New Delhi, June 18 (Calcutta Tube) Veteran actor Anupam Kher has walked out of the movie ‘Dear Friend Hitler’ to ‘respect’ the feelings of his upset fans. However, the film’s director, producer and screenwriter insist the film will not glorify the dictator as reported by the foreign media, but will instead show Mahatma Gandhi as a hero.
‘I had taken up the role as I considered it a challenge, and after carefully monitoring the portrayal of the character. However, considering the ill-will that the project is generating among my fans, I wish to withdraw from it as I respect their sentiments,’ Anupam told IANS in an e-mail from Scotland.
‘I have never been moved by commercial considerations. But I have always respected social opinions,’ added the actor, who is shooting in Scotland for Pankaj Kapoor’s directorial venture ‘Mausum’ along with Shahid Kapur and Sonam Kapoor.
Initially, it was reported that ‘Dear Friend Hitler’ will show Hitler’s contribution to India’s independence and what happened to soldiers in Subhash Chandra Bose’s Azad Hind Legion in Germany.
According to media reports, the Indian Jewish Federation, headed by Jonathan Solomon, was outraged on learning that an Indian film director will be depicting how the tyrant ‘indirectly contributed to India’s independence’.
Anupam, 55, revealed that he was moved by the messages sent by people on the issue.
‘I am deeply moved by the outpouring of messages on social networks, the letters which I have received and the protestations I have heard about from organisations in many countries in the past four days about my role as Adolf Hitler in a forthcoming film,’ he said.
‘As I have said in interviews, whenever asked, the film does not glorify or romanticise the role of the dictator in India’s independence struggle. Indeed he was the architect of a World War and the man responsible for pogroms against the Jews, this can never be denied,’ he added.
Even though the actor has declared his stepping back from the film, producer Anil Sharma of Amrapali Media Vision, says otherwise.
‘I have spoken to Anupam Kher. Actually, the international media is a bit confused with the script. He will do the film for sure. We have sent him the view and motto of doing the film and clarified that we are not doing the kind of film the international media is highlighting. The film is not portraying Hitler as great leader,’ Sharma told IANS.
According to the official statement by Amrapali, ‘Dear Friend Hitler’ shows the clash of ideologies of the world’s two of the most talked about personalities of the era – Adolf Hitler and Mahatma Gandhi.
The title of the movie comes from the contents of two letters Gandhi wrote to Hitler.
‘People don’t know about the script in detail and are interpreting it in a wrong way. There is nothing in the movie as it is reported… My intention is not to hurt anyone. There is no need to make an issue out of it. I will clarify everything at the right time,’ Rakesh Ranjan Kumar, the director of the movie, told IANS.
Kumar is planning to clear his stance at a press conference in the capital June 22.
Nalin Singh, scriptwriter of the film also brushed aside the speculations.
‘In the movie, we plan to show that in 1945 Hitler loses in his ideology and is defeated while in 1947 Indians win freedom through non-violence. We plan to end the movie through the famous (Jawaharlal) Nehru speech ‘At the stroke of the midnight hour’, which he delivered when India got its freedom,’ Singh said in a statement.
‘We assure Mr. Jonathan Soloman that there is no glorification of Hitler. And at any point he can contact us and ask for a copy of the script. How can anyone appreciate an eccentric monstrous character like Hitler responsible for so many deaths show him as a hero? If there is any hero in our movie, it is Gandhiji,’ he added.
Reports says Neha Dhupia will star as the Nazi leader’s longtime companion who became his wife for a brief time.