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Kenny Basumatary to Play Netaji in Bollywood Film ‘Raag Desh’

Kenny Basumatary to Play Netaji in Bollywood Film ‘Raag Desh’
July 17
16:39 2017

Actor-director Kenny Basumatary, will be seen playing Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose in Bollywood film Raag Desh, directed by Tigmanshu Dhulia, who has won the National Award for Paan Singh Tomar and has also made hits like Sahib Biwi Gangster and Haasil.

He is also famous for playing villain Ramadhir Singh in the Gangs of Wasseypur films.

Raag Desh is about the 1945 court-martial of three Indian National Army officers, who were captured during their failed attempt to throw the British out of India, and how the Red Fort trials (as they came to be known) galvanized public opinion against the British raj. The three officers were coincidentally a Hindu (Prem Sehgal), a Muslim (Shah Nawaz Khan) and a Sikh (Gurbaksh Singh Dhillon), and their roles are being played by Mohit Marwah (Anil Kapoor’s nephew), Kunal Kapoor (Rang De Basanti) and Amit Sadh (Sultan, Kai Po Che).

The film is being produced by Rajya Sabha TV, with its CEO Gurdeep Singh Sappal being the film’s producer. Tigmanshu Dhulia says, “I am a student of history, and I never thought I would one day get a chance to make a film on Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and the Indian National Army. No typical Bollywood producer would finance such a project.”

The trailers and character intros of the film, in which Kenny can be seen as Netaji in some shots, have been well received. Speaking on how he was cast, Kenny, Who hails from Assam said, “I had already acted in Tigmanshu Dhulia’s Yaara, releasing later this year, so when he was casting for Raag Desh, he thought of me as Netaji.”

Kenny Basumatary Raag Desh

The Indian National Army was formed by Netaji by gathering Indian soldiers who had been fighting World War II on the British side and had been captured by German, Japanese and Italian forces. He believed that since there were only about 70,000 Englishmen controlling India’s 38 crore population, a force of around 50,000 Indian soldiers would be enough to drive them out. However, the INA faced stiff British resistance at Imphal, apart from inhospitable terrain and lack of supplies, and eventually had to retreat. But once the trial of the three officers started and people started getting to know about the INA’s efforts, a huge wave of public opinion began forming, leading to a widespread naval mutiny. These events were a huge catalyst in convincing the British that their time in India was indeed up.

“I read three very important books on Netaji and the INA and went through as many videos and recordings of his speeches as available,” said Kenny, on preparing for the role.

“The physical preparation used to take about an hour every day, with shaving of my head, makeup, padding and costumes. I am not the main character in the film, though. I appear in important flashbacks,” the actor-director of Assamese film Local Kung Fu and Local Kung Fu 2 said.

“Netaji stood 4th in the ICS exams, (the IAS exams of then), and he could have lived a comfortable life as a senior bureaucrat, but he chose the hard way and fought for the country’s freedom instead. I feel it is an honour and a great responsibility to portray such a great man”, concludes Kenny.

Raag Desh will be released on July 28.

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