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Sharad Pawar backs actor MP over Godse row, says he ‘accepted role only as an artiste’

🔴 Made in 2017, Kolhe’s film ‘Why I killed Gandhi’ is set to be released on an OTT platform on January 30.

Written by Manoj Dattatrye More | Pune |
Updated: January 22, 2022 8:14:27 am
Sharad Pawar, NCP MP Amol Kolhe, Mahatma Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin, Nathuram Godse, Why I killed Gandhi, Congress, Nana Patole, indian expressA mob of over 100 MSRTC workers had protested outside Pawar's house on April 8.(file photo)

Following the controversy over NCP MP Amol Kolhe playing the role of Nathuram Godse in a film, party chief Sharad Pawar came out in his support on Friday, arguing that he was only playing a role as an actor and that he did not personally believe in the ideology of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin.

However, another Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Jitendra Awhad said the actor should have turned down the role.

The Congress has criticised Kolhe, saying it will not tolerate “glorification of Godse and insult of the Mahatma”. The Shiv Sena, the third partner in the state’s ruling MVA alliance, has decided to stay mum on the issue for now.

Made in 2017, Kolhe’s film ‘Why I killed Gandhi’ is set to be released on an OTT platform on January 30.

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“Kolhe was not in the NCP when he performed the role. He accepted the role as an artiste. It doesn’t mean he is anti-Gandhi…” Pawar said.

“A movie was made on Gandhi…In that movie, the individual who played the role of Godse was an artiste. He was not Godse himself. That’s why we should look at it (the issue) from the point of view of art,” he said.

Citing another example, Pawar said, “A movie was made on the duel between Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and Aurangzeb. Just because the artiste played the role of Aurangzeb, he does not become the supporter of the Mughals. As an artiste, he plays out the character.”

However, Awhad said, “No one from Maharashtra should play the role of Nathuram. When an actor plays a character, he has to fully immerse in the role. When you see Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi then you see the actor living the life of Gandhi… I feel…he (Kolhe) should have refused the role.”

Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) chief Nana Patole said, “A certain section of the people are trying to support the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi and indulge in glorification of Nathuram Godse…Congress will not tolerate the glorification of the killer of Mahatma Gandhi.”

Patole said even though Kolhe is an actor, he is also a Parliamentarian from a party who “should behave with responsibility”. “It is unfortunate that he has misused the freedom available to an artiste…He has a set a bad example by trying to project Godse as a hero,” he added.

On Opposition BJP’s reaction on the issue, he said, “Everyone knows the views of the RSS and the BJP on Mahatma Gandhi and Godse.”

Shiv Sena has refused to react on the issue for now. “I am in Goa right now…Our former MP Shivajirao Adhalrao-Patil will react on the issue,” said chief spokesperson Sanjay Raut. Adhalrao-Patil, for his part, said, “Kolhe is not worth reacting to…”

NCP’s youth leader Amol Mitkari said, “He (Kolhe) hasn’t glorified Nathuram. He is an artiste and he has just played a role. He has his freedom of expression.”

In a 2.20-minute promo available on social media of the film, Kolhe, in his role as Godse, is seen making a statement in the court justifying the decision to assassinate Gandhi on the evening of January 30, 1948.

Kolhe, who represents Shirur constituency, has earlier played the role of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and his son Sambhaji Maharaj in popular television serials.

In a clarification issued on Thursday, he said, “….sometimes one suddenly comes across roles where you do not agree with the ideology but they challenge you as an artiste. Nathuram Godse’s role was one such. On a personal level, I am not a votary of Gandhi’s assassination or glorification of Nathuram.”

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