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Last Updated: Sunday, 8 May, 2005, 10:43 GMT 11:43 UK
Conflict over India war hero film
By Subir Bhaumik
BBC News, Calcutta

Subhash Chandra Bose is garlanded by members of the Free India Legion
Bose did not live to see Indian independence
The producers of a film on Indian independence war hero, Subhash Chandra Bose, have cancelled the film's premiere in his hometown, Calcutta.

The film has run into opposition from the party Bose founded which is part of the West Bengal state government.

The film backs suggestions Bose was secretly married and shows him dying in an air crash in Taiwan, both of which are disputed by some Bose followers.

Bose believed only an armed rebellion could oust the British from India.

Legal threat

A spokesman for the producers, Sujoy Ghose, did not spell out the reason behind the cancellation, only saying that they "were having trouble with the premiere plans in Calcutta".

Shyam Benegal (in hat) directs the film on Bose
Shyam Benegal (in hat) directs a scene from the film on Bose

Bose: The Forgotten Hero will now premiere in Jaipur, in the western state of Rajasthan, on Tuesday.

Directed by one of Bollywood's most famous directors, Shyam Benegal, the film ran into trouble with Bose's Forward Bloc.

Bose founded the party following sharp differences with Mahatma Gandhi, who led the non-cooperation movement for freedom against the British.

The Forward Bloc's chairman, Asoke Ghosh, said the film's claims about Bose's marriage and death were "controversial and highly disputed claims not yet conclusively proved".

Experts say the leader's application for a Chinese visa dated November 23, 1939, mentioned his marital status as single.

However, Bose's family claims he secretly married an Austrian woman, Emily Schenkl, in 1937.

Many people also believe that Bose did not die in a plane crash in Taiwan in August 1945 but instead escaped to Russia.

Mr Ghose had threatened to take action to stop the screening of the film unless the offending scenes were cut.

Five Calcutta-based researchers who have studied the life of Bose threatened to take Mr Benegal to court unless the "disputed facts" were removed.

Despite the controversy, the film - made at a cost of 350m rupees ($8m) - will be released commercially in Calcutta along with other cities across India on Friday.

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04 Feb 05 |  South Asia
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