Saturday, June 19, 2010
And you thought The Producers was a comedy
from the guardian uk.com
Why Bollywood's film about Hitler is profoundly misguided
Indian directors have as much right to make movies about Hitler as anyone else, but a forthcoming film about the Nazi dictator's 'love' for the country displays a shocking ignorance of history
A first-time Indian director, Rakesh Ranjan Kumar, has announced that he will make a movie about Adolf Hitler. Dear Friend Hitler stars Indian actors Anupam Kher and Neha Dhupia as Hitler and Eva Braun, and will focus on what the director claims was "Hitler's love for India and how he indirectly contributed to Indian independence".
Western productions have occasionally attempted to make fun of Hitler, ranging from successes like The Producers to fiascos like Heil Honey, I'm Home. But Dear Friend Hitler is not a traditional Bollywood musical, and makes no claim to comedy. "It aims to capture the personality of Adolf Hitler and his insecurities, his charisma and his paranoia during the last few days of his life," Kumar says. In other words, this is Downfall – but with a positive spin.
For many westerners, Hitler remains history's ultimate evil. In India, awareness of the Holocaust is limited. Characters in Bollywood films jokingly refer to bossy family members as "Hitler" – provoking a sharp intake of breath from many western viewers, who associate Hitler with crimes significantly worse than telling you to do your chores. In 2006, a Nazi-themed cafe opened in Mumbai with the name Hitler's Cross. Bollywood actor Murli Sharma attended the launch party. Asked whether he found the name troublesome, he said: "I am not really agitated as I have not read much about the man. However, from what I know about Hitler, I find this name rather amusing."
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