The Case of the Two Bhaskars

Bhaskar in the title sequence of IDYB.

Bhaskar in the title sequence of IDYB.

In further conversation with my acquaintance who knew I Drink Your Blood star Bhaskar Roy Chowdhury, Candance Hibbard Lillie, we have come across a conundrum: his career after 1970 as reported on IMDB, may be in error.  Specifically, his roles in the French short The Epitaph (May 1970); Satyajit Ray’s classic film from India The Adversary (October 1970); the lead role in the Indian film Trisandhya (1972); and Ghar (February 1978).  None of these films are particularly relevant to fans of exploitation cinema, but I’m curious about the cast of I Drink Your Blood, so I’ll pull on this string a bit.

According to Candance, Bhaskar did not return to India (or France) after he came to the US after his arrival in the mid-1950s to make movies.  She watched the YouTube version of The Adversary I posted in my initial attempt to profile his career, and did not see him in the film.  This version of the film does not contain on-screen credits, so one cannot just read his name in opening or end credits.  Also, she does not remember him leaving the dance company for extended periods to travel back to India to make these films.

Jaya_B3

The “other” Bhaskar?

I suspect that “our Bhaskar” is not the Bhaskar Chowdhury making appearances in these films.  It turns out that “Bhaskar Chowdhury”–in its various transliterations (Chaudari, Choudhary, Chaudhari, etc.) seems to be a relatively common name in India, and there’s at least one Indian actor I’ve been able to find who was a contemporary of “our Bhaskar”–Bhaskar Chaudhuri, pictured left, mentioned in passing in this blog about Indian fimmaking of that era.

Thus, if Candance’s and my hunch is right, there is a case of mistaken identity on IMDB.  The apparent error seems to recreate itself anywhere “our Bhaskar” is referenced on the Internet, as various sites both in the cinema community and more broadly, take their cues from the apparently erroneous IMDB entry.

Taking this a bit further, and perhaps too far, I suspect this sort of mistake probably happens pretty often within exploitation cinema, given the more transient nature of this part of the film industry, where we often see the bios of actors and actresses being quite spare indeed.  There are a large number of actors and actresses who made only a handful–or a single–film appearance in the various genres of exploitation fare, and then disappear.  In the absence of actors and actresses actively trying to maintain their image and brand, dots get connected that shouldn’t be, and mistakes like the one we think we found here get made and magnified across the Internet.  Personally, I think this sort of thing makes a good case for creating an Exploitation Cinema Database for those of us who like to swim in this end of the pond… but that’s someone else’s project.

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