Randeep to play Veer Savarkar

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Anupama Nair



Veer Savarkar is one of my favorite freedom fighters. Before Independence every child would ask it’s mother why we are slaves, and mothers would answer “what is new, we were slaves for 900 years”. What was his fault, that he was sentenced to two life imprisonments – his fault love for his motherland and to set her free from British Imperialism. Fortunately, he did not spend his sentence as India was free from British rule on August 15, 1947. What did we do for him, we buried him the sands of time and only condemn him? He should be given a Bharat Ratna along with Bhagat Singh, Netaji and many others whose names are forgotten in the annals of history.

The good news is there is a film made about the great man, and I am waiting eagerly for the movie. Randeep Hooda will play the role of freedom fighter and Hindutva ideologue Veer Savarkar in the upcoming biographical film. The name of the movie is  “Swatantra Veer Savarkar”, and will be directed by the filmmaker Mahesh V Manjrekar and produced by Anand Pandit and Sandeep Singh. This movie will highlight India's freedom movement from a totally different gamut, the makers said. The shooting of the movie will be expected to start in June 2022, and will be shot across various locations in London, Maharashtra and Andaman and Nicobar Islands, where Savarkar ji spend his time. Hooda said, playing Savarkar will be ‘yet another challenging role’ for him as an actor. "There are many heroes that have played their part in getting us our independence. However, not everyone has got their due”, he added. 

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar is the most misunderstood, debated and influential of these unsung heroes and his story must be told. I am delighted to collaborate with Sandeep after Sarabjit, for Swatantra Veer Savarkar," he said. Manjrekar said it is important to tell the stories that have been mostly ignored in the past. “Swatantra Veer Savarkar will be an edgy cinematic narrative that will force us to revisit our history. I have been wanting to collaborate with Sandeep Singh, and I am glad that we are doing this film together," the filmmaker said. Before, watching the movie, let me tell you about the great Savarkar and his contribution to freedom movement in India.

Veer Savarkar or Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, a great son of Bharat Ma was born on 28th May 1883 to Damodar and Radhabai Savarkar, near Nashik, Maharastra. Savarkar joined the Hindu Mahasabha and popularized the term Hindutva (Hinduness), previously coined by Chandranath Basu to create a collective ‘Hindu’ identity as an essence of Bharat. Surprisingly Savarkar was an atheist and also a pragmatic practitioner of Hindu philosophy.

Savarkar began his political activities as a high school student and continued to do so in Ferguson College (Poona). He and his brother founded a secret society called Abhinav Bharat Society. When he went to the United Kingdom for his law studies, he involved himself with organizations such as India House and the Free India Society. He also published books advocating complete Indian independence by revolutionary means. One of the books he published called “Indian War of Independence” about the great Revolt of 1857, was banned by the British authorities. In 1910, Savarkar was arrested and ordered to be extradited to India for his connections with the revolutionary group India House.

On his voyage back to India, Savarkar staged an attempt to escape and seek asylum in France, while the ship was docked in the port of Marseilles. The French port officials however, handed him back to the British while disobeying international law. On his return to India, Savarkar was sentenced to two life terms of imprisonment totaling fifty years and was moved to the Cellular Jail in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Savarkar resided in Ratnagiri till 1937, when he joined the Hindu Mahasabha. He started traveling widely, becoming a forceful orator and writer, advocating Hindu political and social unity.

Savarkar was critical of the decision taken by the Congress in its Wardha session of 1942, which passed a resolution which said to the British: "Quit India but keep your armies here". Savarkar said it “was the reinstallation of British military rule over India”, which he felt would be much worse. In July 1942, as he felt extremely stressed carrying out his duties as the president of Hindu Mahasabha, and as he needed some rest, he resigned from the post of the president. This coincided with MK Gandhi’s Quit India Movement.

In 1948, Savarkar was charged as a co-conspirator in the assassination of MK Gandhi, however, he was acquitted by the court for lack of evidence. Savarkar resurfaced in the popular discourse after the coming of the BJP into power in 1998, and again in 2014 with the Modi-led BJP government at the center.

In February 1966, Savarkar renounced medicines, food, and water which he termed as atmaarpan (fast until death). Before his death, he had written an article titled "Atmahatya Nahi Atmaarpan" in which he argued “that when one's life mission is over and the ability to serve society is left no more, it is better to end the life at will rather than waiting for death”. He breathed his last on 26th February 1966 at his residence in Bombay. He was mourned by large crowds that attended his cremation. He left behind a son, Vishwas, and a daughter, Prabha Chiplunkar. His first son, Prabhakar, had died in infancy. His home, possessions and other personal relics have been preserved for public display. His dream was "Akhand Bharat" (United India), stretching across the entire subcontinent, which incidentally should be the dream of every true lover of Bharat Ma. It is mine too, and he had earlier opposed the Partition of India. Savarkar supported Hitler and Mussolini and the establishment of Israel.

The airport at Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar's capital was renamed Veer Savarkar’s International Airport in 2002. A postage stamp in his memory was released in 1970. The Malayalam movie, Kala Paani was made to commemorate his life. Annu Kapoor played the role of Savarkar.

Hope the movie is a super hit!

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