Legend of 'Gumnami Baba' to come alive on silver screen

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Kolkata : Evergreen Bengali hero Prosenjit Chatterjee will play the title role in an upcoming film on the curious case of "Gumnami Baba", a man many assumed to be the legendary freedom fighter Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.

The yet untitled film, to be made under the banner of Eastern India's largest entertainment company, SVF, would be written and directed by the famed Srijit Mukherji, a release said.

The trio announced the new project on Saturday, as on this day 73 years ago, Netaji had boarded a flight in Formosa, now Taiwan, before mysteriously disappearing forever.

A section of Bose's family, as also some researchers believe that Netaji died in a plane crash at Taihoku airport. However, other sections of the family, as also a large number of researchers and admirers of the revolutionary have rejected the air crash theory.

Excited about the announcement of the new project, director and co-founder of SVF Shrikant Mohta said: "We are optimistic that this film will garner positive critical and audience response."

The film is scheduled to release in 2019.

Although there are several theories of the nationalist leader resurfacing, there have been strong claims by certain quarters of Bose having lived incognito as the "Gumnami Baba" or Bhagwanji or Mahakal in Uttar Pradesh's Faizabad district.

The Indian government constituted as many as three probe commissions to ferret out the truth behind Netaji's disappearance.

In 1999, the Mukherjee Commission, led by retired Supreme Court judge M.K. Mukherjee initiated an exhaustive six-year-long probe into the "alleged disappearance".

Though Mukherjee, in the report, nixed the air crash theory, he did not conclude that the 'sanyasi' was Bose due to "absence" of any clinching evidence.

Incidentally, a documentary "Black Box of History" made a couple of years ago by Amlan Kusum Ghosh on the Netaji mystery, has a footage (taken without Mukherjee's knowledge) in which the retired judge is heard saying: "I am hundred percent sure that he (the monk) is Netaji."

The Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government in 2015 declassified 64 files on Netaji.

The Narendra Modi-led central government has also made public a series of files revealing many sensational facts about the revolutionary.

In June 2016, the Uttar Pradesh government set up a judicial commission to probe the identity of Gumnami Baba, reigniting the debate whether the ascetic who lived till 1985 was Netaji.