A list of films made on the life and Values of Mahatma Gandhi
The relationship of Mahatma Gandhi, who taught the mantra of non-violence, still has been strong enough not only with politics but also with the film industry. For the internet generation still, many new documentaries and short films are being made to retell Gandhi’s story and his ideology. The contributions made by Gandhi and the events of his life have been shown very well in various feature films, short films and documentaries made in India and abroad both. Bapu was not just the biggest leader of Indian independence movement but also a face of it to the rest of the world. His philosophy of non-violence is still being preached all over the world. In the coming April, the Australian government will commence four-month long digital interactive exhibition showcasing the life and achievements of Mahatma Gandhi. It will be held in Australia’s Victoria state. More than 1,000 archival photographs, over 130 minutes of footage, 60 minutes of film clips and 20 voice recordings of Gandhi’s speeches would be shown in the exhibition at the Victoria’s Immigration Museum. Not only this, a documentary- Sabarmati Ashram: The Home of Gandhi’s Experiments with Truth, celebrating the centenary of Mahatma Gandhi’s Sabarmati Ashram was shown in London recently to retell Gandhi’s story with some interesting visual elements to the young people who relate themselves to the internet.
Several filmmakers have captured the greatness of this incredible soul on the celluloid. Gandhi is yet a relatable subject for filmmakers. The complex and layered personality of Gandhi is seen as a great deal for any artist to portray. Let’s take a look at some of the movies that have been created till now, inspired by Bapu’s lives.
Sabarmati Ashram: The Home of Gandhi’s Experiments – In this documentary, the story of Sabarmati Ashram is very unusual and lesser known. It shows how Gandhi set up this ashram in 1917 on a 36-acre wasteland on the banks of Sabarmati River. It was full of snakes, and the first thing Gandhi said was that none of them was to be killed. The film also showcases Bapu’s life at the ashram. The film shows how some pro-British newspapers ridiculed his idea of Salt March. People in England wondered what harm could be done to the powerful British Indian government by picking up some salt from a deserted seashore. Nobody could imagine that on Gandhi’s call millions of Indians would come out on streets to defy the Raj and break the Salt Law. The film sheds light on Gandhi’s life in the Ashram. There was also an interesting eyewitness account of the famous Salt March by one of his disciples, Sumangal Prakash. He was one of the 78 Ashram residents whom Gandhi personally selected as his co-marchers. The film is written and produced by journalist Vijay Rana.
An Encounter with Mahatma: A 12-minute short film on Mahatma Gandhi was produced by Veershankar, Telugu producer and director. Based on the book written by Gandhiji ‘My Religion, M.K. Gandhi’, this short film ends with Martin Luther King’s speech where he talks about Gandhi.
Mahatma: Life of Gandhi, 1879-1948 - This documentary film released in 1968 was based on the life of Gandhi and his search for his truth. This film is mostly presented with Gandhiji’s own words and it was shot in Black and White in the English language. The film has shown the struggle for Gandhiji’s life and his freedom of India. The film was directed by Vithabhai Jhaveri. Tis documentary was produced by the Gandhi National Memorial Fund in collaboration with the Film Division of the Government of India. This documentary is by far the longest tribute to the father of the nation with over a 5-hour length, and a 14 part series on YouTube.
Gandhi: In feature films, Gandhi released in 1982 remains the best biographical movie of Mahatma Gandhi. Created by director Richard Attenborough Gandhi is still considered as a milestone. In this film, ‘Ahimsa Satyagraha’ has been shown by Gandhiji, which started with the Champaran movement of Bihar. This film made on Gandhi ji has also been honoured with an Oscar Award. Gandhi’s character was played by actor Hollywood actor Ben Kinsley. He had played the role of Gandhiji in the film and he was also given an Academy Award for the same role. This film made a little known Indian-origin British actor Ben Kingsley as one of the renowned actors in the world. Various actors were considered over the years for the all-important title role, but the actor who was finally chosen, Ben Kingsley, made the role so completely his own that there is a genuine feeling that the spirit of Gandhi is on the screen. Pandit Ravi Shankar gave the music to the film and got the ‘Acquittal Award’ for Best Picture.
The Making of Mahatma: Released in 1996 the film was directed by Shyam Benegal, the well-known director. The film was made on the book ‘The Apprenticeship of a Mahatma’ by writer Fatima Mir. The narrative is based on Mahatma Gandhi’s time in South Africa where he had a practice as a barrister. The time was before he came to India and joined the Independence movement. In the film, Gandhi’s South Africa philosophy was shown. Mahatma Gandhi raised a voice against racial discrimination with Indians in South Africa. And the circumstances that made Gandhi a Mahatma. Actor Rajit Kapoor got the National Award for Best Actor from this movie. The film also received a National Award for Best Feature Film.
Lage Raho Munna Bhai: In the commercial outlook Raj Kumar Hirani directed movie Lage Raho Munna Bhai, released in 2006 showcased the ideology of Gandhiji through hero Sanjay Dutt. The most populous film ever made on Gandhi introduced Gandhiji’s non-violent image and taught people the lessons of Gandhigiri. In the film, the role of Gandhi was played by actor Dilip Prabhavalkar
Gandhi-My Father - (2007) National award-winning film was released in 2007. It was commercially hit. The story revolves around the troubled relationship of Mahatma Gandhi and his son, Harilal Gandhi. In the film, Gandhi’s son Harilal Gandhi feels that despite his father being the father of the whole country, he could not prove a good father for him. This film also shows the grief of Gandhi’s life. Darshan Jariwala played Gandhi’s character and his son Harilal, was played by Akshaye Khanna. This film was produced by Anil Kapoor and directed by Firoz Abbas Khan.
There has been a great effort to show every aspect of the life Gandhi through the film medium. Some other lesser Known films are
Nine Hours To Rama (1963): This film tells nine hours of the life of Nathuram Godse before killing a great man like Mahatma Gandhi. In this film, JS Kashyap played Gandhi. Horst Buschodge played the role of Nathuram Godse.
Hey Ram (2000): The film focuses on the killing of Gandhi by the partition of India and Nathuram Godse. Naseeruddin Shah played Gandhi’s character. Writer, director and film producer Kamal Haasan played the role of Hindu Fundamentalist Saket Ram, who wanted to kill Gandhiji but later changed his mind and started apologizing.
Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara (2005): Anupam Kher played the role of a retired Hindi professor Uttam Chaudhary. He gets madness and he starts believing that he is the killer of Gandhi.
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