Category: 1978


girdlertheman1Now that we know what’s in store for us from Bill Girdler’s filmography, let’s talk about the man himself. His biography is well documented, a good overview is found here, and some themes are worth repeating as we get ready to look at his films in depth.

Girdler was born on 22 October 1947 in Kentucky to a well-to-do family of industrialists, and after a short stint in the US Air Force–likely pleasing his grandfather whose plant built B-24 bombers during World War II–returned home to start Studio One Productions with his brother -in-law. After shooting a number of local commercials, the pair turned to feature filmmaking and changed their studio name to Mid-America Pictures. Six of his nine films were shot in Kentucky, Project: Kill, Grizzly, and The Manitou were his only Hollywood productions. Girdler and his brother-in-law would be business partners until Girdler’s untimely death in 1978.

Because Girdler said himself that he was more businessman than artist, his work is mainly underappreciated by film scholars. He gets mentioned from time to time as the director of Abby or Sheba, Baby or Grizzly, and that’s pretty much the extent to which he’s remembered.

A little more thought brings us a bit more legacy to think about: first, we see Girdler’s ghost at play nearly weekly in low-budget sci-fi and horror, especially in places like the SyFy Channel. Every time we see an “animals attacking humans” film, we should be thanking Bill Girdler. Grizzly showed that this sub-genre could be fun and successful, and it’s been with us ever since 1976 when Grizzly became the most successful independent film of its day.* More importantly, Grizzly was the first film in this genre since he was the first to rip off Jaws’ main storyline. Someone else would have done it if Girdler had not, but the point is that Girdler beat everyone else to the punch–and did it well.

Another thing we might have Girdler to thank for–only in part–is Pam Grier’s television career in the late 70s and 80s. She was pretty tired of the one-dimensional roles she was getting in the blaxploitation scene, and called it quits on the whole lot–Girdler’s Sheba, Baby was the last blaxploitation she shot and her last film for American International Pictures. Soon thereafter she moved on to television work for a spell.

As an aside, I’ll just mention quickly that Austin Stoker has fonder memories of Girdler, having been directed by him in Abby; Sheba, Baby and The Get-Man. According to Stoker, if you played a villain, Girdler would also make you show some positive sides of that character. Likewise, heroes were expected to show some villainy. To Stoker, this was a breath of fresh air during the height of blaxploitation–and he turned down many roles within this genre precisely because the charters he was asked to play were so one-dimensional in the way that Grier would have found all too familiar. One might conclude that Grier, as an African-American woman had fewer choices at that point while Stoker had more on account of gender.

Pam Grier, Austin Stoker (r) in Sheba, Baby (1975)

So what might have happened to Girdler if he hadn’t perished in that helicopter in the Philippines in ’78? He had already moved out to Hollywood and had completed three films there, the last of which, The Manitou, was starting to get into some seriously well known stars and bigger budgets–specifically Tony Curtis and $3 million. We’ll never know the answer to counter-factual questions, but one could see the upward trajectory Girdler was on, so who knows?

*Outside of porn. By any accounting, Deep Throat was the most successful independent film ever created.

william-girdler-02Thought I’d start the new year off right by sinking my teeth into a new project here on the blog–exploring all nine of Girdler’s fun exploitation flicks!

Bill Girdler was an up-and-coming horror and exploitation director who was tragically killed in a helicopter crash in 1978 at the tender age of 30 in the Philippines while location-scouting for his tenth feature. He was just hitting his stride and was starting to see commercial success from his endeavors.

He also knew who he was as a filmmaker–he was in it to make money, not art:

I’m in the business to make money. Why kid yourself? Nobody wants to lose money. We haven’t and never will get into the art stuff. I’m not out to give messages to the world. We look at scripts for their commercialism. Art is not the objective of my films, but we try to put as much art into them as possible.

Girdler is most often remembered for his latter films, such as 1978’s The Manitou; 1976’s very successful Jaws-knockoff Grizzly; and 1974’s blacksploitation version of The Exorcist: Abby. But here are the trailers for all nine of his films, to wet our appetites:

Girdler often used many of the same players throughout his nine films–that’s Charles Kissinger (1924-91) on the left playing “Pa,” who appeared in seven of these nine films and quit acting after Girdler’s death.

Combat Cops a.k.a The Get-Man a.k.a The Zebra Killer starts Girdler’s trilogy of blaxpolitation films. This one also makes an appearance in the Spike Lee joint, Summer of Sam (1999).

Personally, my fave of Girdler’s films. Initially earning $4 million of box office (about $19 million in today’s dollars) in its first month, this film was taken out of circulation when Warner Brothers sued Girdler because it was too similar to The Exorcist. By the time the suit was settled and profit could be earned again, Girdler was already dead. Also, William “Blacula” Marshall hated Girdler’s script.

The last blaxploitation picture for both Girdler and Pam Grier! “The heat’s on, but she’s doin’ the cookin’!” I love that line.

This brings us to Grizzly, arguably Girdler’s best known film. This was the highest-grossing independent film of all time in its day–it’s record not beaten until Halloween (1978), earning about $39 million worldwide in its original theatrical run (about $175 million in todays dollars, or about a day-and-a-half of the box office from Star Wars: The Force Awakens if you prefer).

This one’s an odd duck. Leslie Nielsen and Gary Lockwood play it straight in some sort of king-fu action flick. Is that a “Velvet Elvis” style painting of Nielsen with a Luger at about 0:47ish? Holy crap, man.

This is two trailers bundled into the same video. Neilsen returns, and this has the same basic plot as Grizzly, which is basically Jaws on land. Apparently Day of the Animals (a.k.a. Something Is Out There) is thought to be the sequel to Grizzly, but not so: that dubious distinction goes to Grizzly II: The Concert (1983), starring young versions of George Clooney, Charlie Sheen, and Laura Dern.

Finally, we come to the end of Girdler’s filmography. He described this flick as a combination of The Exorcist and Star Wars–Girdler was an exploiteer until the end. However, he did not survive to see this film’s debut. This was easily Girdler’s most ambitious project, with a $3 million budget and A-list stars such as Tony Curtis as players.

I’ll be diving into these films over the next several posts: their production, what the casts and crew went on to do afterwards, and Girdler’s legacy.

The Manitou (1978)

the-manitou-movie-poster-1020240378

Shaolin Mantis (1978)

Shaolin_Mantis_FilmPoster

If you are new to exploring exploitation films, start here–and not with the 2010 “reboot” (or its 2013 sequel).

Anti-Film School

Today’s trailer is for one of the greatest exploitation movies ever made. Here is the promo reel for 1978’s revenge thriller I Spit on Your Grave, directed by Meir Zarchi.

I Spit on Your Grave Poster

View original post

Twenty years ago today we lost actress Alexandra Hay.  She died of a heart-related condition at the much too-young age of 46.

qnug20czshsggsz

Hay in her photoshoot for Playboy, February 1974

She’s best known, perhaps, for her starring role in 1,000 Convicts and a Woman.  She got her start as a a model at the age of 12, but when her mother passed away when Hay was 16, she went to the UK and married her legal guardian there so she could stay in Europe.  When she returned to the States they had the marriage annulled.  One of her first roles upon her return was a stage play The Beard, she (and other cast members) were arrested several times for obscene language and being nude on onstage.

On film, she had some bit parts opposite some huge stars.  She was opposite Dean Martin for a bit part in The Ambushers (1967); she memorably recited ice cream flavors to Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1968):

guess2

Hay’s career trajectory hinged on two roles: first she had a small part in Skidoo (1968), generally considered these days to be a thoroughly misconceived Otto Preminger comedy with Jackie Gleason, Groucho Marx, Mickey Rooney, and Frankie Avalon, among others.

skidoo-5-20110616-114251-large

model-shop1

Hay brushes off Gary Lockwood in The Model Shop (1969).

Next, was The Model Shop (1969), where she had a larger role playing Gary Lockwood’s live-in girlfriend. However, that movie didn’t fair well at the box office either. These and a couple other mediocre films, such as The Love Machine and the aforementioned 1,000 Convicts and a Woman, forced Hay to find work on the small screen, where she found roles in Mission: Impossible, Love, American Style, and the TV movie The Screaming Woman, which also starred Olivia de Haviland.

She tried, mainly unsuccessfully, to boost her career by appearing nude in the February 1974 issue of Playboy, but the roles that came out of that were in some pretty lame fair: How Come Nobody’s On Our Side (1975), also starring Penny Marshall and Rob Reiner was pretty much an embarrassment for all involved.  The end came in 1978 with a small role in the Jack Palance vehicle, One Man Jurya blatant Dirty Harry/vigilante cop ripoff.

The most complete biography I’ve found on Hay suggests that after this, at some point in the early 1980s she called it a career, and died a decade or so later.  Not much information out there that’s readily available on what she got up to in retirement–she’d have been in her mid-30s or so.

But there may be a little more to Hay’s story: her last role may have been in 1988, when, according to the Toronto Star, (“Royal Pain,” November 12, 1988) after a 16-year hiatus after principle photography, post-production finally wrapped on a Clyde Ware film Another Time, Another Place.  Apparently, Hay played a small town waitress who followed Martin Sheen to New York.  But because the original material was shot in 1972, Sheen and Hays’ material were flashbacks for the tribulations of Hay’s daughter in the film.

However, IMDB lists this film as coming out finally in 1992-fully two decades after Hay would have been on set, and a year before her death.  The 1992 version was without Sheen. and IMDB lists Hay as a different “Alexandra Hay”–Alexandra Hay II.  II’s only other role is one episode of a 2002 TV series called The Strip, which is most of a decade after the actual Hay passed away.  This confusion shows us yet again that for more obscure films and actors, IMDB is not necessarily an authoritative source.

At any rate, Hay’s career is probably best summed up as a “near miss”–she clearly had the looks and the acting chops to be a leading lady, but what she did not have was a good break to give her the opportunity to go further than she did.               

Here’s a bit on what I’ve been reading as of late–mainly from those with the sufficiently poor judgment as to follow me on Twitter. Seriously, you folks are awesome, and I wanted to highlight your stuff to the 8 or so people who read this blog 😉  Mainly I read your movie reviews, I’ve seen many of these, but a few I have not, and I’ll be getting to those soon.  I don’t like to review individual films so much–I know my limitations–but enjoy reading yours very much. Here, I thought I would match the reviews to where we can find online viewing of trailers and full movies,just for convenience.  There’s a few non-movie reviews tucked in here, too.

These links are no real order, but do check out these fine purveyors of horror and B-movies!

George Wendt!

  • Horrorpedia and Stigmatophilia both take on Hack-O-Lantern (aka: Halloween Night) from 1988.  I hate it when Grandpa ends up a satanic cult leader!
  • Daily Grindhouse offers a list of “50 Cult Movie Books Every Film Fan Should Own.”  I am a book lover too, so I loved this set of posts: parts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.  I think the essentials here are numbers 36, 31, 28, 20, 19, 13 (these last three are my all time favorites) 10 and 2.  Some of the works included seemed like filler to get to 50, while some good ones seemed to go missing.  Maybe we just have different tastes, and I should do up my own list.

Also starring Alan Ormsby of Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things (1973), fwiw.

Yes, Paul Sorvino!

  • Isaac’s Picture Conclusions on Scar (2007).  Not familiar with this movie, but throwing it on the “to watch” list, despite its apparent lack of coherence.
  • Lastly, have a look at the Do-It-Yourself Giallo Kit to get your very own (fake) movie title, director, and plot in the Italian crime/thriller spirit. Such as: A Golden Armadillo on the Cold Metal Table (dir. Sergio and Martino de Alberto) in which: “An American model is killing off the members of a certain business.  A female journalist accidentally destroys some crucial evidence about the the killing. When another person is found murdered, she is on the verge of solving the mystery when she is killed by the real culprits: a secret society made up of the people she most trusted.”  Loads of fun . . . for five minutes.

Films I’ve Seen Lately #2

This time around, I thought I’d just keep track of everything I’m watching over the past month or so.  No rhyme or reason, as usual–just stuff I run across on YouTube, Netflix, my cable on-demand service, and stuff I see refs to in Twitter and elsewhere.

Christine (1983)

Fun flick from John Carpenter adapting a classic Stephen King tale about a murderous car.  It was one of three of King’s yarns to be put on film that year, the other two being Cujo and The Dead Zone, making this period his heyday, more-or-less.  We don’t get to see in this film how the car came to be possessed or haunted or whatever, which was my biggest disappointment.  But well acted; note a young Kelly Preston as “Roseanne,” and the nerd Keith Gordon (“Arnie”) went on to become a decent film director, if Dexter is any measure.

They Call Me Trinity (1970)

I came across this one from the premier episode of A Gentlemen’s Guide to Midnite Cinema podcast.  I’m not as familiar with Spaghetti Westerns as I’d like to be, but this seems like a pitch perfect way to meld them with comedy.  That opener with Terence Hill coming into town on that horse carriage doohickey seems clearly inspired by the 1937 Laurel & Hardy classic Way Out West.

Shaft (1971)

If you haven’t seen this one, you really owe it to yourself to do so . . . now.  This is one of the most developed and successful blaxpoiltation films. According to Melvin Van Peebles, director of the original blaxploitation film, Sweet  Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, also from 1971, Shaft  was originally written as a white character, and “they threw in a couple ‘motherfuckers’ and it became a black film.” There are also some great vintage shots of New York’s 42nd Street grindhouses throughout, so do look for those.  Richard Roundtree only made $13,000 starring as Shaft.

She Gods of Shark Reef (1958)

This baffling film is an early Roger Corman cheapy, shot in ’56, along with Naked Paradise (also known as Thunder Over Hawaii), about lost criminals washing ashore on a reef in the Pacific and then one falling for the beautiful natives who forsakes her cruel native ways to run off with the white savior, or somesuch.  The leading lady was played by Lisa Montell, who ended her film career in the early 60s, and became a large name in the California Bahai community, even authoring a book on the faith, under her married name, Lisa Janti.

Rattlers (1976)

A clear Jaws knockoff, like a Piranha below, in which every sort of animal that is harmful to humans is going to feature in their own horror movie, in this case, rattlesnakes.  A fun B-horror film, and what was most jarring in this one was the unexpected presence of gender in the first half of the film.  Our scientist-snake investigator (played by Shark Week narrator Sam Chew, Jr.) turns out to be a real misogynist, thinking the job too dangerous for his “liberated” war correspondent female partner (played by Elisabeth Chauvet).  They end up agreeing to disagree–and end up in the sack, of course–and this contrived way of developing conflict among the characters to keep the film interesting is mainly forgotten as the body count starts to rise.  Also, the bathtub scene is just classic.

American Grindhouse (2010)

A nice overview documentary of exploitation cinema.  I was glad to see the interviews with Eric Schaefer (author of Bold! Daring! Shocking! True! A History of Exploitation Films, 1919-1959) and Eddie Muller (author, with Daniel Faris, of Grindhouse: The Forbidden World of “Adults Only” Cinema).  I was not so taken with the photogenic Kim Morgan, who seemed more fluff than informative.  Also, this film seemed to not give David Friedman enough attention, but these points aside, this is an excellent primer on exploitation film, and should be a starting point for those new to the subject.

Piranha (1978)

Blatant Joe Dante ripoff of Jaws, starring Heather Menzies (“Louisa” from The Sound of Music) in the completely unbelievable role as a bounty hunter, who finds a secret military experiment to breed piranhas as an apparently failed weapon system that was to be deployed against. . .  North Vietnam.  That much-out-of-place reference deserves its own unpacking, but I was too busy having my childhood warped (further) by seeing Louisa flash her boobs at a soldier.  The late, great Kevin McCarthy was much underutilized in this epic, but no worries.

Dinosaur Island (1994)

Fred Olen Ray (writer of such fun faire as Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers and who has more than a dozen aliases in the industry) romp that rips off Jurassic Park in a silly way.  io9 a few years back called this one “the closest thing to mainstream dinosaur porn in the universe” while profiling some truly disturbing shit.   I think my favorite part was how the Dinosaur Islander vixens, who’d never seen modern civilization, not only spoke English, but sometimes English with a soft Texas twang.

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.

Bhaskar as "Horace Bones"

Bhaskar as “Horace Bones”

The first thing you need to know about Bhaskar Roy Chowdhury (1930-2003)–satanist hippie cult leader in “I Drink Your Blood” was that he was a master hoofer. His specialty were the dances of his native India, and he had his own dance company, taught these dances at the university level, and was a celebrated choreographer–these talents were Bhaskar’s career: IDYB was a bit of a fun one-off, and something he probably didn’t see as playing any part in his legacy, even though it was his best known role on film.

One can read the high points of Bhaskar’s career on his IMDB page, but as is often the case with actors in exploitation cinema, this does not do nearly enough justice to his career.  It’s too bad that most references to Bhaskar–either online or in print–mention the great performance he turned in for IDYB and then simply regurgitate IMDB without probing any deeper.  To get beyond a simple listing of his film appearances, I tracked down someone who can help us get to know Bhaskar a little better–my contact worked with Bhaskar in the 1970s.  The association also gave her some insight into the parts of his life that are gaps for the usual sources of info and showed some areas where these sources appear incomplete.

Baskhar and Candace in a 1976 publicity shot

Baskhar and Candace in a 1976 publicity shot

My contact for the project of getting to know Bhaskar a bit better is Candace Hibbard Lillie, now living in Oklahoma.  37 years ago, about 6 years after IDYB was released, Candace was Bhaskar’s dance partner in his dance company–Bhaskar: Dances of India–and came to know him and his story pretty well.  I noticed her website dedicated to the dance company as I started researching this post, and I started e-mailing her with questions, which she was all too happy (I think) to answer.

Sri Bhaskar Burmin Roy Chowdhury Jr., was born into an elite family in Madras, India that was deeply involved in the arts.  His father was a painter, and his mother–an actual princess says Candace–encouraged Bhaskar to sing and dance.  He also had a short-lived boxing career, but a match with someone called “Tiger Terry” cost him his front teeth and that particular career path.

In the mid-1950s Bhaskar emigrated to the US, became a citizen, and was involved in several touring dance companies before starting his own.  Candace tells me that in 1956 he had a small uncredited part in a TV musical version of Marco Polo that starred the legendary Broadway actor Alfred Drake in the leading role.  Bhaskar was a comparative religion major in college, and married an American woman, who died very shortly afterwards of heart failure.

Within his dance companies, Bhaskar taught dancers, and he also occasionally taught in colleges, and held classes at the former Jerry Leroy Studio.  Bhasker suspected that Jack “the father of theatrical jazz dance” Cole (1911-1974) stole some of his moves that he taught at Jerry LeRoy’s place, which shut its doors in 2008 after 73 years as a dance studio.  Here is perhaps where is real legacy is seen: dancers he trained on a pro bono basis, often in their homes.  Leading directly to careers made.  Bhaskar was a hard teacher, but as many said of him at his funeral in 2004:

This man was impossible, he drove me crazy, he drank way too much, he worked me harder than anyone ever had before. Giving freely of himself, he taught me at no charge, put me on the stage, and I owe him more than I can ever say.

Bhaskar dancing as Brahma in "The Creation of Woman"

Bhaskar dancing as Brahma in “The Creation of Woman”

Bhaskar got his start in film in 1960 by choreographing and starring in “The Creation of Woman”–Indian creation myths, with some Christian elements as well–set to dance.  Bhaskar was already on top of his game and one gets the sense that securing him for the film was something of a coup for film producer Ismail Merchant.  The film, a 14-minute short, was nominated for best short at both Cannes and at the Oscars in 1961, but didn’t score either award.

The film is also notable for being the backdrop–during its run at Cannes–for the introduction of Merchant and American film director James Ivory, (who went on to helm A Room With a View, Howard’s Endand The Remains of the Dayamong many others) who, together established Merchant Ivory Productions, which developed more than 50 films, often set in India and/or period pieces like the above films for the next 40 years, earning 6 Oscars in the process.

DVD cover for "Pratidwandi," known internationally as "The Adversary"

DVD cover for “Pratidwandi,” known internationally as “The Adversary”

Back to Bhaskar, the decade after The Creation of Woman  was spent back at his dance company, but he returned to film in 1970 with a trio of films, The Epitaph, The Adversary, and of course, I Drink Your Blood.  The Epitaph is an Indian film which I cannot readily find much information, except that it too was nominated for best short film at Cannes 1970.

The Adversary, on the other hand was directed by the great Indian filmmaker, Satyajit Ray (1921-1992) and this film was the first of his “Calcutta Trilogy,” looking at social and spiritual malaise in urban India after colonialism and the partitioning of India and Pakistan.  Ray was a major influence on the Merchant Ivory films, and Ray’s early (1967) screenplay The Alien was copied and revised so many times in the Hollywood machine that it arguably became the basis of Steven Spielberg’s E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial in 1982.  (An argument Spielberg denies.)

Mark LaRoche's head!

Mark LaRoche’s head!

So, with a promising film career and already well established dance career, what would possess Bhaskar to seek out a role in a movie like I Drink Your Blood?  Candace seems to think Bhaskar ran into David Durston socially and/or Bhaskar needed the money.  Either way, Bhaskar did not consider IDYB to be any part of his artistic legacy.  Mainly, this was a fun break for him.

Turning to Bhaskar’s private life, in 1960, a few years after his wife passed away, Bhaskar became involved with Mark LaRoche, who had a bit role in I Drink Your Blood–mainly as a model for the severed head tossed around in the finale–and was so for the rest of his life.  Candace says Bhaskar and Mark were “married” in 1960–I’m not sure what that means most of a decade before Stonewall, but I take the point that they had a loving, committed relationship that stood the test of time, even if Mark’s head literally rolled in one movie.  As an aside–in a post full of asides–we may note other homosexual couples in the broader story here: I Drink Your Blood director David Durston was in a longterm relationship with John DiBello (also known as “Jack Damon,” who must be the “John Damon” playing “Roger Davis” in the film?)  Landis and Clifford in Sleazoid Express talk about a “gay sensibility” Durston brought to the imagery of IDYB.  Ismail Merchant and James Ivory of Merchant Ivory were also a longterm gay couple.

Bhaskar had three more film roles: in 1971 he teamed up again with Durston in Blue Sextet, in 1972 he was the male lead in the Bollywood film, Trisandhya.  More specific information on these two films is hard to come by, it seems.  In 1978 Bhaskar had a bit part in Ghar, another Bollywood film, this one about a couple dealing with emotional issues in the aftermath of the wife’s rape.

Tragedy struck Bhaskar on October 25, 1977 when he was rehearsing for a dance performance at Purdue University and took a 35-foot fall and was paralyzed from the waist down for the remaining 26 years of his life.  He lived for a while at New York City’s Rusk  Institute, and then went back to his apartment in The Big Apple’s Upper West Side.  He did one performance from his wheelchair, but for a man who never let others even see him brush his teeth, he found the idea of performing from the chair humiliating, and would not permit himself to become anyone’s object of pity.  After his accident, he won his lawsuit against Purdue, he took to painting, wrote (but did not publish) a children’s book.  He died in 2003 at the age of 74.

Bhaskar in his later years.

Bhaskar in his later years.

Next up in this series, the life of Jadin Wong.  But before that, some comments on Cannibal Holocaust and Cannibal Ferox for Nitrate Diva’s blogathon on Italian cinema.