Mumbai: Veteran actor Anupam Kher says he decided to walk out of "Dear Friend Hitler" after speaking to two women - Soni Razdan`s mom, who is a German, and Sister Dolores who works with him.
Soni`s mother, a German, called up Anupam and said: "It`s not only the Jews who suffered because of Hitler. The Germans too suffered. I`m one and I know what I went through. Please don`t do anything to further the name of that blot on history."
That did it for Anupam.
"It was indeed Soni`s mother who made up my mind for me. There was also Sister Dolores who works with autistic children with me. Sister Dolores too told me she was against my playing Hitler. These two women decided the matter for me," Anupam told IANS.
"I was challenged to do a part that has been done abroad by so many distinguished actors. But what is recognition when weighed against people`s sentiments?"
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. Amrapali Media Vision Pvt Ltd is producing the film and Rakesh Ranjan Kumar will direct it.
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 has now offered to compensate the producers by doing another project in lieu of the Hitler bio-pic.
"But they are very upset at the moment. The director said he was misquoted about crediting Hitler with the independence in India. He offered to apologise.
"However, the observation he made was contrary to the ideals I follow as an actor. If he`s saying he would retract his statement because his project might fall apart, then he is not on the right track," he said.
The actor is annoyed by the fact that his close friend Pritish Nandy has tweeted against his decision to opt out of "Dear Friend Hitler".
"Pritish feels I should treat it like any other role since I have played dark characters repeatedly in the past. But playing Dr. Dang in `Karma` or Hannibal Lecter in `The Silence Of The Lambs` is not the same as playing Hitler. Those villains did not affect history."
Sharma is still waiting for Anupam to change his mind.
"Hitler forced Mr. Kher to pull out of the project. Gandhi who is the hero of my film is waiting for him to come back. Mr Kher`s fans suggested he leave the project. Now they`re going to force him to join back after knowing the full story," said Sharma.
Anupam says he won`t change his mind. But he will compensate the producers and director by doing another film for them, if they so wish.