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Gandhi Movie Poster

Year: 1982
Director: Richard Attenborough

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Cast:

Ben Kingsley (Mahatma Gandhi), Candice Bergen (Margaret Bourke-White), Edward Fox (General Dyer), John Gielgud (Lord Irwin), Trevor Howard (Judge Broomfield), John Mills (The Viceroy), Martin Sheen (Walker), Ian Charleson (Charlie Andrews), Athol Fugard (General Smuts), G√ľnther Maria Halmer (Herman Kallenbach (as Gunter Maria Halmer)), Saeed Jaffrey (Sardar Patel), Geraldine James (Mirabehn), Alyque Padamsee (Mohammed Ali Jinnah), Amrish Puri (Khan), Roshan Seth (Pandit Nehru), Rohini Hattangadi (Kasturba Gandhi (as Rohini Hattangady)), Ian Bannen (Senior Police Officer), Michael Bryant (Principal Secretary), John Clements (Advocate General), Richard Griffiths (Collins)

Storyline:

When 'Mahatma Gandhi' (qv) first set foot in British India, he had already been to Britain and South Africa, and had created quite a stir for the betterment of the people. But in India, he realized that he had first to live the life of a peasant to understand what it is to be an Indian. This resolve will lead him to shed his westerners clothing, and don a simple loincloth, be subjected to racial slurs from none other than Winston Churchill (Half naked Indian Fakir); Mobilize awareness of local industry and less dependence on imported clothing and material; the historic dandee march for withdrawal of the salt tax; a fast unto death to stop the virtual slaughter of British troops by irate Indian mobs; and be imprisoned several times. His resolve was to work with stalwarts such as Mohammed Ali Jinnah, Sardar Valabhbhai Patel, Professor Gokhale, J.B. Kripalani, Maulana Azad, and Pandit Jawarharlal Nehru to ensure first of all to get the British to quit India, and then run an Indian Government under the Congress party. Gandhi will soon realize that it is not enough to be just an Indian, for India has many facets - Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Jewish, and Christian. The British relied on these many facets as an excuse for their continuance as they wanted to ensure that the minorities are not oppressed by the Hindu majority. Concerned over the inroads made by Gandhi to unite the Hindus, Muslims, and all others under a common umbrella, the British invited Jinnah for talks, and it is here that a seed was laid for a separate country called Pakistan. When Gandhi came to know about this, he pleaded with Jinnah to unite the Muslims, even take over as the first Prime Minister with his choice of Muslim candidates for Parliament, but separatist Jinnah had already made his mind. The World Wars of 1914 and 1944 having taken it's toll on Europe and Britain in particular, the weary British finally decided to leave India in 1947 - not the India they had conquered - but an India that was ready to be divided in East Pakistan and West Pakistan. Now after the much awaited independence was the real test for Gandhi - a test that will make him or break him - as he started a fast unto death to try and stop the violence that was threatening to break out into a civil war, not realizing that he had indirectly fanned Hindu extremism, which would later be called the Shiv Sena, into taking the matter directly in their hands to ensure that Muslims are kept out of their Hindustan forever.

Reviews:

"The object of this massive tribute died as he had always lived, without wealth, without property, without official title or office. Mahatma Gandhi was not the commander of armies, nor the ruler of vast lands. He could not boast any scientific achievement or artistic gift. Yet men, governments, dignitaries from all over the world, have joined hands today to pay homage to the little brown man in the loin cloth, who led his country to freedom."

This quote is from the funeral scene in the 1982 film "Gandhi". Richard Attenborough directed this massive epic about the man that freed India. The film opens with Gandhi's assassination. The next scene, his funeral, is one of the greatest scenes in cinematic history. Attenborough managed to recreate Gandhi's funeral on January 31st, 1981, the 33rd anniversary of the actual funeral. It is estimated that nearly 400,000 people were on hand to be a part of the filming the recreation. This film was made before CGI (computer generated images), so the funeral scene is probably the last live action crowd of that magnitude that will ever be filmed.

Mahatma Gandhi's message of non-violent resistance is delivered in an interesting and enthralling body of art. This film has made and will make millions of people aware of the little brown man that took on the British Empire and won. "Gandhi" serves both as entertainment and an important historical record of one of the most important figures in history.

Ben Kingsley played Gandhi. He was the perfect for the role. He resembled the real Gandhi. He was young enough to portray Gandhi as a young man. He is a British actor that nailed the British influenced Indian accent. He is a wonderful actor that was patient and humble with such an important part. And he was a relatively unknown actor at the time, so the "big-time actor" persona did not get in the way of viewing the film. He did win both the Academy Award and Golden Globe for best actor, for this role, which I agree he deserved. He became Gandhi.

The cinematography was outstanding. Attenborough filmed "Gandhi" on location in India. The scenes of India are spectacular, and India is very much another character in the film. This film is as much about India itself as it is about Gandhi. Attenborough shows the audience the people of India from its countryside to the vast city of Calcutta. It is suggested by Kingsley, on the DVD, that Attenborough had a difficult time with the elite class in India at the time of filming. They were against the making of such a film by an Englishman. Undeterred by their negative thinking, he persevered to enlist thousands of Indians to help make this film. Every crowd scene, he used real Indians from the area. Attenborough also won both the Academy Award and Golden Globe for best direction.

This movie is a must see for everyone. It should be required viewing in high schools, as part of History class. The fight against prejudice will forever be relevant. It is also a beautiful work of art. This movie is not tainted by the embellishment of Hollywood (see "Pearl Harbor" for that). Of course, it would have been hard to screw up a movie about such a great man. 10/10

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As soon as I finished watching Gandhi, I thought to myself "This movie had to have won Best Picture." I think it's one of the best epics of all time. It masterfully tells one of the most important stories of the 20th century, that of India's struggle to free itself, spearheaded by one of the most extraordinary men of all time, Mahatma Gandhi. I would be hard pressed to name anything lacking about it. Direction, cinematography, costumes, they're all great. And Ben Kingsley! Without a doubt his portrayal of Gandhi is one of the best performances of his career, if not THE best. Playing the pacifist Indian lawyer-turned-leader couldn't have been an easy task, and I don't think anyone could have pulled it off as well as he did. This movie deserves all the praise anyone gives it and more. Excellent.

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