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Many a filmmaker sought to document Gandhi

Aditi Chandra
1 October 2013

New Delhi, Oct 1 (IANS) Mahatma Gandhi, the apostle of non-violence, whose 144th birth anniversary will be observed on Wednesday, has been the favourite of many a filmmaker who has gone behind the camera to bring his philosophy and sayings to the big screen.

IANS lists some of the movies that were about the man, revered in India as Father of the Nation, and also those that were not about him, but highlighted his philosophy:

"Gandhi" (1982) - Directed by Richard Attenborough, "Gandhi" is one of the best movies on the Mahatma so far. Ben Kingsley essayed Gandhi so convincingly that he walked away with the best actor award at the 55th Academy Awards for his role. The film's success can be measured from the fact that it won seven Oscars, including that for best director.

"The Making of the Mahatma" (1996) - Shyam Benegal, one of the best directors of Indian cinema, decided to adapt "The Apprenticeship of a Mahatma", written by Fatima Meer, who also wrote the screenplay for the film. The movie recounts the 21 years that Gandhi spent in South Africa. The director teamed up with talented actor Rajit Kapur, who played Gandhi with such élan that he won the National Film Award for best actor.

"Lage Raho Munna Bhai" (2006) - Rajkumar Hirani can be credited for bringing on the screen Gandhi's principles in the most simple yet most effective manner with the movie and popularised them as 'Gandhigiri'. Featuring Sanjay Dutt in the lead, the film was set in the modern times and has today become a reference point for the common man. Marathi stage and movie artist Dilip Prabhavalkar portrayed Gandhi in the film. It was one of the best earners of the year and won the National Film Award for Best Popular Film. Prabhavalkar reprised the role in the Telugu version titled "Shankar Dada Zindabad" in 2007.

"Gandhi, My Father" (2007) - He may be known as the Father of The Nation, but Gandhi's relationship with his son Harilal was strained. Director Feroz Abbas Khan brought this strained relationship on the big screen with Darshan Jariwala as Mahatma and Akshaye Khanna as Hiralal. If viewers appreciated Abbas' efforts, the beautifully narrated historical also won three National Awards, including the best supporting actor for Jariwala and best screenplay trophy for Abbas.

There other movies that talk about Gandhi and his preaching, but they are not entirely focussed on Gandhiji.

"Sardar" (1993) - When Ketan Mehta wielded the megaphone to make a biopic on Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, he also talked about Gandhi and his philosophies. While Paresh Rawal essayed Patel, Annu Kapoor was seen as Gandhi in the critically acclaimed movie.

"Hey Ram" (2000) - Kamal Haasan directed "Hey Ram", released in Hindi and Tamil, was based on partition and Gandhi's assassination. Veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah portrayed Gandhi in the film.

"Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose: The Forgotten Hero" (2005) - Once again Shyam Benegal decided to delve into history to make a biopic on Subhas Chandra Bose and the narrative would not have been complete without a mention of the Mahatma. He roped in Sachin Khedekar to etch out Subhas Chandra Bose and actor Surendra Rajan to play Gandhi. Its box office prospects were not so high but it was a well-appreciated movie.

(Aditi Chandra can be contacted at aditi.c@ians.in)

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