The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which shares power with the Shiv Sena and Congress in Maharashtra, finds itself in the midst of a drama over its party MP, actor Amol Kolhe ’s role as Nathuram Godse in a movie titled ‘Why I killed Gandhi’. The NCP has been targeted by its ally Congress and the opposing BJP.
Kolhe played Nathuram Godse, the man who killed Mahatma Gandhi in 1948 in the 2017 short film, before joining the NCP in 2019. The film is slated for release on an OTT platform on January 30 this year.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar has clarified that he has no objection as he has always respected artists and the role played by Kolhe in the upcoming film needs to be seen accordingly. Portraying Godse in a film does not mean the essayer of that role supports the character’s actions, he added.
“Amol Kolhe is an actor. In cinema, a person playing the role of Ravan is not actually Ravan. It does not mean the artist abducted Sita,” said Pawar. He further noted, “I respect him as an artist,” and proceeded to further clarify, “He was not on our side when he played the role.”
Kolhe, on his part, said that he took up the role in 2017, when he was not in politics and clarified that he was a staunch supporter of Mahatma Gandhi’s principles. “There is a need to draw a line between reel life and real life. The audience should look at this work of art with an open mind,” he opined.
On the other hand, NCP Minister Jitendra Awhad took strong objection to Kolhe playing Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin in the film. “It is wrong for an MP to accept this role. The artist should stand on the side of society. Protest is protest, no matter the year. The actor’s role and the actor as a person cannot be two different things,” he said, taking a completely opposite line to that of his mentor and party chief Sharad Pawar. He declared that he would continue to oppose the film. Pawar said Awhad was expressing his view.
State Congress chief Nana Patole declared that his party would not allow the release of film in Maharashtra. He announced that the party would not tolerate Godse’s glorification.
“Although Kolhe is an artist, he is also an MP from a political party and so he is expected to act more responsibly. It is unfortunate that by misusing his freedom as an artist, he has supported the assassination of the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, and glorified Nathuram,” said Patole. He added, “The attempt to make Nathuram Godse a hero is unprecedented. Even before this, people have expressed strong dislike and anger over the role of Godse being played by other actors. The explanation given by Kolhe for playing the role of Nathuram is very inconsistent and unacceptable.”
Reacting to Pawar’s remark, the state BJP’s chief spokesman, Keshav Upadhye taunted that the NCP should be renamed as ‘Godsewadi’ Party. “Now the NCP MP will directly glorify Godse. People remember an old speech by NCP minister Chhagan Bhujbal (on Godse). All the progressives who preach to the BJP on every issue are now silent,” he said.
However, Pawar retorted to this by asking since when had BJP leaders become Gandhians. “I do not want to comment on the history of the BJP and RSS,” he said.