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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 August, 2003, 21:43 GMT 22:43 UK
Bollywood on location in Berlin

By Tristana Moore
BBC correspondent in Berlin

A new Bollywood film about the Indian independence fighter Subhash Chandra Bose is being shot in Germany.

The film traces the last five years in the life of Subhash Chandra Bose, or Netaji, who set up the Indian National Army in exile to fight against British rule during the Second World War.

Clapperboard on set of 'Netaji: The Last Hero'
The film will be released in the new year
The film is being directed by Shyam Benegal, considered the father of new wave Indian cinema, and stars Sachin Khedekar.

It is the first time that a major Bollywood film has been shot in Germany.

Netaji: The Last Hero is expected to be a blockbuster when it opens in India early next year and the producers are also hoping for success in other countries.

Director Shyam Benegal says that his film is full of action.

"It's the story of a great adventure, of a person who was obviously a great romantic because who would think of leaving the country and trying to raise an army to fight for Indian independence from outside of India?"

Netaji didn't believe in Gandhi's methods of achieving independence for India through non-violence.

Instead he went into exile and set up the Indian National Amry.

He travelled to Germany during the Second World War where he met Hitler who was apparently impressed with his cause and promised to help him.

He raised an army of 80,000 men to fight against British rule.

His troops marched into India to fight against the British from Burma, but Netaji died in 1945 - he never lived to see Indian independence.

Set of Netaji: The Last Hero
This is the first major Bollywood film to be made in Germany
For Shyam Benegal the film is a chance to focus on Netaji who until now has been overlooked and to an extent to rewrite history.

"He was quite a remarkable person," he says.

But "even in the books then written he is considered a traitor".

German incentives

Berlin is becoming a magnet for film producers.

The Hollywood film Around the World in 80 Days was also recently shot in the city.

Martin Blaney, from Screen International, says Berlin's attraction is hardly surprising given the generous subsidies given to film-makers in Germany.

"Berlin definitely is cheaper than say London, Rome or Paris to shoot and it may be still a bit more expensive than further east but then this region has often been able to offer financial incentives which can make that difference," he says.

Actor Sachin Khedekar says that filming in Germany is very different to India.

"In India," he says, "we've so many people there that the unit was always crowded."

"Here you see one sound man handling so many things, you see one girl who is a camera attendant and has everything"

After Germany the crew will move back to film in India and Burma.

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