Michael Madhusdan Dutt (1824--1872), a maverick who changed the scope of Bengali poetry in the nineteenth century, especially with his free-verse epic, 'Meghnadhbadh Kabya', was a genius who never got his due. Throughout his life, Madhusudan was caught in an identity crisis: he wrote in the English language, changed his religion and was a restless traveller, yearning to belong somewhere. After an extended sojourn in London and Paris, with misery and poverty as his constant companions, the poet finally found his metier in his mother tongue. Betrayed By Hope, a play-script based on the letters Michael Madhusudan Dutt wrote to friends, well-wishers and patrons, paints the portrait of an artist as he plunges headlong into crisis after crisis, even as his imagination and creativity soar. Namita Gokhale and Malashri Lal pay tribute to his extraordinary life in a story that will lay bare our deep-set contradictions about art and life.
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