By Taran Adarsh
Years after his death, Adolf Hitler has been kept alive and breathing by movie makers across the globe. Many a film-maker has made a film on the German leader, who was responsible for World War II. In fact, the Second World War and Hitler have been fascinating subjects through the decades, with a number of international projects depicting the atrocities committed by the dictator.
Though there have been many films on Mahatma Gandhi, including the Academy Award winning GANDHI, GANDHI TO HITLER is the first Hindi film that attempts to tell the story of the Nazi leader on celluloid. It portrays his final days, hiding in a bunker in Berlin after his downfall. Director Rakesh Ranjan Kumar also portrays the relationship that he shared with his associates, his paranoia, his insecurities during those days.
While Hitler was taking on the world, Mahatma Gandhi had penned two letters to the dictator to reconsider his political decisions. Also, though volumes have been written about Hitler, one knows very little about Eva Braun, his longtime companion whom Hitler married in his final days. There's also a story of Indian soldiers fighting with the Russians on German soil running concurrently in the film.
Though the film focuses on Hitler and Mahatma Gandhi, two contrasting ideologies that changed the course of history in that era, GANDHI TO HITLER is no war film. Nonetheless, the director has used B & W documentary footage of World War II all through the film. Though the film could've documented a reality most effectively, mainly for those who are keen to know what actually occurred in the final days, not just in India but also internationally, the film comes across as an amateur attempt that leaves zilch impact.
One of the reasons why one doesn't relate to the on-screen characters is because Indian actors have been cast in the roles of Hitler and his associates and also French and Russian soldiers, which, in my opinion, makes it look counterfeit. Besides, the director intercuts Mahatma Gandhi preaching non-violence and Hitler stomping around in his bunker rather abruptly, besides, of course, a story of Indian soldiers fighting on German soil. It just doesn't work!
World War II. Adolf Hitler's ruthless ambition for German expansion is becoming increasingly violent and inhuman. Whereas another nation, India, struggles in its fight for freedom against the British as Mahatma Gandhi continues to appeal to his countrymen to adopt a stand of non-violence. A stark contrast in ideologies. Mahatma Gandhi, one day, decides to pen a letter to the German dictator... a letter he hoped would persuade Hitler to change his path and avoid the Second World War, avoid the massive calamity that it would bring on.
Mahatma Gandhi then wrote a second letter to Hitler, this time closer to Hitler's own downfall, at a time when Hitler was plagued with betrayal all around him, while confined to an underground bunker. The film looks at Hitler's downfall, his last days when only his love Eva Braun and his trusted aide Joseph Goebbels stood by him, as Germany crumbled around him and his devoted comrades deserted him.
Though the intentions of GANDHI TO HITLER are right -- it spreads the message of peace, which is so relevant in today's context when the world continues to tackle the dark clouds of terrorism -- the execution of the subject is so amateurish that it leaves you distraught. After a messed up first hour, the film tries to find rhythm and focus in its post-interval portions, but barring a scene or two, it doesn't register an impact like the way the Academy Award nominated film DOWNFALL  did. The only thing that stands out in the film is the cinematography by Fuwad Khan.
Raghuvir Yadav fails to look his part and seems uncomfortable while mouthing lines in English. Neha Dhupia doesn't get any opportunity to display histrionics. Aman Verma is at best decent, while Lucky Vakharia is strictly okay. Nalin Singh, Nikita Anand, Bhupesh Kumar Pandey and Avijit Dutt [as Mahatma Gandhi] are alright.
On the whole, GANDHI TO HITLER fails to connect.
Source: Bollywood Hungama