Film on Indian soldiers in WWI to be screened in capital

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New Delhi, July 18 (IANS) Paris-based Indian filmmaker, scriptwriter and novelist Vijay Singh’s film “Farewell My Indian Soldier” — titled “Mademoiselle France pleure” in French — will be premiered at the French embassy here on Tuesday.

The screening is being hosted by Alexandre Ziegler, Ambassador of France to India. The film is a docu-fiction on Indian soldiers who came to France and Belgium to fight in World War I.

Singh, accompanied by actress Paloma Coquant, will make a presentation of the film, which will be followed by a question and answer session.

Dedicated to the 140,000 Indian soldiers and civilian workers who defended France against invasion, the film is co-produced by Silhouette Films and Rajya Sabha Television, and supported by the Embassy of France in India.

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“This is the first time that such a film has been made on this subject,” Singh said in a statement.

“Indeed, it would seem both unbelievable and intriguing how the experience of 140,000 Indian soldiers and civilian workers on the Western Front, part of the 1.4 million soldiers mobilised worldwide, could have escaped the attention of any television in the world,” Singh said.

“In fact, even in terms of the contemporary WW1 film footage available in the archives, there is very little on Indian soldiers. Again, much fewer Indian troops were awarded for their bravery than their British counterparts. In many ways, this film is a re-write of this part of the history of the Great War,” he added.

“Farewell My Indian Soldier” uses rare archive, historical testimonies, old Indian war songs and 600 insightful letters written home by soldiers to tell the fascinating story of Indian soldiers, of whom 10,000 were never to return to their motherland.

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Following its market screening at the Cannes Film Festival 2016, this film is expected to travel to international film festivals worldwide.



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