Mahatma Gandhi, the “Father of the nation” was a great son of the Indian soil. His struggles to attain freedom from the shackles of British rule and his dream to see an independent nation became a reality on 15th August, 1947. Unfortunately, Bapu could not live in the India of his dreams for too long as he breathed his last on 30th January, 1948. But the various parts of his life have been immortalized by veteran filmmakers. And he continues to live in our hearts. On his 144th birth anniversary, we take a look at some of the films made on his life and principles.
Mahatma: Life of Gandhi, 1869–1948 (1968)
The documentary on the life of Gandhi illustrates his incessant search for truth. The story is narrated using mostly Gandhi`s own words and is shot in black and white.
Nine Hours to Rama (1963)
The film depicts the nine hours of Nathuram Godse’s life, before assassinating the great soul, Mahatma Gandhi. The fictional narrative mostly depicts the troubled life of violence with Muslims and problems he faces with his family. JS Casshyap portrays the role of Gandhi and Horst Buchholz portrays the role of Nathuram Godse.
Starring Ben Kingsley as Mahatma Gandhi, the film is based on the memoirs of Gandhiji. The film represents different facets of Gandhi’s life including his struggles in non-violent protest campaign , Quit India movement, Non-Cooperation campaign, his occasional imprisonment, Jallianwala Bagh massacre, and Partition of India.
The film primarily revolves around the life of freedom fighter Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. It shows how Patel and Gandhiji together strive to gain independence. Earlier, Patel made mockery of Mahatma Gandhi’s policies to achieve independence but his perception changes after listening to a lecture delivered by Gandhi. Annu Kapoor essays the role of Mahatma Gandhi and Paresh Rawal is seen donning the role of Sardar Patel in this Ketan Mehta film.
The Making of the Mahatma (1996)
Directed by renowned filmmaker Shyam Benegal, the film explores 21 years of Mahatma Gandhi in South Africa. Actor Rajit Kapur flawlessly portrayed the role as a young Gandhi and also won awards and accolades for the role. The movie is based upon the book, The Apprenticeship of a Mahatma, by Fatima Meer.
Gandhi, My Father (2007)
Produced by Anil Kapoor, this 2007 flick focuses on the troubled relationship between Mahatma Gandhi (Darshan Jariwala) and his son Harilal Gandhi (Akshaye Khanna). The film illustrates the growing rift between father-son duo that is beyond repair. The ideological differences lead to clashes between the two. It shows the downfall of Harilal who is determined to find out his individuality.
Hey Ram (2000)
This film is mainly centered on India`s partition and the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi by the Hindu extremist Nathuram Godse. Gandhi is portrayed by Veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah. The writer, director and producer of the film, Kamal Haasan plays the role of Saket Ram, a Hindu fundamentalist who portrays the role of a would-be assassin of Gandhi but later on changes his mind and attempts to beg for forgiveness. Saket leads the rest of his life on Gandhian principles. Despite a box office failure, the film was nominated as India`s official entry to the Oscars in the Best Foreign Film category in 2000.
Lage Raho Munna Bhai (2006)
This sequel of Munna Bhai MBBS by the hit combo of Rajkumar Hirani and Vidhu Vinod Chopra popularised the new term - ‘Gandhigiri’ (principles of Gandhian philosophy) in India. The seasoned actor Dilip Prabhavalkar portrayed the image of Gandhiji with élan. Munna Bhai (Sanjay Dutt), an underworld don begins to see the spirit of Mahatma Gandhi and by interacting with his image, he begins to practice Gandhigiri to help ordinary people solve their problems. The film had such a powerful impact on Indian society that it led to various peaceful protests in the name of Gandhigiri in the country as well as abroad.
Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara (2005)
Veteran actor Anupam Kher essays the character of a retired Hindi professor, Uttam Chaudhary. The film portrays the story of Uttam who suffers from dementia and begins to believe that he was accused of assassinating Mahatma Gandhi. The victim’s brother reveals the truth to his daughter (Urmila Matondkar) that how in childhood, both brothers used to play darts by filling ballons with red dye and placing it on someone`s picture. Incidentally, one day, Uttam popped a ballon on Gandhi`s picture and he was hit by his father for doing that. Later, Uttam’s children seek the doctor’s help to make him believe that he didn’t kill Gandhi.
With a whooping Rs12 crore budget, ‘Mahatma’ was released in 2009 in Telugu with Srikanth donning the role of Mahatma in the film. Directed by Krishna Vamsi, the film depicts the transforming journey of a rowdy person to a man who follows the path of Gandhism.