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A hard-hitting Hitler film for Bollywood

June 25,2010
Bollywood, which is famous for its lip-synching and exuberant dancing, is set to stray into dark and unfamiliar territory with a film about Adolf Hitler. According to the director’s description, the movie appears to have more than a passing resemblance to the acclaimed 2004 German film, “Downfall,” starring Bruno Ganz.

“The film will recapture the last days of Adolf Hitler, including his life in his Berlin bunker and Germany after his death in 1945,” Rakesh Ranjan Kumar, the film’s director, told the Mumbai Mirror this week.

The film will focus on the dictator’s personality as well as his relationships during the final days of the Nazi regime.

Its producers say the title, “Dear Friend Hitler,” alludes to two letters written to him by India’s independence leader Mahatma Gandhi.

Hitler will be played by veteran Bollywood actor Anupam Kher, who once played Gandhi on TV, while former Miss India, Neha Dhupia, portrays Eva Braun, whom Hitler married hours before they committed suicide in April 1945.

“Yes I play him. Shoot starts in August,” Kher wrote on his Twitter feed while on his way back from last weekend’s Indian International Film Academy (IIFA) awards in Sri Lanka.

He asked fans to send him suggestions for books to read on the German leader.

Anil Sharma, the producer of the biopic, said it was “an analytical portrayal of the ideologies followed by Hitler.”

“We will try to show his fears, insecurities and pressures he faced while taking crucial decisions,” Sharma said, adding that though the movie would have some similarities to Downfall, it would be an entirely original work. He said he was still uncertain whether to include any song and dance routines, but ruled out any musical-style routines by Hitler or Braun.

The film, budgeted at between $2 million to $3 million, will be shot in studio and on location in India’s forests and mountains. No release date has been set, but the movie is intended for global release.

Bollywood often reprises the themes of foreign films with virtually identical plots and characters, but material as weighty as Downfall has rarely attracted Indian producers.

In 2008 Bollywood released a film called “Hari Puttar” despite a lawsuit by Hollywood studio Warner Bros., which owns the rights to the blockbuster “Harry Potter” movies. Confusingly, the film was a loose remake of “Home Alone.”

Bollywood has also moved into more realistic, hard-hitting subjects such as terrorism, Internet privacy and physical disability in recent years, but with limited success.

In 2006, a Nazi-themed restaurant called “Hitler’s Cross” opened in Mumbai, but was soon closed after a storm of protest from Jews in India and abroad.


AFP



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