Daniel Corleone - wrote on 07/19/11
The story of a young lawyer Mohandas K. Gandhi (brilliantly portrayed by Ben Kingsley) starts when he himself has been a victim of racial discrimination (for being non-white) during a train ride. His main purpose is to end racism, discrimination, poverty and violence. Part of the main figures include the devoted wife Kasturba (Rohini Hattangandy), Candice Bergen the photo journalist from Time magazine, the inhumane General Smuts (Athol Fugard), a reasonable reporter Walker (Martin Sheen), Congress Party men Mohammed Ali Jinnah (Alyque Padamsee) and the reliable and faithful Pandit Nehru (Roshan Seth). The scenes of this film have more impact than any other horror film since this is based on real events. A prime example would be the Amritsar massacre where thousands of unarmed non violent protesters have been injured and killed, with the women and children. Another was the time where Walker reported the British brutally hitting the weaponless followers of Mahatma (meaning God, he was also called Bapu) Gandhi to block a gate. The assassination of the icon, the violence between Hindu’s and Muslim’s and many more scenes were memorable.
In the age of CGI, during the period of the filming, they have used thousands of casts for extras. The cast was amazing especially Ben Kingsley, who was praised by Gandhi’s grandson. His calmness, humility and slight humor were depicted without complaints from anybody. The cinematography was exploited well and the illustration of India was impeccable. They showed the minor details such as the workers, poverty in the streets, and the joy of the people seeing their hero walk. Its score was also a fit for the film’s dark theme when violent emanates. Rarely do we see films with a biographical story become an epic, thus the term biopic. I enjoy true to life movies such as Donnie Brasco, The Insider, Schindler’s List, Raging Bull, The Pursuit of Happyness, the list goes on. This film is also roller coaster ride of emotions: you fathom the images of the mosques/nature, feel sorry and angry when the armless innocents get murdered at the behest of a British military who wanted to prove something, joy when India finally gets its independence, sorrow and pity whenever Mahatma Gandhi stages his hunger strikes for a powerful cause. The film definitely would not have been effective without the impressive display of Ben Kingsley, great acting, plot, writing, cinematography and realistic direction. One of the many memorable quotes that we can practice or live by - "An eye for an eye makes the world blind" In today’s society, leaders should watch this film to reflect on their malicious acts. This lengthy classic’s main themes of love, truth and poverty as the worst kind of violence will be cherished in the years to come. The length could have been shorter since most parts were irrelevant to the story. I wish they edited the intermission portion on the DVD. The special features were insightful. It’s very intricate to find epics that share a positive message and an accurate biography. As we age, we either get wise or become foolish. The respected/spiritual Gandhi had a tremendous impact because of his worthy causes throughout history and India.