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Revealing the unknown on Mahatma

By: Devansh Patel, IndiaFM
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Imagine a conversation with our very own Bapu, Mahatma Gandhi in today's time. Well, that will always be my impossible dream. But yesterday, we had the privilege to talk to the fifth generation of Gandhis regarding a film which is very close to their hearts and which they will always cherish throughout their lives - Gandhi My Father. Yes, in this first ever exclusive interview, the great great grandson and granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi speak about their relationship with their father Tusshar Gandhi, whether people still follow the Gandhian principles and why should everyone go and watch Gandhi My Father.

Excerpts from Vivan Gandhi's interview
How does it feel to be the great great grandson of Mahatma Gandhi?
Vivan Gandhi - It feels great. Infact, I feel proud that I am the great great grandson of the person who gave us our much deserved Independence whom we fondly call Bapu.

What went through your mind when you first heard about the film Gandhi My Father?
VG - When I first heard about Gandhi My Father coming out I immediately recalled that there was no such film ever to come out of any kind of cinema showing the relationship between the great man and his eldest son Harilal. That fact took me by surprise. I felt nice but was also curious as to what the film might show or portray. I was looking forward to see it as soon as possible.

The film deals with the disagreements and conflicts between Bapu and his eldest son Harilal. If Bapu was here today, what would you be arguing against him and why?
VG - Let me make it very clear that if Bapu was here in today's time, I wouldn't want Bapu to change nor would I want him to change me because he was a different person all together and his thoughts would have been completely in contrast to mine. He is miles ahead in his approach towards life and instead of arguing, I would be listening to his teachings.

Today, in the world of corruption and people applying shortcuts for success, do you think Bapu seeing all this would be ashamed of his teachings?
VG - Yes, he would have felt upset seeing the drastic change in the system and the way it has affected everyone. But during his time, India was newly independent and there was not a lot of corruption compared to what's happening today. But I am so sure that if he was here today with us, he would have still tried his best to change India for good. That does not mean that we cannot change it. We are trying to improve the corrupt system which is tough but not impossible.

Does that mean you are going to be one of the very few who will be pursuing his career into politics to change the system?
VG - I haven't thought about what my future career is going to be like because I have just entered college. May be in the time to come I might join politics but not certain. I would not completely ignore the fact that India today requires honest politicians and patriotic people to make India a better place to live in. At this present moment, I have my own life to look after and there are many people to look after the situation. But as said earlier, I would not ignore my own country.

If you've seen the film, could you recall your best moments from Gandhi My Father?
VG - I have seen the film and I can recall the three most touching moments from it. One when Harilal changes into Islam religion and when Kasturba comes to meet him while he is having lunch. Another was when Harilal sends a letter to Bapu about how he being the father of the nation could not be a father to his own son. Finally, during Bapu's funeral scene when Harilal, inspite of trying to get close to his father in the stampede was pushed aside. These were few of the many emotional scenes I thought will make people cry in the film.

Do you believe that Hindi cinema is changing for good by making such films like Gandhi My Father?
VG - This is a very different film which has come out of Indian cinema from the many comedy, romantic and family dramas recently released. Gandhi My Father is a good change from the same old action, thrillers and comedies. I think such films should come out every year which reminds us of our simplicity and takes us back to our roots and most importantly, make us feel patriotic. Not to forget, in this film people will be seeing a completely different Bapu which will be quite interesting for the viewers.

What relationship do you share with your father, the great grandson of Bapu - Tushaar Gandhi?
VG - There are some points which we defer on. My father has his own way of thinking and point of view about life and vice versa but we don't really argue over it. For example the way of dressing in today's time is something which my father doesn't like, so we do exchange a few words across the table, nothing more than that.

Do you often wear Khadi?
VG - Yes, I do sometimes occasionally at functions I attend and during National holidays like the Independence Day and Republic Day.

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