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'Bose' hearing on Friday

May 11, 2005 21:17 IST

Shyam Benegal's latest film, Bose: The Forgotten Hero, was on Wednesday taken to court by a group of researchers who claimed the movie peddled wrong information and defamed the enigmatic leader.

The researchers, deponents to a commission probing Netaji Subash Chandra Bose's mysterious disappearance from Taiwan 60 years ago, objected to the mention of the independence hero's love life, his contentious marriage to Austrian Emilie Schenkl and the title of the film.

"We told the court that the film distorts history in fabricating Netaji's romantic life and mentioning his marriage," Rudrajyoti Bhattacharya, one of the researchers, told

The Calcutta high court will hear the matter on Friday.

The film, despite the court case and controversy, is slated to premier in a city multiplex on Wednesday where Benegal and the cast are expected to be present.

"Also, we object to the use of the word 'forgotten' in the title of the film. Netaji is not forgotten. All this defames the great leader," Bhattacharya said.

Netaji researcher Jayanta Chowdhury said they had proof that Netaji never married Schenkl, as shown in the movie.

The five researchers -- Chowdhury, Bhattacharjee, Madhusudan Pal, Surajit Dasgupta and Nandadulal Chakraborty -- have also written to the Censor Board and the secretaries of the Union home and information and broadcasting ministries voicing their protest.

According to Chowdhury, Netaji's application for a visa to visit China on November 23, 1939, mentioned his marital status as 'single'.

Netaji's family says he married Schenkl secretly in 1937.

The researchers said they were happy that Benegal had desisted from showing that Netaji died in an air crash in 1945 -- a highly contentious claim that two previous government inquiries upheld.

But the Mukherjee Commission, whose term expires on Friday, said it found no proof of Netaji dying in the 1945 crash in Taihoku, Taiwan.

The researchers also questioned the veracity of the 162 'love letters' Netaji is said to have written to Schenkl.

Bose and Schenkl's daughter, Anita Piaff, and her husband Professor Martin Pfaff, a former member of the German Parliament, have visited India several times.

Benegal, who has reserved his reaction to the controversy, said, "They (his detractors) won't give you the right to agree or disagree."

He said he had done extensive research, which pointed to the fact that Netaji was married to Schenkl, and that he had a daughter with her.

External Links:
Netaji's love letters
Read more about the film

M Chhaya in Kolkata