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Asia

Indian film star withdraws from Hitler movie

The lead actor in a planned Indian movie on Hitler has withdrawn from the project after severe criticism. Anupam Kher was to play the role of the German dictator in the Bollywood production called "Dear Friend Hitler".

Indian actor Anupam Kher

Indian actor Anupam Kher

Anupam Kher recently announced on Twitter that he was pulling out of the film because he did not want to hurt people's feelings.

Kher, one of Bollywood's most versatile actors, was to have starred in the movie opposite former Miss India Neha Dhupia as Eva Braun, the woman, Adolf Hitler married shortly before committing suicide in 1945. The movie is going to look at Hitler's last days, apparently similar to the 2004 German film "Downfall" with Bruno Ganz as Hitler.

The myth of Hitler's love for India

But it had become controversial after some public comments by director Rakesh Ranjan Kumar who said "Dear Friend Hitler" would highlight Hitler's "love" for India. The script apparently describes Hitler contributing to India's independence. According to the director, the title goes back to two letters written to Hitler by India's independence hero Mahatma Gandhi.

Adolf Hitler

Adolf Hitler

But the widespread perception in India that Hitler supported India's struggle against the British, a common enemy, goes back to the German connections of another independence fighter, Subhas Chandra Bose, who had broken away from Gandhi's nonviolent movement and tried to enlist support for his armed struggle from the axis powers, Japan and Germany.

Historians have shown in great detail that Hitler did not really support Bose or the anti-colonial struggle by the Indians whom he regarded as "racially inferior" people. But among the Indian public, the myth of Hitler as a friend of India has proven difficult to dispel.

Some Indians' uncritical admiration of the dictator has in the past repeatedly led to controversies with the country's small Jewish minority. In 2006, a Nazi-themed restaurant, "Hitler's Cross" in Mumbai was forced to change its name after protests from Jews.

tb/dpa/AFP/Reuters/PTI
Editor: Disha Uppal

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