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Mahatma rediscovered on celluloid

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By: Daliya Daspurkayastha
Monday, August 13, 2007
Gandhi as an individual may have been long gone, but his multidimensional character inspires the filmmakers to put his qualities into celluloids ample times. With every passing day, the personality of Mahatma is growing stronger and stronger. Other than Gandhi, there is hardly any freedom fighter whom our filmmakers cut picture repeated number of times and showcasing their various angles.

Gandhi has found a place in films that have attempted to depict virtually every aspect of his life from a lawyer in South Africa to his tumultuous relationship with his son Harilal to his assassination in 1948.

Generally, films which surround Mahatma's life, framed him as a role model, an ideal freedom fighter and a dedicated son of the soil who did not relax until the country has not seen the ray of freedom. Due to his love for the nation and people, he was given the title- The Father Of The Nation. But, Anil Kapoor's production Gandhi My Father has put a great question mark to the father title that Gandhiji carried throughout. If he cannot become an ideal father to his own son, then how can he be the father of the whole nation.

Four different personalities, Ben Kinsley, Naseeruddin Shah, Dilip Prabhavarkar and Darshan Jariwala played Gandhi's role at some point of time. On one hand, Ben Kinsley showed the energetic, enthusiastic and Ahinsavid Gandhi, whereas, on the other hand, Anil Kapoor's Gandhi My Father delves more into father son relationship. The film is deviated from all the earlier makings.

Playing the Father Of The Nation comes with a challenge to them. As four different figure Ben Kingsley, Naseeruddin Shah, Dilip Prabhavarkar and Darshan Jariwala stepped into the shoes of Gandhiji, each of them tried their level best to justify the role of Bapu. Four different persons played the same character and focused on the multi facet incident through which he had gone. This lead to compare their performance as who is the best reel Gandhi. Reputed film critics Taran Adarsh , Indu Mirani, Komal Nahta and Amod Mehra gave full credit to the foreigner Ben Kingsley who played the first Gandhi. To their opinion, being a foreigner he had caught the nerves of Gandhiji and deeply immersed into the character.

Though Gandhi My Father is a critically acclaimed film, it fails to deep seat in people's heart. To them, the film is more a documentary than a mainstream cinema. It also cannot stand up to the box office result, as excepted. Whatever, be the criticism or the outcome of the film Gandhi My Father has shown some different facets of Gandhi's personality which is unseen and unheard by many.

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