On his 99th birthday, fans of legendary film director Satyajit Ray could not have asked for more - his final volume of Professor Shonku's escapades which has been translated into English with a portion by the master himself was launched on Saturday. "The Final Adventures of Professor Shonku" was released as an e-book by Puffin. Translated by Indrani Majumdar and a portion by Ray for the first time in English from the original collection of Shonku adventures, the book features stories that are funny, imaginative and exciting, and are perfect for sci-fi and Satyajit Ray fans, young and old alike, the publishers said.
Featuring the ever popular mad scientist Shonku, "The Final Adventures of Professor Shonku" is a companion volume to the hugely popular "Diary of a Space Traveller and Other Stories", "The Unicorn Expedition and Other Stories" and "The Mystery of Munroe Island and Other Stories".
Actor Dhritimaan Chaterji, who portrayed the character of Professor Shonku in the Bengali sci-fi drama, has written the introduction to the book.
"In Shonku, we have the finest writing for children anywhere in the world. And why just children, grown-ups are avid readers too. I have been a lover of crime fiction for the longest time, but even I was not aware of the pulp detective fiction (Satyajit Ray) introduced me to," he says.
Majumdar, the translator of the entire collection, says 2020 marks the appearance of the final and the fourth volume of Professor Shonku containing nine adventures, finally completing all his 38 exploits written in the original Bengali by Ray.
The volume begins with an escapade translated by Ray himself and the concluding and introspective adventure in this book begins at his cozy house in Giridih but the action starts to unfold from Jharkhand and takes readers to London and Berlin with a nail-biting finish.
According to Sohini Mitra, Publisher (Children Division), at Penguin India, "With this final volume, we now have the complete oeuvre of stories featuring the madcap Professor Shonku and his extraordinary adventures available for readers young and old."
In this last volume of Professor Shonku's escapades, the scientist travels around the world once more to face near death situations. Each nerve wracking experience is faithfully recorded in his diary.
The books tells about Shonku being outwitted by his own invention, the Tellus computer; his helplessness when his arch-rival in Rome deliberately misplaces his wonder drug, Miracurall; and the thrilling discovery of a three-and-a-half-thousand-year-old sparkling diamond necklace and a papyrus in an ancient tomb in Cairo.