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Controversy surrounds Randeep Hooda’s film on Savarkar for historical inaccuracy

The teaser of the film was released on 28 May 2023 to mark Savarkar’s 140th birth anniversary.

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Savarkar

The upcoming film on Indian freedom fighter Vinayak Damodar Savarkar has sparked controversy and divided opinions. While some hail it as a tribute to the nationalist leader, others criticize it for glorifying his controversial past.

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Randeep Hooda, the Bollywood actor who is making his directorial debut with Swatantrya Veer Savarkar, a biopic on the life and legacy of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, has landed in trouble for his claims about the freedom fighter and Hindutva ideologue. The teaser of the film, which was released on 28 May 2023 to mark Savarkar’s 140th birth anniversary, has sparked a backlash from historians, netizens, and members of the Bose family, who have accused Hooda of distorting facts and glorifying Savarkar.

Credit: Anand Pandit Motion Pictures


The main bone of contention is Hooda’s assertion that Savarkar was the most wanted Indian by the British and the source of inspiration for revolutionaries like Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Bhagat Singh, and Khudiram Bose. In a tweet accompanying the teaser, Hooda wrote: “The man who inspired Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Bhagat Singh & Khudiram Bose. The man who was most wanted by the British. The man who was the first to call the 1857 revolt India’s first war of independence. The man who coined the word Hindutva. #SwatantryaVeerSavarkar”

Also Read: Swatantra Veer Savarkar on IMDb

However, this claim has been challenged by Chandra Kumar Bose, the grandnephew of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, who said that Hooda was wrong and that Netaji was the most wanted leader and freedom fighter by the British. He also said that Netaji’s ideology was diametrically opposite to Savarkar’s and that he was not inspired by him at all. He tweeted: “Sorry- the most wanted leader & freedom fighter was #NetajiSubhasChandraBose. He was the only front-line leader who had ‘shoot at sight orders’ & had sacrificed his life on 18 August 1945, for the freedom of our nation. If you respect #Savarkar pl. don’t distort history!”

Many social media users also pointed out that Savarkar had written several mercy petitions to the British while he was imprisoned in the Cellular Jail in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and that he had advocated the two-nation theory and Hindu Rashtra, which were contrary to the secular and inclusive vision of Netaji and other freedom fighters. They also questioned Hooda’s portrayal of Savarkar as a hero and a martyr, when he was accused of being involved in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi.

Vikram Sampath, the author of a two-volume biography of Savarkar, also distanced himself from Hooda’s film and said that he was not consulted or involved in any way with the project. He clarified that his books were not the source or inspiration for the film and that he was not responsible for what Hooda or his film writer said or wrote about Savarkar.

Also Read: Movie Review: Zara Hatke Zara Bachke

About Savarkar Film

Hooda’s film is not the first attempt to make a biopic on Savarkar. In 2001, a film titled Veer Savarkar was directed by Ved Rahi and starred Shailendra Gaur in the lead role. However, that film also faced controversy and opposition from various groups who objected to its depiction of Savarkar and his role in the freedom struggle.

Savarkar remains a divisive figure in Indian history and politics, with some hailing him as a patriot and a visionary, while others denouncing him as a traitor and a communalist. His views on Hindutva, nationalism, caste, cow protection, minorities, and Gandhi have been widely debated and criticized by many scholars and activists. His supporters have demanded that he be awarded the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honor, while his detractors have opposed any such move. Hooda’s film is expected to release later this year and will face more scrutiny and criticism from various quarters. Whether it will be able to do justice to Savarkar’s complex and controversial life or will end up being a propaganda piece remains to be seen.

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