Dear Friend Hitler that was unveiled at the Berlin Film Festival and will now be premiered at Cannes Film Festival's Marche du Film on May 11, has gone for a title change. “The Indian cut will go with the name
Gandhi To Hitler
but we may still go ahead with
Dear Friend Hitler
for the international version,” says the film’s actor-writer Nalin Shah.
The original title had come from the two letters Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi wrote to Adolf Hitler to try and prevent World War II from happening. The Nazi dictator had ordered his assassination but despite knowing this, Mahatma Gandhi still addressed him as ‘Dear friend Hitler’.
“The film propagates the Gandhian principles of
to promote world peace in today’s troubled times. But we were apprehensive that despite the press conference called to underline the fact that the film was not pro-Hitler, a section of our society that doesn’t read newspapers, might still perceive it as such,” reasons Shah.
He further adds that according to an online poll conducted by them, 60 per cent Indians favoured the new title. “Also, after Anna Hazare’s successful peaceful protests that found a strong backing amongst the middle class, Gandhi
is back. And it was advisable to have more of Gandhi and less of Hitler in the title rather than vice versa.”
Shah says that they are targeting a post-IPL release and while the film is in Hindi, it is being dubbed or subtitled in regional languages like Bengali, Gujarati, Tamil and Malayalam, besides English. Abroad, it will release in the US, UK, France, Germany and the Middle East among other countries.
Quiz him about protests from Jewish groups and he says he hasn’t received a single email or call from any such group. “There was only a minor section in the western media who tried to create controversies by implying that we were glorifying Hitler that led to Anupam Kher opting out,” clarifies Shah.
Kher was later replaced by Raghuveer Yadav and Shah insists he couldn’t have got a better Hitler, pointing out that three of Yadav’s films, including
were nominated for the Oscars. He adds, “Still, I believe it’s the characters rather than the actors who contribute to the film’s success.”