Topics: Gandhi, Academy Award, Academy Award for Best Picture Pages: 11 (3862 words) Published: February 1, 2013
Gandhi is a 1982 epic biographical film which dramatizes the life of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, an Indian lawyer and activist who was a leader of the nation's non-violent, non-cooperative independence movement against the United Kingdom's rule of the country during the 20th century. Gandhi was a collaboration of British and Indian production companies[3] and was written by John Briley and produced and directed by Sir Richard Attenborough. It stars Ben Kingsley in the titular role. The film dramatizes Mahatma Gandhi's life from a defining moment in 1893 in South Africa in which he was physically thrown off a train for being "coloured" in a whites only first class compartment until his assassination on January 30, 1948. His massive funeral is also dramatized. Although a practicing Hindu, Gandhi's embracing of other faiths, particularly Christianity and Islam, is also depicted. Gandhi was released in India on November 30, 1982, in the United Kingdom on December 3, 1982, and in the United States on December 6, 1982. It was nominated for Academy Awards in eleven categories, winning eight, including best picture. Ben Kingsley also won for best actor. The screenplay of Gandhi is available as a published book.[4][5] The film opens with a statement from the filmmakers explaining their approach to the problem of filming Gandhi's complex life story: “No man's life can be encompassed in one telling. There is no way to give each year its allotted weight, to include each event, each person who helped to shape a lifetime. What can be done is to be faithful in spirit to the record and to try to find one's way to the heart of the man...[6]” The film begins with Gandhi's assassination on 30 January 1948,[5]:18-21 and his funeral.[5]:15-18 After an evening prayer, an elderly Gandhi is helped out for his evening walk to meet a large number of greeters and admirers. One of these visitors—Nathuram Godse—shoots him point blank in the chest. Gandhi exclaims, "Oh, God!" ("Hē Ram!" historically), and then falls dead. The film then cuts to a huge procession at his funeral, which is attended by dignitaries from around the world. The early life of Gandhi is not depicted in the film. Instead, the story flashes back 55 years to a life-changing event: in 1893, the 24-year-old Gandhi is thrown off a South African train for being an Indian sitting in a first-class compartment despite having a ticket.[7] Realizing the laws are biased against Indians, he then decides to start a non-violent protest campaign for the rights of all Indians in South Africa. After numerous arrests and unwelcome international attention, the government finally relents by recognizing some rights for Indians.[8] After this victory, Gandhi is invited back to India, where he is now considered something of a national hero. He is urged to take up the fight for India's independence (Swaraj, Quit India) from the British Empire. Gandhi agrees, and mounts a non-violent non-cooperation campaign of unprecedented scale, coordinating millions of Indians nationwide. There are some setbacks, such as violence against the protesters and Gandhi's occasional imprisonment. The Jallianwala Bagh massacre is also depicted in the film. Nevertheless, the campaign generates great attention, and Britain faces intense public pressure. After World War II[9] Britain finally grants Indian independence.[10] Indians celebrate this victory, but their troubles are far from over. Religious tensions between Hindus and Muslims erupt into nation-wide violence. Gandhi declares a hunger strike, saying he will not eat until the fighting stops.[11] The fighting does stop eventually, but the country is divided by religion. It is decided that the northwest area of India, and eastern part of India (current day Bangladesh), both places where Muslims are in the majority, will become a new country called Pakistan. It is hoped that by encouraging the Muslims to live in a separate country, violence will abate. Gandhi is opposed to...
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