Bollywood hits Berlin

Helmer Benegal's 'Netaji' shoots in city

BERLIN — Berlin is getting a taste of Bollywood with Shyam Benegal’s “Netaji: The Last Hero” currently filming in the German capital.

The $2 million biopic focuses on the last five years in the life Indian freedom fighter Subhas Chandra Bose, popularly known as “Netaji,” or revered leader, who created and led the Indian National Army against British rule and who formed a provisional Indian government during World War II.

Benegal (“Zubeidaa”) and crew, who began production on the film in January in Calcutta and Delhi, have also shot in Japan, Usbekistan and Malaysia, and will move on to Burma after lensing in Germany is wrapped up next month.

“Netaji,” a Sahara India Media Communication production, marks Benegal’s third project about India’s famed leaders; his previous works have included the 1988 TV series “The Discovery of India,” about Jawaharlal Nehru, and 1995’s “The Making of the Mahatma,” about Mahatma Gandhi.

Bose came to Berlin during the Second World War to seek support from the German regime for India’s war of independence against Britain. He is thought to have perished in a plane crash in Taiwan in 1945.

Berlin-based I.P.S. is overseeing production in Germany.

Pic is due out in Indian theaters next year to commemorate Bose’s 107th birthday on Jan. 23.

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