File this under Bad Ideas: A Bollywood studio has announced plans to make a film about Hitler's romance with Eva Braun. Braun will be played by a former Miss India, and Hitler will be played by Anupam Kher.
Dear Friend Hitler will be the first Bollywood movie to focus on the life and death of the Fuhrer. Director Rakesh Ranjan Kumar says his movie will focus on the final days of Hitler's life. " It aims to capture the personality of Adolf Hitler and his insecurities, his charisma and his paranoia," he explains. This doesn't sound too bad, and not much more offensive than the usual semi-exploitative Nazi films, however, when Kumar attempts to verbalize his reasons for choosing Hitler, things get a little dicier. He says,
As a child I was taught to take inspiration from Gandhiji's ideologies. Later when I read Bose and Hitler's ideologies, I realized that all three of them were right in their own right. My film is basically about Hitler, but I will bring the other two people's ideologies too in the movie and I want audiences to decide whose is the right one.... [Dear Friend Hitler] shows Hitler's love for India and how he indirectly contributed to Indian independence. It also depicts the struggle for survival of the lesser known Indian Legion soldiers who were left in Germany by Subhas Bose to fight for India's independence and Germany's prestige.
This quote displays a different understanding of Hitler - and of Nazi Germany - than we normally experience. And when I say "different," I mean "skewed." Though Hitler may have had a more loving relationship with India (the film's title comes form a letter from Gandhi that addressed Hitler as "Dear Friend"), in choosing to focus only on one portion of his life, everything he did leading up to the final days can be conveniently pushed aside. Kumar goes on to call Hitler a "successful" leader, despite the fact that he did "lose as a human being." And that is the problem: this type of compliment/negation sounds like it's getting at something more nuanced, but all too often it just provides a forum for people to express their support for a controversial person or issue.
But let's try to look on the bright side: At least the film won't feature any musical numbers.
Adolf Hitler And Eva Braun To Be Played By Indian Actors In Bollywood Film [Daily Mail]
A Bollywood First: Film On Hitler And Nazi Germany [SiFy Movies]
Eva Braun: As Seen By Bollywood In Hitler Biopic With Indian Twist [Times]