The film, which is about the last five years of the Indian leader Subhas Chandra Bose's life, also includes his life's story in flashback sequences. However, it does not cover the controversy surrounding Bose's death.
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Born in a prominent Bengali family, Subhas had dedicated much of his younger years by being actively involved in ridding the British from India. For this purpose he joined hands with stalwarts such as Jawaharlal Nehru and Mohandas Gandhi, but expressed his frustration, especially with Gandhi's slow and painstaking way of trying to win over the enemy with love. It is for this reason, he decided to separate from the Congress Party. The British became weary of him, placed him under arrest, but when he started a hunger strike unto death, they let him go, but kept him under surveillance. Subhas eluded the police, under the guise of Pathan Mohammad Ziauddin, crossed the Indian border in Afghanistan so that he could enter Russia and form an Indian Army to oust the British. His efforts failed, he ended up as Italian Orlando Mashtar, with an office in Germany. He did manage to convince the Nazis, despite of Hitler's views in "Main Kempf" that he preferred India to remain colonized under the ... Written by
The film was released all over India, except for Madhya Pradesh, as the cinema distributors in that region, facing losses from previous historical films, held the film as too controversial and risky to be shown in their halls. Ironically, Bose was re-elected Congress president in 1939 in Tripuri, in the eastern part of Madhya Pradesh. See more »
Directors are usually reluctant to translate history on celluloid. They are instead inclined to offer new interpretations of history, shed light on little-known facts about their subjects, and even raise questions that were missed. On the contrary, the title of Shyam Benegal's film- Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose The Forgotten Hero- itself tells a story! Nobody remembers what he did, except to say that he was a great big hero. Few people remember that he challenged Gandhi, or that he was married.
The film's narrative is brilliantly broken into three parts. These are headed under Itmad, Ittefaq and Qurbani after the motto of the Indian National Army. The film brilliantly captures the vast canvas of its history, geography and political ambiance just before India's independence from British rule. The film is the product of painstaking historical, documentary and other research that spanned 18 months. The research team explored all available material, interviewed the people alive such as Netaji's Japanese interpreter, then in his late eighties.
The film comepletely lacks loud and bombastic rhetoric, a common feature of most nationalist and biographical films made on national heroes. Its central focus is on the man behind the hero, the human being behind the mask of the national leader, a true lover of his country dedicated to get it liberated from foreign rule. The film is characterised as much by the patriotism and hero-worship that brought young men in hundreds to join their hero, as by its documentation of history. It is the film of a journey- ideological, political, historical and personal that uncovers almost by incidence than by connivance of history, a beautiful fictionalized documentation of one of the greatest national heroes Indian has ever produced.
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