Panaji: Director Rajkumar Hirani credits Richard Attenborough's Oscar-winning film 'Gandhi' for inspiring him to make his 2006 Bollywood drama 'Lage Raho Munnabhai'.
Hirani said the 1982 film shook him as a filmmaker.
"Gandhi bashing was a fashion and till I watched Attenborough's 'Gandhi'. He was just a chapter in my history lesson and a face on our currency until then. Attenborough's Gandhi shook me as a filmmaker.
"I got glued to his life through books written by various authors to know more about him. I always thought that someday I will make a film on him and Attenborough was responsible for 'Lage Raho Munnabhai'," Hirani said on the sidelines of International Film Festival of India here.
Hirani, producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra, scriptwriter Abhijat Joshi paid tribute to the late 90-year-old British filmmaker, who died in August this year. The festival is remembering Attenborough by screening some of his great works.
Chopra, who had worked with Hirani on 'Munnabhai MBBS', said producing the film on Gandhian was a big challenge.
"We feared a ban on the movie, considering the sensitivities of people towards Mahatma Gandhi. Our main concern was that it shouldn't get banned. It was difficult and scary, we didn't know whether we will be banned or we will get applauded," the producer said.
True to their fear, the protests against the movie were staged in places like Indore but the support for the film was great.
"If there were five hundred people opposing the film, five thousand people were supporting it. Tushar Gandhi (great grandson of Mahatma) got up and said it was one of the best tributes to Gandhi," said Hirani.
Hirani recalled how he came to know about the real facets of Gandhi, through a book which, he said, was much better than his own autobiography.
Joshi, who penned the script, said he had a better understanding of Gandhiji because he read his books in Gujarati.
"Being a Gujarati, I read all the books of Gandhiji including his autobiography in Gujarati which were very simple in its approach. I believe none of the English books on him had the same approach," he said.
Hirani said that he also included some of Gandhiji's day-to-day experiences in scenes to elaborate his principles of 'decency towards other human beings' and 'embarrass one with gentleness rather than violence.'
"I incorporated the famous restaurant scene, where a girl rejects a boy on the gesture of calling a waiter from his old friend who used to do the same thing during their outing in eateries.
Similarly, the scene of a person cleaning the spit of his neighbour came from his mother-in-law's experience of their neighbours throwing egg shells in their kitchen garden," the filmmaker said.
Hirani, who is gearing up for his upcoming Aamir Khan-starrer 'PK', said the film will also have Gandhian touch to it.