Indian history has been revised time and again on celluloid, but debutant director Rakesh Ranjan Kumar moves into a global canvas with Dear Friend Hitler to capture the last few days of the Nazi dictator in his Berlin bunker and Germany after his downfall in 1945.
"My film aims to recapture the last days of Adolf Hitler," Rakesh, who is perhaps the first Indian filmmaker to attempt a movie on Hitler, told IANS in an exclusive interview.
"It shows Hitler in his underground bunker and portrays his relationship with his close associates. 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," he added.
World War II and Hitler have been subjects of enduring fascination through the decades with films like Hitler: The Last Ten Days (1973), Downfall (2004) and the Tom Cruise- starrer Valkyrie (2008). But this will be a first for Indian cinema.
Rakesh has roped in the versatile Anupam Kher to play the lead role; Neha Dhupia will portray his wife Eva Braun who was 23 years younger to him.
Rakesh maintains that the film also shows how Hitler contributed to India's independence and what happened to soldiers in Subhas Chandra Bose's Azad Hind Legion in Germany.
"It 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," said Rakesh.
Though volumes have been written about the dictator, very little information is available about his wife Eva who was a model before she met him. Dear Friend Hitler focuses on that too.
"The film will not show the love life of Adolf Hitler. It will show Eva who had been rarely spoken about in the history. Eva had been Hitler's girlfriend since she was 17 years old. The film shows how she comes in his life in his last days. They got married 42 hours before he died (April 30, 1845)."
Though the backdrop is World War II, Rakesh insists his is not a war movie.
"By the title, people might take it as a periodic or war film, but we have portrayed neither. Rather it's a war of conscience going on in the mind of Hitler," he said.
The film is expected to go on the floors next month.
(Dibyojyoti Baksi can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org )