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Encyclopedia > The Bengali Night
The Bengali Night
Directed by Nicolas Klotz
Written by Jean-Claude Carrière
Mircea Eliade (novel)
Starring Soumitra Chatterjee
Shabana Azmi
Hugh Grant
Supriya Pathak
Release date(s) 1988
Running time 115 min.
Language English
IMDb profile

The Bengali Night is a 1988 a semi-autobiographical film based upon the Mircea Eliade 1933 Romanian novel, Maitreyi, directed by Nicolas Klotz and starring the noted Indian actors Soumitra Chatterjee and Shabana Azmi (it also stars a young Hugh Grant). Jean-Claude Carrière (born September 19, 1931 in Colombières-sur-Orb, Hérault, France) is a screenwriter and actor. ... This article is becoming very long. ... Soumitra Chatterjee (born 1935) is a Bengali actor from India, most famous for his frequent collaborations with the great Indian director Satyajit Ray. ... Shabana Azmi (Hindi: शबाना आज़मी, born 18 September 1950 at New Delhi, India) is one of the leading actresses of parallel cinema. ... Hugh John Mungo Grant (born September 9, 1960 in Hammersmith, London) is a Golden Globe winning English actor. ... Supriya Pathak is an Indian actress famous for her role in the Indian sitcom Khichdi. ... 1988 (MCMLXXXVIII) was a leap year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... This article is becoming very long. ... Maitreyi (La Nuit Bengali, French; Bengal Nights, English) is a 1933 Romanian novel written by the author and philosopher Mircea Eliade. ... Soumitra Chatterjee (born 1935) is a Bengali actor from India, most famous for his frequent collaborations with the great Indian director Satyajit Ray. ... Shabana Azmi (Hindi: शबाना आज़मी, born 18 September 1950 at New Delhi, India) is one of the leading actresses of parallel cinema. ... Hugh John Mungo Grant (born September 9, 1960 in Hammersmith, London) is a Golden Globe winning English actor. ...

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.

Plot summary

Allan (Hugh Grant) is an engineer working in 1930s Calcutta. He is invited to stay with the family of his boss, Narendra Sen (Soumitra Chatterjee) which includes his wife, Indira (Shabana Azmi) and daughter Gayatri (Supriya Pathak). Gayatri and Allan become romantically involved leading to tragedy. Hugh John Mungo Grant (born September 9, 1960 in Hammersmith, London) is a Golden Globe winning English actor. ... The 1930s (years from 1930–1939) were described as an abrupt shift to more radical and conservative lifestyles, as countries were struggling to find a solution to the Great Depression, also known in Europe as the World Depression. ... This article is on Calcutta/Kolkata, the city. ... Soumitra Chatterjee (born 1935) is a Bengali actor from India, most famous for his frequent collaborations with the great Indian director Satyajit Ray. ... Shabana Azmi (Hindi: शबाना आज़मी, born 18 September 1950 at New Delhi, India) is one of the leading actresses of parallel cinema. ... Supriya Pathak is an Indian actress famous for her role in the Indian sitcom Khichdi. ...


Production history

Production of the film occurred about a decade after Maitreyi Devi (the inspiration for the character Gayatri) published her version of the story Na Hanyate, (originally published in Bengali). She also extracted a promise from Eliade that his version would never be published in English. According to Ginu Kamani in "A Terrible Hurt:The Untold Story behind the Publishing of Maitreyi Devi", Maitreyi witnessed the making of the film "The Bengali Night," which was shot in Calcutta from 1987-88 (Eliade had died that year). Her protests culminated "in court cases against the film for insulting Hinduism and for being pornographic" [1]. The film was only shown once in India at a film festival in 1989 to mixed reviews and was never released in theaters in the U.S. [2]. Kamani also notes: Bengali or Bangla (বাংলা, IPA: ) is an Indo-Aryan language of the eastern Indian subcontinent, evolved from Prakrit, Pāli and Sanskrit. ...

Devi was bitter about the whole affair. She wrote in 1988: "Christinale [Eliade's widow] has hurt me very badly. She gave permission to a French Co. to film La Nuit Bengali. They came to Calcutta for shooting and gave huge publicity pointing at me as the heroine." It was a close enough breach of Eliade's promise that his book would not come out in English during her lifetime. But it is not known whether Mrs. Eliade was following her husband's wishes or her own. [3]

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