On Gandhi’s 152nd birth anniversary, Sandeep Singh, one of the producers of the biopic PM Narendra Modi in 2019, announced a film about Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse. The biopic, titled Godse, will be directed by Mahesh Manjrekar, according to a press release issued on Saturday.
Accompanying the announcement was a poster with the words “Janamdin ki hardik shubhkaamnaaye ‘Bapu’ … Aapka, Nathuram Godse” – happy birthday Mahatma Gandhi, yours truly Nathuram Godse.
The film will be produced by Singh’s Legend Global Studio and Dream Girl director Raaj Shaandilyaa’s company ThinkInk Picturez. Godse is being scripted at the moment and is expected to go into production by the second half of 2022, the press release stated.
Godse, a member of the fundamentalist organisation Hindu Mahasabha and a former member of Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh, assassinated Gandhi in Delhi on January 13, 1948. Godse was hanged to death on November 15, 1949.
Extremist Hindu organisations have attempted to resurrect the Hindutva advocate as a “true nationalist” in recent years. In 2019, during protests against the amended Citizenship Act and the proposed National Register for Citizens, a man who was captured on cameras waving a gun at protestors was later identified as a Hindutva fanatic who signs his social media posts as “Godse 2.0”.
Bharatiya Janata Party leaders, from Usha Thakur to Pragya Thakur, have publicly eulogised Godse. in BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh, Hindu Mahasabha named a library after Godse in January (it was later shut down).
Manjrekar, who is also working on a biopic on Vinayak Damodar Savarkar for Sandeep Singh, justified his involvement with Godse in the press release: “It takes a lot of courage to back a film of this nature. I always believe in hard hitting subjects and uncompromised storytelling and this one fits the bill. People do not know much about Godse other than he’s the man who fired at Gandhi. While telling his story, we neither want to patronize nor want to speak against anyone. We’ll leave it to the audience on who is right or wrong.”
Sandeep Singh said in a press statement, “The Nathuram Godse’s story is the one which I wanted to tell ever since I made my first film. This is an untold tale that deserves to be presented to the cinemagoers. There are various versions of the stories about Godse and Gandhiji. Mahesh, Raaj and I intend to bring out the factual story and thereby bring this cinematic opus of forgotten history characters for today’s generation.”
Raaj Shaandilyaa added, “Over the last few years, there’s been a renewed interest in knowing about Nathuram Godse. Also, we are living in times where freedom of expression and different viewpoints and opinions are encouraged. Hence, we feel this is the right time to bring a film on Nathuram Godse.”