Mahatma Gandhi is the hero in `My Friend Hitler`

Last Updated: Nov 28, 2010, 19:00 PM IST

Mumbai: `My Friend Hitler` garnered enough publicity, mostly negative, in the western media even before shooting began but writer-actor Nalin Ranjan Singh says the film is not as much about The Fuhrer as it is about India`s unique stand during World War II and Mahatma Gandhi`s ideals.

Nalin, who is playing Joseph Goebbles, Hilter`s propaganda minister in the movie, says he spent almost three years researching for the subject but was not sure whether an Indian film on the German dictator will be received well.

"I always wanted to make a film on the two letters that Gandhiji wrote to Hitler and spent about two and half years researching on the subject but I was not sure that the film will be accepted by the audience.

"Then I saw our actors speaking in English in Slumdog Millionaire and I decided to go ahead with the project," Nalin, who is also the co-producer of the film, told PTI.

"We were fighting British and so was Hitler. We could have easily taken his side to fight against the common enemy but it was Gandhiji who decided to stay away from it because of his strong belief in non-violence. He said we will fight our own war in our own way and history is a witness to how right he was. This film is about Gandhi`s heroism and India`s unique stand at that time," Nalin added.

The project was first announced earlier this year with Anupam Kher as Hitler in the movie but the veteran actor backed out of the project following protests by Jewish organizations and his fans. Kher said that he decided to walk out of the project because it was making lot of people unhappy.

Veteran actor Raghubir Yadav finally stepped in to play the lead. Asked about the negative controversy that the film garnered, Nalin said he respected Kher`s decision and blamed the international media for misinterpreting the film`s theme.

"Western media misinterpreted our film and that`s why all this happened but the film was never about Hitler. It is our history but they did not understand it. They thought we were glorifying Hitler but that is not the case," he added.

The film is complete and Nalin said they are planning to release it all over the world in Hindi, English, French, German, Arabic Tamil and Bengali.

"It will have one of the widest release for an Indian film on Hitler. Raghubir Yadav has given an award-winning performance in it. He spent 10 days learning the mannerism of Hitler. He walked like him, talked like him and thought like him. He is great in the movie," Nalin said.

It may be a bit hard to stomach the facts that the film will have usual song and dance numbers including a Holi sequence but Nalin is confident that the film will manage to win audience.

"When our slumdogs can speak in English then why can`t Hitler talk in Hindi. There are several movies on his life and in most of the Hollywood films he speaks English but we forget that he was a German. It is about time that Bollywood adapted an international subject in its own way."

Nalin said that they recreated the war-time Berlin in India besides creating the India of 1940s. Historical figures like Subhash Chandra Bose and Gandhi will also be there in the story. The film has been directed by Rakesh Ranjan Kumar and produced by Amrapali Media Vision.

PTI