Saturday, July 17, 2010

That Bollywood Hitler film


Anupam Kher, the proposed lead for Hitler, has now dropped out since a colleague (casting couch king Mahesh Bhatt*) felt the need to explain his mother in law had to flee Hitler.

You would think that the accounts of non-showbiz chums might have persuaded him this was A Bad Move particularly as he has appeared in western films,but still.

The female lead, Neha Dhupia is still signed to play Eva Braun.
Doesn't she look *adorable* at the launch party?

Here she is on twitter

*Strange that Mahesh Bhatt didn't realise this might be a faux pas when he actually turned up alongside the lead actors for the launch party

It already has some fans:
User 'spentonmediocrity':
Well blow me down,the long arm of judeo centrist american culture has not reached this woman.
I bet Abe Foxman is already on this one.

As detailed on LiveMint, there is a strange ambivalence about Hitler in India.

As a schoolboy in Bombay, I recall seeing dozens of films at Sterling, Metro, Regal and Eros, in which Nazis were always the bad guys, period. The Longest Day, The Guns of Navarone, The Dirty Dozen, Where Eagles Dare, A Bridge Too Far, Is Paris Burning?, or Battle of Britain. And yet, at college, I recall a well-read student senior to me telling me with great conviction that the Holocaust never happened and that there was a giant conspiracy against Hitler.

He had read Mein Kampf (My Struggle), Hitler’s autobiography, which sold 100,000 copies in the last decade, according to Jaico Books, its publisher. Like the Indian youngsters the BBC interviewed recently, he admired Hitler’s sense of “discipline”, “nationalism”, and “spirit”.

These kids aren’t alone. The Shiv Sena’s patriarch, Bal Thackeray, has often praised Hitler. Some Gujarat textbooks look uncritically at Hitler, focusing on his role in building German nationalism after the humiliation of the Treaty of Versailles, glossing over the blood-splattered record.

There is an older Hindu nationalist obsession with Hitler. Leaders of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh have at various times praised Hitler’s nationalism, though to be fair, some have also decried Hitler’s anti-Semitism. Balkrishna Munje of the Hindu Mahasabha went briefly to Mussolini’s Italy in 1931 and came back impressed. Hitler’s quest for Aryan supremacy makes some Hindu nationalists nostalgic; his usurping of the swastika makes some feel a vague kinship. Adding mumbo-jumbo to the mix is Maximine Julia Portas, a French writer, who took the name Savitri Devi and wrote extensively praising Hitler, and dabbled in Hinduism and occult. (She died in 1982).

I have elderly relatives who claim that in the 1930's bookstalls in India were regularly visited by German scholars buying up ancient Hindu texts.

In the crazy batshit world of racial taxonomy, Indians (north Indians and upper caste North Indians more specifically) view themselves as part of the glorious Aryan tribes who (depending on the telling) invaded/migrated to the sub-continent and imposed their enlightened social system of job stratification as a means of ordering civil society, known as the caste system. Everything in its place.

From a website promulgating the lifestyle tips of beardy YogaNazi** Swami Ramdev:
One admirer notes:
In India no North-South East-West divide exists. Most of us Indians are the purest Aryans. Colour changes due to climate. Baba Ramdev reflects Aryan Hinduism and Aryavarta at her best. May Aryavarta and Swastika show the world true nobility and power.

**Ramdev used to declare on his website that he was on a mission to restore India to a great Aryan Nation. Oddly enough these references have been removed from his website but are still on his yoga videos.

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