Lead Actor Quits Bollywood Hitler Film

Illustration for article titled Lead Actor Quits Bollywood Hitler Film

Anupam Kher, who was set to play Adolf Hitler in the widely-condemned Bollywood film Dear Friend Hitler, has dropped out of the production. He explained, "Sometimes human emotions are more important than cinema." [NYT]


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Culturally in India, Hitler isn't seen as the villain figure he is in the Western world. People know he did bad things and aren't just in denial about the holocaust, but you have to remember that Hitler wasn't the first or last guy to kill millions of innocent people. There's even stuff like that going on today, but not on the same scale.

Hitler may have killed the highest number of people in the shortest amount of time, but he's not considered the worst man who ever lived in the entire world. India had their own problems during World War II and Southern Asia has seen its share of dictators and crimes against humanity that didn't involve Hitler.

"Dear Friend Hitler" is absolutely going too far because Gandhi and Hitler were not close friends and Hitler's crimes weren't well known when Gandhi was writing to him. Gandhi also had bigger concerns than Hitler anyway, like the British Empire, who personally caused much more trouble for his people. The implication of the title, taken from one of Gandhi's letters, is that Hitler was his friend and therefor not that bad of a guy. I'd hope even in India that wouldn't fly.

I think the director/producers were trying to get a little controversy, perhaps not realizing that outside of India it would be more than a little controversial. The actor probably had no problems with it at all until he realized how this movie was being seen outside of India and how many people would be offended by it. Then he backed out to save his own skin.