Hugh Grant (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Bridget Jone's Diary) stars as a British engineer who becomes entangled in a forbidden romance with his Indian employer?s eldest daughter. As their passion ignites, the East-meets-W... more »est clash of cultures leads to surprising and tragic consequences. Based on a true story, the film beautifully captures the magic and mystery of India. The accomplished cast includes John Hurt (Elephant Man, Midnight Express) and Shabana Azmi, one of India?s greatest film stars« less
Elizabeth Portello | Woodland Hills, CALIFORNIA USA | 09/16/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
""The Bengali Night" is a very subtle and beautiful film, where Indian culture has the leading role even if Hugh Grant and John Hurt are both excellent. As the film begins, we are introduced to the world of those expatriates living in India, although there are some, like Hugh Grant's character, Allan, who refuse to absorb this very strong and powerful culture. Allan is an engineer who builds bridges and paves roads with his young European mentality. Yet, there are others like Hurt's character, who instead, embrace the culture to the point that they fall into it; become obsessed by it. So, when Allan becomes ill and is invited to stay at the home of his employer, he dives head first, leaving behind his European past, including friends and a girlfriend. It's not too difficult for him to then fall in love with the boss' daughter, Gayatri, who is beautiful, charming, and the perfect "guide" for Allan. However, passion in India between a white man and an Indian woman is not something that is tolerated, and our two lovers are not prepared for the consequences. The film is held together by a wonderful cast, which includes the great Shabana Azmi, one of Indian cinema's greatest stars, along with other actors of Satyajit Ray's team. It was Hugh Grant's first starring role, and his youth and naivety makes his character ever more endearing. Based on a true story between the philosopher Mircea Eliade and Maytrei Davi, who became one of the most important poets of Bengal, the film wraps us up in the flavor and magic of India, and refuses to let go. A beautiful and very powerful film. Phil Ed."
"The World Is Our Body" ~ A Hindu `Waiting For Godot'
Brian E. Erland | Brea, CA - USA | 12/17/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"`The Bengali Night" released in '88 is based on the novel `La nuit bengali' written by Mircea Eliade, one of the most respected experts in religion and sociology of the 20th century. Based on a true story `The Bengali Night' is a masterpiece of existential storytelling; intelligent, articulate and highly mystical. You can almost see the genius mind of Eliade at work.
The film succeeds in capturing all the Occidental, existential angst of Beckett and Sartre while adding a high degree of Indian mysticism thus bringing a texture and flavor to the story. It's absolutely intoxicating. The dialogue is so profound that you'll find yourself backing up the disc now and then to hear the imparted words of wisdom again. Add to this wonderful script the exotic urban landscape of India and a near hypnotic soundtrack, you'll find yourself lost in a world of images you'll want to revisit often. This is truly a hidden cinematic gem waiting to be discovered by "All the lost sheep who wander through this world." The only flaw is the DVD itself. The picture is somewhat grainy and spotted, it's definitely in need of a remastering.
Strong performances by Hugh Grant and John Hurt, but the true stars in this film are the two Indian beauties Supriya Pathak as Gayatri and Shabana Azmi as Indira Sen."
Just awkward. Only for die hard fans of Hugh Grant.
Traveler | New England | 06/04/2008
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I watched this movie with someone of Bengali descent. Both of us agreed within 10 minutes that the film was not good. Within a half hour it was nothing less than excruciating to watch.
"The Bengali Night" is just an awkward movie. The characters are odd, inexplicable, and just downright weird. John Hurt's character in particular borders on creepy. The conflict between Grant's character and the daughter's father is telegraphed very early on.
This film is not a "classic" regardless of what others might claim. Just look on rottentomatoes and you'll see that not a single reviewer even bothered with this rather unknown film. I'm not saying this as either a snob or as someone who doesn't like great movies. I appreciate everything from "Casablanca" to "Brokeback Mountain" to "Speed." That's how bad this movie is.
If you love Hugh Grant and want to see something from his early days then this might be an interesting watch. He has a rather odd accent in this film and it does show him getting his acting chops. Everyone else should probably stay away from this film like the plague.
Edit: I know that this movie has roots in the real life story of two academics, Devi and Eliade, who fell in love in their youth and were separated by Devi's traditional Indian father. The true story is tragic, but little of that is depicted in this odd film. It simply makes this movie seem even more flawed - there was enough story here for a classic and the director simply failed to deliver."
Bengali night is a train wreck in slo-mo
R. H. Powell | Dallas, TX USA | 09/04/2008
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I found this film to be a conglomeration of eccentric characters poorly portrayed. The editor must have been on drugs. The film moves in awkward jerks like a five-car pileup in slow motion. The storyline is predictable and offers nothing to recommend it. The true story has promise as a film, but this production is not it.
Hugh Grant as Allan is a gray, featureless character moving like he's overdosed on Valium. Allan's girlfriend is simply a freak. (None of the relationships are clearly drawn.) John Hurt's talent is wasted on a character of little consequence. Maybe he is supposed to be the comic relief. Supriya Pathak as Gayatri is absolutely gorgeous. Unfortunately her beauty cannot save this mess.
The real killer was that the DVD had the quality of a pirated movie. It had the appearance of a an 8-mm home movie copied directly to DVD (in someone's garage). The quality is grainy with extremely harsh contrast: shadows are muddy while highlights are washed out. The colors are garish. Hugh and John's faces break out like acne in lurid tenges of red and yellow. The titles are severely blurred. A line of text that appears at the beginning of the film -- that is meant as an introduction to the film -- is unreadable.
Need I go on?"
Good period piece.
Christian J. Lafaurie | 03/08/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"If you want a look at life in India, way back when. this movie supplies that. As far as entertainment goes, it's just so-so."