The Bengali Night

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The Bengali Night
The Bengali Night FilmPoster.jpeg
Directed byNicolas Klotz
Written byJean-Claude Carrière
Mircea Eliade (novel)
StarringSoumitra Chatterjee
Shabana Azmi
Hugh Grant
Supriya Pathak
Music byMichel Portal, Brij Narayan
Release date
  • 1988 (1988)
Running time
115 minutes
United Kingdom

The Bengali Night (French: la Nuit Bengali) is a 1988 semi-autobiographical film based upon the Mircea Eliade 1933 Romanian novel, Bengal Nights, directed by Nicolas Klotz and starring Hugh Grant, Soumitra Chatterjee, Supriya Pathak and Shabana Azmi.

Plot summary[edit]

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.


Production history[edit]

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.[1] Kamani also notes:

Devi was bitter about the whole affair. She wrote in 1988: "Christinel [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.[1]

The film was partly shot at village Dhanyakuria.


  1. ^ a b c "A Terrible Hurt: The Untold Story behind the Publishing of Maitreyi Devi". Retrieved 22 November 2012.

External links[edit]