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Monday, July 23, 2007
Gandhi has always been compelling complex and strange contemporary. Sir Richard Attenborough introduced "Mahatma" the great soul to the west and the world remains grateful to him. I grew up understanding Gandhi through others; till I discovered a deep in my heart. Somewhere in the shadows of this great man lived his son, roaming in the streets of India like a beggar. Converting to Islam as a rebellion, reconverting to Hinduism as a penance and finally drinking himself to death. Harilal Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi's eldest son carried his Gandhi identity as a curse around his neck. Mahatma Gandhi could transform the soul of a nation but could not save the soul of his own son.
The unfolding of a personal tragedy against the racial hatred in South Africa and colonial humiliation in India moved me deeply. Finally my search to know the human side of Gandhi took me to South Africa, to different parts of India, libraries, scholars and his immediate family members. I then decided to make a film about a principled father and an unfortunate son. To me, Gandhi beeame a greater human being as he struggled personally, socially and politically, but always put his principles and quest for human dignity above everything else.