Mahima Mukherjee reviews the web series Bose: Dead/Alive starring Rajkumar Rao and explores how in this adaptation, dramatising history seems to be clickbait.
Mystery and conspiracy theories surrounding the disappearance of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose is an evergreen phenomenon in India. Almost every person who has studied history is faced with the intriguing question of “What happened to Netaji?” at least once in their lifetime, even if it is a fleeting thought. Fifteen Prime Ministers have assumed office along with their ministries since the independence of India, and no one seems to have the ability, or the interest, of unravelling the fate of this awe-inspiring freedom fighter.
Anuj Dhar, an author and former journalist, is the founder-trustee of a non-profit organisation — ‘Mission Netaji’ — which campaigns in favour of declassifying files and documents related to Bose. His meticulously researched bestselling book India’s Biggest Cover-Up, published in 2012, provides a scintillating insight into the controversial plots and subplots which shed light on what superficially seems like Bose’s vanishing-into-thin-air. Alt Balaji’s 2017 web series Bose: Dead/ Alive, based on this book, achieved a certain degree of popularity among its viewers but is far away from the depth of information explored in Anuj Dhar’s book.