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In the early 1980's Ismail Merchant first set in motion a project of which he had long dreamed, and that he was to do outside of his usual collaboration with Ruth Jhabvala and James Ivory, the making of The Deceivers.
The Deceivers is adapted from the John Masters novel, set in India in 1825, which depicts the exploits of William Savage (based on William Sleeman of the Indian Political Service and played by Pierce Brosnan), who disguises himself as an Indian in order to expose and destroy a secret cult whose members, the infamous Thugees, ritually murdered and robbed travelers in the name of the goddess Kali.
Merchant had read the novel years before, been struck by it, and later decided to film it. The movie was slow in getting into production, however, and once into that stage presented such an array of problems as to stagger even Merchant. An entire book, "Hullabaloo in Old Jeypore: The Making of The Deceivers", was needed for Merchant to set down all that occurred.