"Another assumption I am opposed to is to portray Jawaharlal Nehru as the villain," Benegal said.

People should celebrate Netajis life no point in speculating about his fate Shyam BenegalShyam_Benegal, By Satyen K via Wikimedia Commons
news Saturday, February 06, 2016 - 09:03

Twelve years after making the biopic 'Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose: The Forgotten Hero', film maker Shyam Benegal on Friday said people should celebrate Netaji's life and works instead of merely conjecturing what happened to him on that fateful day in 1945.

"As keen to know as everybody in the audience about the not released files. The research for our film was till he boarded the plane in August, 1945 and there was no public information about him afterwards. My only problem is whatever is conjecture is not of consequence to me," Benegal said at the Kolkata Literature Festival discussion of the 40th International Kolkata Book Fair.

"What is of consequence to me is that, here is somebody fighting for India's freedom. How come he (would) end up as a holy man. He was certainly not that kind of that person, why would he do that," Benegal said in an obvious reference to claims in certain quarters about Netaji returning back in the guise of a sadhu in the 50s and later.

Pointing out that British actually realised they could not hold on to India in the late 40s, Benegal said apart from the movement in different parts of the country, the battle of INA and Netaji surely played its part in the freedom and gave the final push.

"Another assumption I am opposed to is to portray Jawaharlal Nehru as the villain. Instead he had defended the INA officers facing trial at Red Fort before being court-martialed. Why did he need to do that?," the Padmabhusan and Dada Saheb Phalke awardee said.

Pointing out the first bunch of declassified files of Netaji by West Bengal government and Centre so far have not revealed anything, the 'Ankur' and 'Mandi' director said, "hopefully they will reveal something in future." 

Referring to the research work for his film, he said "Whatever research I had done based on books and documents including known scholar Purabi Roy's books, I find his life and vision fascinating. And perhaps there was certain kind of destiny involved in this man." 

The only way to know reality is, "Lets see if other documentations exist and will come and if these reveal something at all. If not we will continue to have wonderful imagination speculating what happened to Netaji." 

"In my film he takes the aircraft and flies off and after August 18 1945 no general public at large had seen Netaji," Benegal said. 

He was referring to reports of the August 18 aircrash in Taihoku, Formosa (now Taipei, Taiwan).

Benegal also talked about his uncle, Ramesh, who was based in Rangoon (now Myanmar) who was inducted into INA.

Ramesh, who was 14-15 years old, started living in Rangoon and a visit by Netaji to Rangoon seeking volunteers to start an air force changed the course of Ramesh's life.

"He was among 35 people who had volunteered and was sent to Japan for training," Benegal recalled referring to another association of him and the 'Forgotten Hero.' 

Historian and Netaji scholar Purabi Roy said she was 100 per cent sure he (Netaji) did not die in air crash.

"As per archives from Moscow, Japan, German, Romania - these papers showing he did not die in air crash," she said.

To a question about claims for DNA tests of Netaji's ashes in Tokyo's Renkoji temple, Benegal said "Let the truth come out." 

Also read: Ashes in Renkoji Temple was of Netaji, say declassified files

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