The Forgotten Army launched on Amazon Prime today (Friday, January 24) with all five episodes available in one go. The Indian Original focuses on an intriguing period of history during World War II where a large group of soldiers fought for independence. Here’s a look at the incredible story behind the drama.
What was the Forgotten Army?
The Forgotten Army recounts the incredible true story of the Indian National Army led by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.
In the series, the action follows Lieutenant Sodhi (played by Sunny Kaushal) and the army of men and women who went to India to try and throw off the shackles of the British Raj once and for all.
The Forgotten Army was a group of the Indian soldiers, made up of 55,000 men and women, who defected from the British Indian Army following the Fall of Singapore in 1942.
They chose to fight for independence against the British with some fighting alongside Japanese troops against English soldiers.
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While they ultimately failed in their mission, their decision showed India’s desire for freedom from its colonial rulers.
Historians have suggested the formation of the INA and the subsequent Bombay Mutiny within the Royal Indian Navy signalled the beginning of the end for British rule.
Members of the INA faced court-martial in the Red Fort Trials on various charges including treason, torture and murder.
The trials were highly unpopular in India given those in the dock were viewed as freedom fighters.
Again, these trials are thought to have galvanised the Indian independence movement.
The Indian National Army is not without a troubled legacy given it saw Indians working alongside the Axis power including Japan and Germany at this time.
Leader Bose even met with Adolf Hitler and spent time in Berlin, Germany where Free India Center.
As a whole though, this is a period which has gone under the radar and has almost been lost in the annals of history.
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The Forgotten Army was directed by Kabir Khan, who also made a documentary in 1999 of the same name which looked at this period.
In an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, Khan explained why the Indian National Army and its attempt to free India have remained largely unknown and untold.
He said: “It’s the narrative that’s left behind when the British Raj ended. I have a feeling there are certain uncomfortable truths for the British Empire.
“The Forgotten Army was an uncomfortable truth. The fact that 55,000 soldiers decided to abandon the Union Jack and then fight for India’s independence was an uncomfortable truth.
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“That’s why between 1942 and 1945, there was a deliberate attempt to blacklist all news about this army.
“There was censorship about anything to do with his army.
“So the country didn’t know what this army was doing. Little information trickled in when the Red Fort trials were being held.”
Khan said this was a story even Indians didn’t know about.
On the INA working with the Japanese during World War II, Khan said he wanted people to first know the story of the army and then to discuss and debate it.
He explained: “There have been various controversies and their alliance with the Japanese in Singapore and keeping up with the battle with the Japanese Imperial Army. Of course, people want to debate and discuss [it] and that’s valid and people should discuss, but before we discuss and debate it, it’s important to know what they did.
“What they did really lacks in the popular space and as Indians we really know nothing about what happened with this army, and that’s the reason I feel it’s important to tell this story and Indians to know about this story. Then discuss and debate the relevance of this army.”
The Forgotten Army is streaming on Amazon Prime now
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