Friday, February 29, 2008

Film raises doubts over Netaji’s death
N Ravikumar 18/2/2008

CHENNAI, Feb. 17: A Tamil film on Netaji's close associate, Pasumpon Muthuramalinga Thevar, to be released within a few weeks, is likely to raise more questions on Subash Chandra Bose's death, as it contains Thevar's assertions that he had met Bose in 1956, many years after the plane crash, in which Bose is said to have died.

Muthuramalinga Thevar, who is now worshipped as a deity, by Thevars, a backward community in southern districts of Tamil Nadu, was a close associate of Bose and one of the five founding members of the Forward Bloc.

The film's director Mr MP Abraham Lincoln, told The Statesman** that Thevar, in several public meetings he addressed in 1956, had asserted he was still maintaining contact with Bose and had met him at a village near the Himalayas. Those speeches had been recorded by Thevar's assistant AR Perumal, in his book, and was still remembered by the villagers who attended those meetings, he said.

A commission of inquiry was constituted to probe Netaji's death by the Union government, following the speeches of Thevar. When the commission asked Thevar to submit what he knew before it, Thevar sought few assurances from the Indian government.

He wanted to know whether Bose's name was in the list of international criminals and sought an assurance Bose would not be arrested and handed over to the British government by the Indian officials, if the exact place where he was living was known. He also sought an assurance no harm would come to his leader's life, if Netaji revealed his identity. Thevar refused to reveal what he knew, after the Indian government's refusal to assure him, Mr Abraham Lincoln said. The film narrated all those incidents, he said.


Thevar was an icon, considered as a deity by his community, and there was no need to conceal what he spoke and did, the director, who is also a former journalist said. He said he had read all the books on Thevar's life before preparing the script.

Netaji himself conferred the title of `South Indian Bose' to Thevar in September 1939. Thevar's association with Bose was an important period in his life and hence, it had to be given sufficient focus, he said.

The film's producer Mr IP Karthikeyan said Netaji had visited an estate in Pulichakulam, owned by Thevar, during WWII and that had been recorded in the film.
He said the film, running for one hour and 15 minutes would be released in Tamil Nadu within a few weeks. The producer said he was planning to dub the film in Bengali and Hindi in another six months time. Although the film resembled a documentary, as many parts had been narrated, without actual scenes, it would be received well by the people, especially in the southern districts, he said.

Animation techniques were used to portray Thevar's life as a youth and the film had been shot in the villages where he lived, he said. Mr Karthikeyan said he planned this film as a tribute to Thevar, in his centenary year.

'Thevar Jayanthi'**, the birth anniversary of Thevar is one of the grandest festivals in southern Tamil Nadu as the freedom fighter has attained the status of a deity, Thevars.

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