Production Company: International Film Ivestors, National Film Development Corporation of India (NFDC), Goldcrest
Films International, Indo-British, Carolina Bank
Country: UK, India
Director: Richard Attenborough
Cast: Ben Kingsley – Mahatma Gandhi, John Mills – The Viceroy, Martin Sheen – Walker
If you’re a newsreader, like me, the world feels like a terrifying place right now. There are wars breaking out across nations and religions, old and new, and powerful men are exerting their oppression in ways which mimic the pages of a history textbook.
Analysing these personalities is fascinating, but it is very real. The threat is authentic.This is why I have chosen to review Richard Attenborough’s 1982 epic, Gandhi. Not only because it is an incredible film, but because Ghandi’s legacy is an important one to remember, and an even more important one to keep alive.
The film is a biographical three hour account of Mahatma Gandhi’s life. Born in Porbandar, India in 1869, Gandhi travelled to London to study law and went on to lead India to independence from the British Empire. He was honoured with the title ‘Mahatma’ after fighting discrimination and prejudice as an Indian man in South Africa, and encouraging people to rise above the power of the establishment and to be treated as equals.
I don’t want to tell you too much, and most of it you may already know. His name is symbolic of peace, but his beliefs and actions resonate with those who are uncomfortable with modern society today. He practiced equality for all, regardless of environment, religion or status. For those of us who are tired of being dictated to and are actually quite happy to be who we are or enjoy whatever it is we enjoy, his story may be more affirming than you expect.
Ben Kingsley famously plays the lead role, and is the embodiment of Gandhi, from outer shell to soul. He portrays his desperation, peace and wit with truth, along with a fabulous supporting cast. Attenborough directs with the tranquility of Gandhi’s eye, and though the film runs into three hours, you will never notice.
It may seem like a strange film to talk about here, but when I think of Independent Voices, few are louder than his. We are proudly independent, alternative and free spirits, but we are also a community. It is our choice to engage with media bullshit or follow our own path. The most important thing is we never lose sight of who we are and we support those who need us. Yes, Gandhi was religious, but we all have our own religions. For a lot of us, music is a religion and provides everything others might get from a holy text.
If you’ve got the time and an open mind, it’s a beautiful way to spend your day. It’s an example of a huge achievement in British filmmaking, and will lift your spirit with an incredible story of one man’s fight against hatred, segregation and violence.
“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi