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A Guinness salute to Netaji

Calcutta, April 12: It is a call to remember 'the forgotten hero' of Indian history. And if the city decides to respond, a world record might well be set.

On May 5, the Eastern Command grounds will host the premiere of Shyam Benegal's Rs 35-crore biopic, Bose The Forgotten Hero, and hope to draw over 24,000 Netaji fans and film buffs.

'Since he lived here, his house is here and the fact that he is the most important national figure of the freedom struggle to emerge from Bengal in the first half of the 20th century makes Calcutta the obvious place from where to kick-off the journey of the film,' director Benegal reasoned.

At a packed hall in a city hotel, producers Sahara One Motion Pictures today announced the big-bang beginning from the city ' a bid to enter the Guinness Book of World Records, by breaking a 35-year-old premiere mark.

The existing record is held by Robert Altman's Brewster McCloud, premiered at Houston, Texas, before a 23,930-strong audience. 'It was held in a closed environment with projection outside,' said Priti Shahani, head of marketing, Sahara One Motion Pictures

Over the next three weeks a massive publicity campaign would be rolled out, urging Calcuttans to collect passes from various outlets, including colleges and Caf' Coffee Day branches. 'We have faith that the momentum that would start from this platform would snowball into a record-breaking attendance,' Shahani added.

The Guinness authorities will either depute a representative or there would be someone from the audit firm Ernest & Young present at the site. 'The audited tokens and the televised recording will be vital to authenticate our claim,' said Abhijit Sarkar, head, corporate communication, Sahara India Pariwar.

In the presence of family member Krishna Bose, screen Netaji Sachin Khedekar, assistant screenplay-writer Atul Tiwari, Jisshu Sengupta who plays Sisir Bose and other members of the cast, the film team revealed that INA survivors from around the globe would also be invited for the premiere. The film will open in theatres across the world on May 6.

Give us the numbers and we'll give Calcutta a celluloid record seems to be the clarion call from Bose The Forgotten Hero. The people's verdict must wait till the evening of May 5.

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