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Discovery & AIM Television bring Netaji docu on air on 18 July

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MUMBAI: A lot of curiosity has arisen about what really happened to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and the declassification by the Modi government of files concealed for decades has heightened interest in it.

Now here to add to material on the subject is Discovery Channel which is all set to air Subhash Chandra Bose: The Mystery on 18 July at 9 pm. The documentary has been produced by Iqbal and Anu Malhotra’s AIM Television and seeks to track what happened to Netaji.

The enduring question spans a complex web of characters, places and international politics. Did Bose die in a plane crash in Taipei as officially accepted? Is it true that Bose returned to India and lived incognito as a wandering monk? Why did the Government of India kept the files relating to his death secret for 70 years? What’s in the files declassified in January 2016?

Shot in three counties, including Russia, India and the UK by a crew of 12 , the film is focused on the mystery post Netaji’s disappearance and it documents many of his personal stories and experiences.

Says Subhash Chandra Bose: The Mystery chief assistant director Meghna Talwar: “The challenge while starting the project was the enormous information available on him, to filter out and find the right leads from available information was the first task.”

The documentary follows an enterprising young NRI, Sidhartha Satbhai who commissioned Neil Millar, a former veteran of the Royal Signals Regiment of the British Army, to conduct an image analysis on video and photographic material supplied to him by an internet group, Anonymous. The footage pertains to an individual referred to as ‘The Tashkent Man’, who was present during the Indo-Pak Tashkent Declaration of 10 January 1966. Through modern scientific and facial analysis, the investigation points to the possibility that the bespectacled man could be Netaji. The report also infers that if Netaji was present in the Tashkent Declaration in 1966, he could not have died in the plane crash on August 18, 1945, as officially reported.

The film then reveals the story of Leon Prouchandy, a forgotten chapter in the history of the Indian National Army. His story told by his grandson Prashant More raises yet another question in the enduring mystery of Subhash Chandra Bose. According to author and historian Prashant More, the day Bose supposedly died in the plane crash in Taipei, he was at the Prouchandy Mansion in Saigon (present day Vietnam). He believes that Bose entrusted the INA’s substantial finances to Leon Prouchandy, one of the key figures in Bose’s operations in South East Asia.

The documentary then brings in Purabi Roy, Author and Visiting Professor at Moscow State University and Major General Alexandr Kolesnikov, Retired Major General of the Warsaw Pact, who draw upon critical information from Russian archives regarding Netaji's presence in Post-World War II Russia.

Further in the film, Prathama Banerjee, Historian and Associate Professor at The Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) sheds light on the rise of secret societies in pre-Independence India, their influence, the leftist leanings of Bose as President of the Indian National Congress and his association with members of the Communist party.

The film also interrogates Netaji’s associates and his family including his grandnephews Ashish Ray and Abhijit Ray. Abhijit retraces Netaji’s steps and narrates his meticulous and planned escape in 1941 from his ancestral house at Elgin Road, Calcutta to Berlin under a new Italian identity and further raising a Regiment in the German Army, the Wehrmacht.

The production team has also recreated few of incidents and has shown a photographic collection.

Putting various perspectives in one frame, Subhash Chandra Bose: The mystery underlines various controversies and surmises if the Bose mystery is an International conspiracy of silence or does the Indian government already has the answers?

Shot in English, it is also likely that it will be shown with a Hindi, Tamil. Telugu and Bengali dub. The repeat is also scheduled on July 19 2016 at 9AM, July 23 at 3PM, and July 24 at 8PM.

Malhotra is expecting the film to get popular among scholars, researchers, students and experts, since it compiles information from various sources. And he expects it to get Bengal viewers to tune in to it, considering Netaji’s huge cachet in the region.

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