ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Exploding Myths

Hiten Chaudhury HITEN CHAUDHURY died a brokenhearted man. One of the most generous hearted, truly civilised and kind hearted persons that I have ever had the privilege of knowing, he was badly cheated just before his death. He had held on to the right of making a film on Manik Bando- padhya's classic, Padma Nadir Majhi, for over 25 years, with the hope of sometimes producing the film. He had a script written as early as in 1965, a copy of which he gave to me. He acquired the right in the following fashion. He had gone to visit Manik Bandopadhya during his last days when he was in great financial distress. He offered him a sum of money without any preconditions. Manik was too proud to accept such a gift of money, so he offered Hiten on his own the right to make a film on his famous book. Hiten was approached over the years by various famous directors with proposals to make the film. But Hiten refused. Each man has his own most cherished dream and Hi ten's lifelong dream was to make a film masterpiece based on the literary masterpiece of Manik. Finally, in 1991, he perhaps realised that time was running out for him, he might not be able to produce the film on his own. So he agreed to a joint production of the film with the West Bengal government. Not only that, it was his expectation that he would be sharing in the work of direction as well. He explained to me, when he visited me and stayed with me in my Santiniketan residence shortly before his death, that he had produced but a handful of films, but he was never just a producer but always a co-director. He was fully confident that Gautam Ghosh would direct the film in consultation with him. He narrated to me how he had gone with Gautam to different parts of Bangladesh and West Bengal, how he had jointly selected the cast. He told me he would have to come to this part of the country very frequently because he wanted to be present at all the shootings. He thought he had a perfect understanding with the West Bengal government as well as Gautam Ghosh. He had only to return to Bombay to understand that he had been duped. Gautam Ghosh had no in tention of having Hiten by his side while making the film and the West Bengal government had no intention of acknowledging that the film rights had been handed over to it by Hiten without taking

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