It"s not only the concern and protests of people from all over the world about the actor playing the world"s greatest dictator that changed Anupam Kher"s mind about playing Adolf Hitler in a proposed Hindi film directed by debutant Rakesh Ranjan Kumar. There was a bigger and more immediate reason also.
It was because of a call from his mentor Mahesh Bhatt"s wife Soni Razdan"s mother that Anupam finally withdrew from what could have been the greatest challenge of his. Soni Razdan"s mother who"s a German called Anupam and said, “It"s not only the Jews who suffered because of Hitler. The Germans suffered too. I"m one and I know what I went through. Please don"t do anything to further the name of that blot from history." That is what stirred Anupam's mind.
Says the prolific actor. “It was indeed Soni"s mother who made up my mind for me. There was also Sister Dolores who works with autistic children with me. Sister Dolores too told me that she was against my playing Hitler. These two women decided the matter for me. I was challenged to do a part that has been done abroad by many distinguished actors. But what is recognition, weighed against people"s sentiments?"
Anupam has now offered to compensate the producers by doing another project in lieu of the Hitler bio-pic. “But they are very upset at the moment. The director said he was misquoted about crediting Hitler with the independence of India. He even offered to apologize. However the observation he made was contrary to the ideals I follow as an actor. If he"s saying he would retract his statement because his project might fall apart, then he is not on the right track." Anupam is annoyed by the fact that his close friend Pritish Nandy has tweeted against Anupam"s decision to opt out of the Hitler film.
Reasons Anupam, “Pritish feels I should treat it like any other role since I have played black characters repeatedly in the past. But playing Dr Dang in Karm or Hannibal Lector in The Silence Of The Lambs is not the same as playing Hitler. Those villains did not affect history."
The Dear Friend Hitler director Rakesh Ranjan Kumar is still waiting for Anupam to change his mind. “Hitler forced Mr Kher to pull out of the project. Gandhi who is the hero of my film is waiting for him to come back. Mr Kher"s fans suggested he leave the project. Now they"re going to force him to join back after knowing the full story." However Anupam says he won"t change his mind. But he will compensate the producers and director by doing another film for them, if they so wish.