The Bengali Night (1988) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • A British engineer becomes entangled in a forbidden romance with his Indian employer's eldest daughter. As their passion ignites, the East-meets-West clash of cultures leads to surprising and tragic consequences.

  • La Nuit Bengali, French (Bengal Nights, English) is a 1933 Romanian novel written by philosopher Mircea Eliade. It is a fictionalized account of the love story between Eliade, who was visiting India at the time, and the young Maitreyi Devi (protegée of the great Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore). The novel was translated into Italian in 1945, German in 1948, Spanish in 1952, and Esperanto in 2007. Its most famous translation is the one in French, published as La Nuit Bengali in 1950. For many years, Maitreyi Devi was not aware that the story had been published. After reading it, she wrote her own version of the relationship in 1974. Titled "Na Hanyate", it was originally published in Bengali. It was published in English as "It Does Not Die". In fulfillment of a promise Eliade made to Maitreyi that his novel would not be published in English during their lifetimes, an English translation, of Mayitreyi, Bengal Nights did not appear until 1993. In 1994, the University of Chicago Press published the two works in English as companion volumes. Allan is an employee of the company run by engineer Narendra Sen. When sent to work in a rain-abundant region of India, Allan gets sick of malaria. He is returned to Calcutta and admitted into a hospital. After treatment, Sen invites Allan into his own house. Shortly after the young guest falls in love with Maitreyi, the host's daughter. The forbidden love gradually grows with Maitreyi and Allan ending up together. Chabu, Maitreyi's sister, unwillingly witnesses the lovers hugging, thus banishing Allan and isolating Maitreyi. Both suffer immensely. To rid himself of the suffering, Allan retreats into a bungalow in the Himalaya mountains where he meets Jenia Issac.


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