New Delhi: A story by a doyen of Bangladesh literature, which Satyajit Ray fervently wanted to turn into a film, is being translated into English for the first time by a leading Indian publisher.
Ray was so highly impressed with the story, written by Bangladeshi novelist and short story writer Selina Hossain, that he wrote three separate letters to her expressing his faith that it could be turned into a good film.
"The book is being translated by French author Pascal Zynck and is being published by Rupa, India," Hossain told reporters from Dhaka, adding it is expected to hit the stands sometime this year.
The story was first published in a magazine and later developed into a novel titled "Hangor, Nodi, Grenade" (The Shark, the River and the Grenade) which is set in the backdrop of Bangladesh?s liberation war of 1971.
After reading the story, Ray, in a letter to Hossain written on August 13, 1975, said, "I liked your story and conveyed it to many. I had firm belief that a good film can be made out of the story."
However, says Ray's letter, since he had another project in hand he could not think of making a film out of Hossain's story at that time.
The director also says that later the question of going to Bangladesh and making the film also cropped up but "I heard at that time that the situation on that side is not good and therefore the plan had to be deferred", an apparent reference to the internal political turmoil in that country.
Ray was disappointed that his other engagements in India prevented him from making the film out of Hossain's story.
"Under the circumstances, I don?t understand how I can ask you to hold the story for me," he told her in the letter, adding, however "I have doubts if such a beautiful story will be properly picturised if it falls into someone else's hand."
On February 27, 1976, Ray wrote another letter to the writer that acknowledged with gratitude the receipt of the novel "Hangor, Nodi, Grenade" and reiterated his desire to make the film.
At the same time, he conveys to Hossain that he is not very hopeful about making the cut from the news he got about the situation in Bangladesh, apparently a reference to the situation in that country less than a year after the assassination of the country's independence architect Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Ray's last letter to the Bangladeshi writer written on March 1, 1978, also reaffirms his desire to make the film but in the same breath says "I don't know when it will be fulfilled". Ray died in April 1992, leaving his wish unfulfilled.
Five years later, Bangladeshi director Chashi Nazrul Islam made a film out of the novel in 1997.