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Family ties bind film on Gandhi relations

Father-son story meets with real-life friction

Tensions around the making of the movie on the strained relationship between Mahatma Gandhi and his eldest child, Harilal, are beginning to match the stormy exchanges between famous father and wayward son.

Producer Anil Kapoor has set sail for South Africa with director Feroz Khan to make the film “Gandhi vs. Gandhi” in the land where the Mahatma spent some of his formative years as a young lawyer.

Khan staged a legit production on the same subject, based on the book “Prakashno Padcchayo” by Dinkar Joshi. But Bollywood film director Joy Augustine claims he controls film rights to the book — including the book’s name.

“I have registered three titles — ‘Mahatma vs. Gandhi,’ ‘Gandhi vs. Gandhi’ and ‘Gandhi virudh Gandhi,’ ” he told reporters in Mumbai. “No one can even make a play with those titles.”

He says Kapoor, who claims he is using other sources and not Joshi’s book as a source for his movie, has been issued a legal notice regarding the title.

“If they want to drag it court, I’m ready to fight the legal battle,” Augustine says.

The movie deals with the human side of Gandhi, highlighting his autocratic behavior toward his family — particularly eldest son Harilal, who took to boozing and womanizing and even converted to Islam for a brief period.

Six months after Gandhi’s assassination, Harilal died in a public hospital of venereal disease, burdened also with the knowledge that he and his father had never reconciled.

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