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Much ado about Netaji portrait at Prez House

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  • The claim, that the portrait was based on Bengali actor Prosenjit Chatterjee, popularly known as Bumba, who played Bose in a 2019 movie, Gumnaami gathered momentum.
By HT Correspondent, SNN, New Delhi

PUBLISHED ON JAN 26, 2021 06:21 AM IST

In the end, like many controversies on social media, it ended up being much ado about nothing. On Monday morning social media was abuzz with claims that the portrait of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, painted by Paresh Maity, and unveiled by President Ram Nath Kovind at Rashtrapati Bhavan on January 23, the beginning of the 125th birth anniversary celebrations of the freedom fighter was that of a Bengali actor who played the role of the Bose in a 2019 biopic.

The claim, that the portrait was based on Bengali actor Prosenjit Chatterjee, popularly known as Bumba, who played Bose in a 2019 movie, Gumnaami gathered momentum.

Then, it emerged that the portrait was actually based on a photograph of the leader likely taken in the 1940s, and not on Chatterjee. Netaji’s grandnephew Chandra Kumar Bose who, last year, put out that photograph on Twitter, did so again and said this was the original on which the portrait was based.

The actor also corroborated this on Twitter, saying: “As an Actor,I’m elated that people thought,that the painting resembles my character in Gumnami,dir. by @srijitspeaketh and prosthetics by Somnath.”

Even by the trigger-happy standards of Twitter, the controversy was a bit much.

Moitra tweeted: “After donating 5 lakhs to the Ram temple the President honours Netaji by unveiling a portrait of Prasenjit, the actor who played him in biopic God Save India (because this government certainly can’t).” She later deleted the tweet.

“Is the portrait unveiled by the President of India that of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose or of actor Prosenjit Chatterjee who played the role of Netaji on screen? This is why education matters,” said a tweet by the West Bengal Congress, which too was later deleted. “If the neo-Bengal experts are done making a fool of themselves, let me remind them that all their misplaced activism won’t be able to save Mamata Banerjee,” Amit Malviya, BJP IT cell head tweeted.

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