The man who successfully led the first Indian expedition to the Mount Everest in 1965, Captain Manmohan Singh Kohli, is a living legend at 85. Captain Manmohan Singh Kohli (b. 11 December 1931 at Haripur) is an internationally renowned Indian mountaineer. An officer in the Indian Navy who joined the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, he led the 1965 Indian expedition which put nine men on the summit of Everest, a world record which lasted for 17 years. Now Hollywood filmmaker Scott Rosenfelt, who is known for films like ‘Home Alone’, ‘Mystic Pizza’ and ‘Teen Wolf’, is making a film on Kohli. We update you on this development.
Reliving a top-secret India-CIA saga
When we contacted Capt Kohli, he said, “Scott has been wanting to make a film for years on the top secret joint Indo-US expedition to Himalayas, headed by me, wherein CIA was involved. Right from the Americans’ arrival in India to their identity — everything was kept a secret. The purpose of the expedition was to locate the launching pad of the nuclear missiles of China as it was a nuisance to both India and America. So, we had to plant a nuclear powered sensor device (with seven plutonium capsules) at the highest peak of Himalayas. But due to a blizzard, we had to abort the mission mid-way, and lost the nuclear sensor. We kept returning to the Himalayas for the next three years, but the device was not found. And if it had got into the Ganges, its radioactivity could kill millions of Indians. This entire saga is narrated in one of my books. And now Scott is reviving this project; I have already signed two contracts with him and another producer, Rashaana Shah. It is a live story as those plutonium capsules are still missing and have the potential to cause large-scale harm.”
Bollywood A-Lister To Play Kohli
Rashaana Shah, who is currently in India, shared, “This James Bond(ish) story will be told from Indian as well as American perspective. We are in the process of finalising the director. Once he’s on board by March, we will zero in on the actors. One of the Bollywood A -listers will play the role of Capt Kohli whereas one of the leading American actors will be chosen to play his American counterpart. The film will go on floors later this year (2017).”
No records of this mission in the US
According to Rosenfelt, it is the sheer enormity of the mission that impressed him. In a telechat from the US, he confessed, “I was knocked out by the scale of this huge battle between the man and the nature when I read about it in a newspaper in Seattle. I have been wanting to make a film on this incident for years. I realise the sensitivity of this geo-political story, seeing the way equations are between India, China and America even today. But this story where several people were sent on a dangerous mission and many of them didn’t even know exactly what they were carrying, is too intriguing. What is amazing is that there is no official record of this secret mission in any of the government papers in the US. We plan to use the exact account based on my interactions with Capt Kolhi as well as the American mountaineers to keep things 100 percent real. The fact that Kohli’s deep faith in God and prayers, brought him alive from so many near-death situations, is mind-boggling.”
Mohan Kohli was President of the Indian Mountaineering Foundation from 1989 to 1993. In 1989, he co-founded the Himalayan Environment Trust.