Thursday, June 08, 2006


Amidst all the events of epic proportion that permanently changed the course of world history, there is a little boy that climbs up the tree and starts breathing fresh air of freedom after looking at hoards of people marching along with Mahatma 'Walker' Gandhi towards Dandi on the western coast of India. Similarly, among those BBC-Breaking-News events, Gandhi goes in circles along with his wife, re-enacting their marriage for a journalistic friend. Gandhi leaves for mudpacks, while Nehru, Jinnah and Patel discuss about the possibility of country's partition. Such are the intricate details, director Sir Richard Attenborough paints on this mammoth canvas of one of the last real epic movies ever made. In a pre-digital era, the movie employs about 300,000-400,000 extras in some scenes!

Along with a ton of those intricate moments, Attenborough has some of the greatest cinematic moments as well. Judge Broomfield (played by Trevor Howard) standing up when the 'extra-ordinary' prisoner whom he is going to try enters the court hall, those mesmerizing talks between Gandhi and NYTimes' journalist Vince Walker (played by Martin Sheen) as Gandhi tries to explain that all he found out after years of thinking and travelling is the 14th century song "Vaishnava Jan tho...", Nehru jumping into the crowd asking the traitor to kill him before touching Gandhi, talks between Lord Irwin (played by Sir John Gielgud) and his cabinet and later with Gandhi, Gandhi ascending the steps of the majestic Viceroy palace (which becomes Rashtrapathi Bhawan later) as the camera pans up and zooms out, all those conversations with Life's photographer Margaret White (played by Candice Bergen)...and the list of moments seem endless.

Couple these with Ravi Shankar's music while Gandhi discovers India and you start to get an idea of how much of an accomplishment is getting the movie made.

Yeah, I saw Gandhi yesterday for the nth-time and the movie has been extremely inspiring every time I see it.

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