The little-known film ‘La Nuit Bengali’ ran into controversy, which ensured that it has been shown only once in India.
Before Hugh Grant became an international star with the success of Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), he had been acting for over a decade in British films. During this period, he made his debut as a leading man with Shabana Azmi, Supriya Pathak and Soumitra Chatterjee in a French movie that was shown once at a film festival in India in 1989, and released in France.
A poster for the movie.
La Nuit Bengali (The Bengali Night), directed by Nicholas Klotz, was filmed in Kolkata in the winter of 1987. Grant plays Allan, who falls in love with Gayatri (Supriya Pathak) while residing with her parents Narendra (Soumitra Chatterjee) and Indira (Shabana Azmi).
The movie is based on Mircea Eliade’s Romanian-language novel Bengali Nights, published in 1933.
Gayatri’s character was reportedly inspired by the author’s affair with Bengali poet and novelist, Maitreyi Devi.
Not everybody agreed that La Nuit Bengali needed to be banned. Satyajit Ray visited the sets of the movie, and supported the production by lending out his technicians for the shoot. The movie is available on YouTube: be your own judge.