Lalmohan Ganguly, alias Jatayu (Bengali: জটায়ু), (also spelled Jotayu) is a fictional character in the Feluda stories written by Satyajit Ray. He writes crime thrillers, but is quite weak and nervous in real life. He is fairly wealthy due to the immense sales of his books; he writes two books a year. His crime fiction stories have very interesting names, often characterised by alliterations like 'Sahara-ey Shiharan', 'Vancouver-er Vampire', 'Honduras-e Hahakar', 'Atlantic-er Atanka', 'Bidghute Bodmas', 'Arokto Arab' etc. It may be noted that the names of several Feluda stories also exhibit this feature, for example 'Joto Kando Kathmandute', 'Royal Bengal Rahasya', 'Robertson-er Ruby', 'Gosaipur Sargaram','Bombay-er Bombetey' etc. The detective of Jatayu's novel, Prakhar Rudra, is a character with incredible intellect and power. Lalmohan's grandfather gave his name "Sarbogya Gongopadhyay" but Lalmohan does not use that name.
He first meets Feluda in the story Sonar Kella (The Golden Fortress) and from then on he accompanies Feluda and Topshe on all their major adventures. He collects weapons but is often reluctant to use them. Weapons collected by him during different adventures include boomerang, kukri (knife), smoke bomb and even a pestle etc. His whole demeanour is of hilarity and he regularly provides the comic relief in the stories. He has a history with the villain Maganlal Meghraj who had a circus performer throw knives at him in Joi Baba Felunath (The Mystery of the Elephant God) and fed him the drug LSD in Jato Kando Kathmandutey (The Criminals of Kathmandu). The last time Jatayu met Meghraj was at Golapi Mukto Rahashya.
In the Feluda adventures he is a great source of comic relief. However, his qualities improve with time and with his association with Feluda, gradually makes him more knowledgeable and intelligent. In the movie version (not in the original story) of the first story, Sonar Kella, the criminal Mandar Bose escapes due to the folly of Jatayu. But in the later stories we find Jatayu being of great help to Feluda in his work.
Jatayu is a fan of Baikuntha Mallick, a teacher in Athenium Institution, Kolkata, who is also a poet. Jatayu often recites his poems, which are also a source of comedy due to their peculiarity. Jatayu walks two miles daily to keep fit, refers to encyclopaedia for writing novels. He is a bachelor and owns three houses. He loves travelling.
In the first two movies on Feluda , the character of Jatayu was played by eminent actor cum advocate Santosh Dutta, and due to his performance, Satyajit Ray's later stories on Feluda had Jatayu adapting himself to the looks and mannerisms of Santosh Dutta. Bombaiyer Bombete, Kailashey Kelenkari & Tintorettor Jishu saw Jatayu being played by Bibhu Bhattacharya. Rabi Ghosh played the role in the telefilm Baksho Rohoshyo.
Jatayu has had been filmed at different times, with the character been played by Late Santosh Dutta, Late Rabi Ghosh, Late Anup Kumar and Late Bibhu Bhattacharya.
A recently published book (Jatayu Jindabad, by Sunit Sengupta, published by Laalmati, 2009), exclusively on Jatayu, provides a comprehensive and elaborate analysis of this lovable character and almost brings him to life.