Something tells us this will not end well.
Bollywood filmmaker Rakesh Ranjan Kumar is directing a Hitler biopic focusing on the Fuhrer’s relationship with his companion Eva Braun, to be released at the end of this year. Titled “Dear Friend Hitler,” the film takes its name from the term used by Gandhi in a letter begging the German dictator not to go to war.
Based on comments made by Kumar to the Times of London, the title of the movie seems like just the first drop in what is to be a downpour of bad taste. While comparisons are already being made to Mel Brooks’s “Springtime for Hitler” — the musical within a musical in “The Producers” — it seems that Kumar and company are aiming for a more earnest portrayal. At the very least, there will be no musical numbers.
Then again, says Kumar, “Dear Friend Hitler” will be “a romance,” albeit “not in the typical sense.” Well, sure. Hard to see how the story of the most evil man in modern history and his lover would be typical. Still, Kumar seems intent on showing Hitler’s human side.
“As a leader, he was successful. I want to show why did he lose as a human being? What were the problems, what were the issues, what were his intentions?” he told the Times. Ahem. Issues? Intentions? Are they really such a mystery?
The film’s starring roles are being filled by Anupam Kher, a prolific actor who once played Gandhi on Indian television, and Neha Dhupia, a former Miss India, who had this to say about her character: “How do you marry the most hated man in the world? I think it’s by taking each day at a time.” Great, just what we needed — relationship advice from Eva Braun.
If there’s any consolation to be had here, it’s that Hitler would probably hate this movie as much as the rest of us.
Ezra Glinter is the critic-at-large of the Forward.