Anupam Kher withdraws from film on Hitler

MUMBAI Thu Jun 17, 2010 9:56pm IST

Bollywood actor Anupam Kher talks on a walkie-talkie while directing his Hindi film 'Om Jai Jagdish' in Mumbai, April 15, 2002. REUTERS/Arko Datta/Files

Bollywood actor Anupam Kher talks on a walkie-talkie while directing his Hindi film 'Om Jai Jagdish' in Mumbai, April 15, 2002.

Credit: Reuters/Arko Datta/Files

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MUMBAI (Reuters) - Protests by India's small Jewish community have prompted leading actor Anupam Kher to pull out of a film on the last days of Adolf Hitler, a rare subject for a movie in the Bollywood film industry.

Kher, who was supposed to play the role of Hitler, told Reuters he had decided to withdraw from the film after an outpouring of messages on social networking sites and protests.

"Considering the ill-will that the project is generating among my fans, I wish to withdraw from it as I respect their sentiments," Kher said in a statement released to Reuters.

"Dear Friend Hitler" aims to give audiences a glimpse into Hitler's "insecurities, his charisma, his paranoia and his sheer genius", according to a statement on the film which will go on floors next month.

"I have never been moved by commercial considerations, but I have always respected social opinions," Kher said.

India has a small Jewish community of around 5,000 as most have migrated to Israel and the West over the years. They said they were outraged by the decision to make a film on Hitler.

"Whoever is making this film is doing so with ignorant, if not more sinister motives ... they are hurting the feelings of a community that has suffered a great deal," Jonathan Solomon, the chairman of the Indian Jewish Federation, told Reuters.

In 2006, a small restaurant in Mumbai was forced to change its name from "Hitler's Cross" to "Cross Cafe" after strong protests.

A year later, the Jewish community staged strong protests, again in Mumbai against a home furnishing maker that named its new line of bedspreads "NAZI" and used the swastika in its promotional brochure.

The film's director, Rakesh Ranjan Kumar, said the film would not glorify Hitler.

"Those who are protesting against the film have got it wrong," he said.

(Editing by Bappa Majumdar and Sugita Katyal)

(For more news on Reuters India, click in.reuters.com)

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