An image of President Ram Nath Kovind unveiling a portrait of freedom fighter Subhas Chandra Bose is viral on social media with captions falsely claiming that the painting is that of actor Prosenjit Chatterjee who had portrayed the freedom fighter in Bangla movie 'Gumnaami'.
Several verified Twitter handles including Rajdeep Sardesai, Richa Chadhha, and others tweeted the image of the painting being unveiled by Kovind claiming it to be an embarrassing faux pas on part of the government by mistaking the actor for the freedom fighter. Richa Chadhha and Rajdeep Sardesai deleted their tweets later.
The post is viral in the backdrop of the unveiling of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's painting on the occasion of the freedom fighter's 125th birth anniversary commemorated at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on January 23, 2021.
Pictures of the event were tweeted from the official Twitter handle of the President on January 23 with a caption 'President Kovind unveils the portrait of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose at Rashtrapati Bhavan to commemorate his 125th birth anniversary celebrations'.
Soon enough social media users started sharing the picture with misleading claims linking it to Srijit Mukherji's 2019-film Gumnaami.
Journalist Swati Chaturvedi quote-tweeted the same picture with a caption 'Sir, you have unveiled the portrait of an actor who played Netaji...'
The President's tweet was quote-tweeted from several handles with the false claim.
The same image has been shared on Facebook too.
BOOM did a reverse image search on the portrait of Bose unveiled by President Ram Nath Kovind and found a tweet from the verified handle of Chandra Kumar Bose, grandnephew of Subhas Chandra Bose, sharing a similar black and white portrait of the freedom fighter on January 11, 2020.
On Monday, shortly before the publication of this report, Chandra Kumar Bose tweeted the photo once again clearing the air over the painting.
We also found the same picture, albeit in black and white, on a 2015 blog post on the freedom fighter. BOOM could not independently verify the origin of the photo. However, the blog post confirms that the now-viral picture existed before the film on Bose - Gumnaami - released in 2019.
Srijit Mukherji, director of the Bangla film Gumnaami also tweeted the image of Bose on January 25 putting the controversy around the painting to rest.
Actor Prosenjit Chatterjee also tweeted about the photo congratulating artist Paresh Maity. Chatterjee said he was 'elated' that people thought the painting resembled his character in the movie.
BOOM also found a post on Facebook page Art Alive Gallery shared the same picture with a message that reads 'It's a moment of pride for us to share Paresh Maity's beautiful tribute to Neta Ji Subhash Chandra Bose, unveiled at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on his 125th birth anniversary. The portrait was unveiled by the honourable President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind. We are also very proud to share that this portrait now becomes a part of Rashtrapati Bhavan's collection'.
We also found a report published in The Economic Times on January 25 stating that an official from the Rashtrapati Bhavan has refuted the claims while speaking to wire agency IANS.
BOOM has also reached out to painter Paresh Maity, Chandra Kumar Bose and Rashtrapati Bhavan for further comment. The report will be updated once we hear from them.
(The story has been updated to include Prosenjit Chatterjee's tweet)