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Thread: Mahatma Gandhi in Hindi Films

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    Mahatma Gandhi in Hindi Films

    Mahatma Gandhi in Hindi Films

    Mahatma Gandhi’s name comes at the first position when speaking about India’s freedom struggle.


     


    Mahatma Gandhi is undoubtedly the most popular personality in the Indian history and his name comes at the first position when speaking about India’s freedom struggle. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, as was his complete name, is not just a famous figure in India but across the globe. His wax statue at the Madam Tussauds is a clear testimony to the fact.

    Gandhi has been an important part of Hindi films as well. Any film on Indian independence is incomplete without the mention of Gandhiji. Today, on the eve of Gandhiji’s birthday Oct 2, we list down some of the best portrayed Gandhiji on the Indian screen.



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    Senior Member Array mrina's Avatar
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    The list has to start with Richard Attenborough’s film Gandhi (1982) which is by far considered to be the best biographical take on Mahatma Gandhi. Ironically it took a foreign filmmaker (Richard Attenborough) and a foreign actor Ben Kingsley to come up with the best film on Indian independence and the Indian freedom fighter.

    The international project was shot in India in English language and starred several then smalltime Indian actors like Amrish Puri, Om Puri and Saeed Jaffrey. Rohini Hattangadi played Kasturi Gandhi, Mahatma’s wife. Ben Kingsley went on to win an Oscar for the film and his performance in Gandhi is considered to be the best till date.

    Surendra Rajan in Veer Savarkar, Legend of Bhagat Singh, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose

    Whenever Gandhi was needed in a small bit in films, character artist Surendra Rajan came handy. He played Gandhi in biographies of Savarkar, Bhagat Singh and Bose.

    Interestingly all the films showed Gandhi in a negative light with his philosophies contradicting with those of other freedom fighters.

    Rajit Kapoor in Making of Mahatma

    Shyam Benegal’s favourite actor Rajit Kapoor played Gandhi in Benegal’s bilingual biography title The Making of Mahatma in English and Gandhi Se Mahatma Tak in Hindi. The film had a different outlook on Gandhi as it showed the progression of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi from being a barrister in South Africa to becoming the Mahatma.

    Rajit Kapoor came up with an inspiring act of Gandhiji.


    Mohan Gokhale in Babasaheb Ambedkar

    In 2000s filmmakers became more open on historical biographies and went on to show more than what was documented in the history curriculum textbooks. Jabber Patel’s biography on Babasaheb Ambedkar was one of the first films to show Gandhi in grey shades. It was a shocker to audiences to see Gandhi in a negative light. Mohan Gokhale played Gandhi’s character in the film and the director showed how Gandhi used his non-cooperation policy and fasting strategies to emotionally blackmail and get things done as per his demands.

    South actor Mamoothy played Ambedkar in the film and won a National Award for his performance.

    Naseeruddin Shah in Hey Ram

    After Babasaheb Ambedkar, Mohan Gokhale was again signed for playing Gandhi in Kamal Hassan’s Hey Ram. Unfortunately for his untimely demise, Kamal Hassan had to opt for another actor to play Gandhi. Naseeruddin Shah played Gandhi in the film and did a splendid job at it. He was amongst the first actors to get Gandhiji’s Gujarati accent and body language right.

    Hey Ram are the last words uttered by Gandhiji before his death and mainly revolved around Gandhi’s influence on a common man played by Kamal Hassan. The film, again, showed Gandhi in a negative light till the climax where things change to his favour and his image is resurrected.

    Surendra Rajan in Veer Savarkar, Legend of Bhagat Singh, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose

    Whenever Gandhi was needed in a small bit in films, character artist Surendra Rajan came handy. He played Gandhi in biographies of Savarkar, Bhagat Singh and Bose.

    Interestingly all the films showed Gandhi in a negative light with his philosophies contradicting with those of other freedom fighters.

    Darshan Zariwala in Gandhi My Father

    The last Gandhi played onscreen so far, Darshan Zariwala played Bapu in Anil Kapoor produced Gandhi My Father. The film had the most unique take on Gandhiji as it focused on his personal life more than the political one and showed how despite being the ‘Father of nation’, Gandhiji couldn’t be a good father to his son Harilal Gandhi.

    The film met with mixed response wherein some liked Darshan’s portrayal while others did not.

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