Vijay Bhatt premiers Ram Rajya in the USA

Vijay Bhatt with in USA - being interviewed by American journalistsIn 1947, Bhatt toured the US with the twin objective of attending the premiere of 'Ram Rajya' over there and exploring co-production possibilities of a film on the life of Buddha. The script of Buddha was written in English by the late Shri Harindranath Chattopadhyay. He also carried with him the prints of 'Bharat Milap' and 'Vikramaditya' for private screenings.

The American premiere of Indian films was held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, on May 5, 1947, with subsequent screenings on May 6 and 7, 1947, under the auspices of the Indian Society of America, of which Dr. Chandrashekhar was the President.

Towards the end of the premiere, an American girl approached Vijay Bhatt with this question:, "Why is it that Rama discarded his Seeta, even though he had accepted her chastity after the fire test (Agni Pariksha)?

"That is the difference between the Indian point of view and the Western point of view," the filmmaker replied, adding, " In the West, in Great Britain for example, a king left his kingdom for the sake of the woman he had married. Here, Rama left his wife for the sake of his subjects, some of whom had reservations about Seeta, although he loved her very much, and actually lived a life of a recluse afterwards."

Vijay Bhatt awarded a scrollAt the banquet that followed at the Hotel Waldorf Astoria, New York, the chief guest was Mr. Eric Johnston, the President of the American Motion Pictures Association of America presided, while Mr. Spyros P.Skouras, President of Twentieth Century Fox, as a guest of honour. On behalf of the hosts, he presented a scroll of honour to Vijay Bhatt.

As for the co-production, the plans didn't materialise because of the strong opposition of Sri Lanka's Buddhist clergy.

Going round the famous studios of Hollywood, Vijubhai met a number of stars and filmmakers. These included then fifteen-year old Elizabeth Taylor, swimming beauty Esther Williams, funster Eddie Cantor and the future President of America, Ronald Reagan, who was shooting for "Voice Of The Turtle".

However, Vijubhai's proudest moment was at Paramount Studios, where he met the legendary maker of memorable epics, Cecil B. D'Mille. who wrote a message when the distinguished admirer sought his autograph. It read - "Greetings from one director who is still trying to make good pictures, to another director, who will make great ones long after I am gone." The message, with his autograph is still cherished by the Bhatt family.

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