Of all the Indian freedom fighters of the twentieth century, only a few stand out. When asked to list the names of a few of those martyrs who sacrificed their time, energy, and life for the cause of freedom from the clutches of the British Raj, the most common names definitely include that of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. Just like Bhagat Singh and Chandrashekhar Azad who are distinguishable by their physical appearance, so is Netaji a commonly recognizable personality in India. Truth be told, he is very much recognized but hardly known. There is none who can equal Netaji’s sharp intellect and ever present mysterious aura of secrecy that surrounded him. But the common man may not know much about Netaji.
On 20th November 2017, ‘Bose: Dead/Alive’, an Indian historical drama web series premiered online. The platform chosen was ALTBalaji, a subsidiary of Balaji Telefilms Ltd. that is owned by actor Mr. Jitendra and managed by Ms. Ekta Kapoor and Ms. Shobha Kapoor. Portraying a dramitised version of the historical events in the life of Netaji, the series spans 9 episodes. The plot is based on a highly revealing book by Mr. Anuj Dhar, India’s Biggest Cover-up (2012) published by Vitasta Publishing. (Flipkart page here)
Anuj Dhar, a former journalist, has researched Netaji’s mysterious disappearance extensively for over a decade. It was his bestselling book, India’s Biggest Cover-up (2012) that triggered the demand for declassification of the Bose files. The Indian Government declared the declassification of the files relating to Netaji in October 2015 when the PM, Shri Narendra Modi, met Netaji’s family members at New Delhi. The first few files were handed over by the Prime Minister’s Office to the National Archives of India by December 2015. The files can be accessed here.
Mr. Dhar’s book, India’s biggest cover-up (2012), relies on official records most of which were classified then still by the Government of India. Mr. Dhar has used archival material and information that were made accessible by the freedom of information acts of India, the USA and the UK.
Any viewer of ‘Bose: Dead/Alive’ would be fascinated to watch the web series with this background in mind. The web series is set in pre-independent India. During a time in India’s past when the INC was trying to form the Government, Netaji tried to change the battlefield and played the role of a phenomenal disrupter of the status quo. With the British Raj incessantly on his tracks, Netaji’s actions amaze his admirers while simultaneously pushing his pursuers into Uncontrollable fear. The choice of words, costumes, background score, and actors are well justified. Any viewer is left to wonder why the series is only nine episodes long!
At a time when a majority of Indians have access to unlimited internet data packages, a web series like ‘Bose: Dead/Alive’ comes as a new injection of patriotism to revive the citizens’ interest in the nation’s history. Filmmakers must take initiatives to produce more of such masterpieces.
Even today, he is remembered by many patriots. Retd. Major General G D Bakshi in one of his interviews exposed the hypocrisy of the INC and its senior leaders of stealing credits of Independence from Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. Here is the video of the same.