Enigma is the term synonymous to Subhash Chandra Bose. The iconic figure of the Indian freedom movement is a national hero who inspires many to flow against the tide and live life on own terms.
Kudos to creator Ekta Kapoor for pushing the storytelling boundaries and attempting to re-live the life and adventures of Bose on the small (read: mobile) screen. ALTBalaji as an OTT platform, has a diverse line up of shows and with Bose, it has up the competition ante manyfold.
The topic did Netaji die in a plane crash in Taiwan during World War 2 or not has perplexed successive generations of Indians ever since. It’s given that Bose: Dead or Alive will garner lot of mass interest.
ALTBalaji’s collaboration with Hansal Mehta (Creative Producer) has resulted in a beautiful, well woven narrative. The casting of maverick and meticulous Rajkummar Rao as Bose is spot on. This thinking actor of Newton fame has really immersed himself in the charismatic persona of Netaji. His apt portrayal getting into the skin of varied age shades, be it the college student or the leader of the INA (Indian National Army). His body language, persona and poise are appealing to the extent of being so real that once into many scenes the imagery of reel and real Bose merges.
The casting of the other cast is perfect .i.e. Anna Ador, who plays Bose’s wife Emilie Schenkl speaks, English with a European accent, this was needed she being a German. Also Edward Sonnenblick, who plays the Kolkata cop, who has had long history with Bose, is a perfect actor to boot.
The Big Synergy and Balaji Telefilms creative team has worked very hard to replicate pre Independent India complete with the design, decor of the era and houses etc. The research unit has done its job to the best, adding a touch of subtle magnificence to the plot.
Although the story keeps switching between 1945 and the past, the transition is seamless, there is no jarry disconnect. The banter between Bose and the Indian cop Darabari Lal (Naveen Kasturia), who ages with him on screen, adds to much needed emotional relief.
The story, which is based on the book India’s Biggest Cover Up by Anuj Dhar, also sensitively handles the controversial relationship between Jawaharlal Nehru and Bose i.e. scene where the Viceroy tells Nehu that if Bose returns home, who would be the next PM? Also the show seems to focus more on how the British feared the return rather than the power equations back home. Could this have been deliberately omitted, given how art gets flak when it asks pointed questions? Well, the answer is for you all to decipher.
In a bid to keep the story simple, most of the narrative focuses only on known issues or incidences, we have not really come to know more about this great man or his childhood.
Also, we believe that every man has both positive and negative aspects, there should have been a more critical analysis of his policy of using violence to get Azaadi and joining hands with the Axis (Germany and Japan) powers. Do ends justify the means?
Bose Dead Or Alive is a test case, if it succeeds it will open the doors for much more thinking web content not necessarily politics but also in social space as well. Today, the thinking is that as the youth is more obsessed with sex, so give similar content to them. But there is a huge audience who also wanst something beyond. And this huge TG (Target Group) has been ignored by TV as well.
The challenge would be will Indians pay for the subscription? For we are used to free content! Here, Ekta is addressing this challenge by coming up with a huge slate of shows which covers all genres. IndianWikiMedia would rate it 4 out of 5 stars.