×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Gandhi

With:
Mahatma Gandhi - Ben Kingsley Margaret Bourke-White - Candice Bergen General Dyer - Edward Fox Lord Irwin - John Gielgud Judge Broomfield - Trevor Howard The Viceroy - John Mills Walker - Martin Sheen Kasturba Gandhi - Rohini Hattangedy Charlie Andrews - Ian Charleson General Smuts - Athol Fugard Herman Kallenbach - Gunter Maria Halmer Sardar Patel - Saeed Jaffrey Mirabehn - Geraldine James Mohamed Ali Jinnah - Alyque Padamsee Khan - Amrish Puri Pandit Nehru - Roshan Seth Senior Porce Officer - Ian Bannen Principal Secretary - Michael Bryant Advocate General - John Clements Collins - Richard Griffiths Kinnoch - Nigel Hawthorne G.O.C - Bernard Hepton Sir George Hodge - Michael Hordern Lord Mountbatten - Peter Harlowe Lady Mountbatten - Jane Myerson

Official Site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0083987/?ref_=nv_sr_1

Once in a long while a motion picture so eloquently expressive and technically exquisite comes along that one is tempted to hail it as being near perfect. Such a film is “Gandhi.” Unfortunately, this does not mean that Columbia has an automatic box office bonanza. There is a vast identification gap to be bridged, but once that is accomplished there should be a large and appreciative audience, from late teenagers on through the geriatric set. “Gandhi” is as topical as the headlines out of the Near East. It is a triumph for Richard Attenborough and catapults him to the top rank of directors. For this is a picture that always will be referred to as the high point in his career.

The canvas upon which the turmoil of India, through its harshly won independence in 1947 from British rule, is, as depicted by Attenborough, bold, sweeping, brutal, tender, loving and inspiring. He has juggled the varied emotional thrusts with generally expert balance.

His handling of mob sequences, which exude raw, savage power, shows that the director and his assistants were in complete control every inch of the way. There is nothing stagy about them; they throb with vitality and immediacy, and are so extremely effective only because they were conducted by a sure and steady hand.

The brutal massacre of more than 1500 Indian men, women and children by native soldiers under the command of British Brigidier General R. E. Dyer in a compound called Jallianwalla Bagh, from which there’s no escape, numbs the senses and overwhelms a viewer with disgust and anger. This largely forgotten dark moment in modern history is even more horrendous than the recent slaughter in Lebanon which gave Israel a black-eye.

It might be argued that as a biography of a man who shaped a nation, the film is not as penetrating as one might wish, but Attenborough takes care of this nicely in a foreword which says, “There is no way to give each year its allotted weight, to include each event, each person who helped to shape a lifetime.” .Attenborough and scenarist John Briley agreed to attempt to capture the “spirit” of the man and his times, and in this they have succeeded admirably.

It also might be argued that the picture is somewhat long and a bit slow at times (188 minutes, plus intermission) but Attenborough is nothing if not thorough, resorting to expository conversation interludes to fill in gaps which could not be explained adequately by the camera. In short, this is a film in the grand style, with all the punctuation marks meticulously placed.

Ben Kingsley, the British (half Indian) actor, who portrays the Mahatma from young manhood as a lawyer in South Africa, is a physically striking Gandhi and has captured nuances in speech and movement which make it seem as though he has stepped through black and white newsreels into the present Technicolor reincarnation. (The first four Techni 70m prints were made in England, and the remainder will be via the Deluxe lab.)

From the time he first experiences apartheid in being unceremoniously booted off of a train in South Africa after obtaining his law degree in London, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi becomes a man with a mission – a peaceful mission to obtain dignity for every man, no matter his color, creed, nationality.

In Briley’s *screenplay, the only untoward incident between Gandhi and wife Kauturba come. When, as part of the austere and severe cloak of humility that was to become the inner force of his life, he asks her to swab the communal latrine. She is repelled and rebels mildly. There are some accounts which suggest that the family relationships were not quite as idyllic as portrayed in this picture. Indeed, a drop of vinegar here and there would have made it that much more natural.

For those who came along too late to catch the newsreel accounts of Gandhi’s many demonstrations of passive resistance through fasts and other means in more than 50 years of struggle, including some violent political factionalism within India, to gain national independence, this film should be a fascinating history lesson.

The thin voice of the ageing Gandhi, whose life was ended at age 78 by an assassin’s bullet in 1948, should ring out loud and clear from the screen to remind the world that for all our technological progress the mind and heart of mankind remains in the dark ages, surging with envy, greed and bigotry.

* While the focus of the drama is naturally on the person of Kingsley, who gives a masterfully balanced and magnetic portrayal of Gandhi, the unusually large cast, some with only *walkthrough roles, responds nobly to Attenborough’s sensitive and introspective direction.

Calling for individual mention are Edward Fox as General Dyer; Candice Bergen as Margaret Bourke-White; Geraldine James as devoted disciple Mirabehn; John Gielgud as Lord Irwin; Trevor Howard as Judge Broomfield; John Mills as the Viceroy; Rohini Hattan as Mrs. Gandhi; Roshan Seth as Nehru and Athol Fugard as General Smuts.

There are literally “thousands” in the mob scenes and the logistics of production must have been awesome. The camerawork of Billy Willlams and Ronnie Taylor is fabulous1 and ditto the work of their operators. The score, springing from the talents of Ravi Shankar and George Fenton is a major plus in evocation of the film’s many emotional variations. There can be no doubt that “Gandhi” is a picture which took many talents to make, yet it is as much the embodiment of a single individual’s conception as any film could be.

Par.

Gandhi

UK - US - India

Production: Columbia Pictures presentation in association with International Film Investors, Goldcrest Films International, National Film Development Corp. Ltd. of India, and Indo-British Films Ltd. Produced, directed by Richard Attenborough; Screenplay, John Briley, Exec producer, Michael Stanley-Evans; co-producer, Ran Dube.

Crew: Camera (color) Billy Williams and Ronnie Taylor; music, Ravi Shankar; orchestral score and additional music, George Fenton; in charge of production, Terence A. Clegg; assistant director, David Tomblin; editor, John Bloom; production designer, Stuart Craig; second-unit director/cameraman, Govind Nihalani; sound, Simon Kaye, costume design, John Hollo, Bhanu Athaiya; supervising art director, Bob Laing; art directors, Ram Yedekar, Norman Dorme; set decorator Michael Seirton; sound editor, Jonathan Bates; special effects, David Hathaway; associate producer, Suresh Jindal. Reviewed at Gomillion Sound Studios, Sept.23, 1982. MPAA Rating PG. Running time: 188 MIN. Original review text from 1982.

With: Mahatma Gandhi - Ben Kingsley Margaret Bourke-White - Candice Bergen General Dyer - Edward Fox Lord Irwin - John Gielgud Judge Broomfield - Trevor Howard The Viceroy - John Mills Walker - Martin Sheen Kasturba Gandhi - Rohini Hattangedy Charlie Andrews - Ian Charleson General Smuts - Athol Fugard Herman Kallenbach - Gunter Maria Halmer Sardar Patel - Saeed Jaffrey Mirabehn - Geraldine James Mohamed Ali Jinnah - Alyque Padamsee Khan - Amrish Puri Pandit Nehru - Roshan Seth Senior Porce Officer - Ian Bannen Principal Secretary - Michael Bryant Advocate General - John Clements Collins - Richard Griffiths Kinnoch - Nigel Hawthorne G.O.C - Bernard Hepton Sir George Hodge - Michael Hordern Lord Mountbatten - Peter Harlowe Lady Mountbatten - Jane Myerson

More Film

  • Kevin Tsujihara

    Kevin Tsujihara's Ouster Kicks Off a Week of Major Disruption in the Media Business

    The sudden ouster of Warner Bros. Entertainment chief Kevin Tsujihara kicked off what is likely to go down as one of the most extraordinary weeks in Hollywood history, spelling enormous turmoil and transition across the media landscape. In addition to the news about Tsujihara, which comes amid a wider shake-up of leadership at AT&T’s WarnerMedia, [...]

  • Buddha in Africa

    More than Half of Films at Hot Docs Film Festival Are Directed By Women

    More than half of the films playing at Hot Docs, North America’s largest documentary festival, are directed by women, the Canadian event said Tuesday. The festival’s 26th edition, which runs April 25-May 5, will screen 234 films, with 54% of the directors being women. In the competitive International Spectrum program, notable films receiving their world [...]

  • Korean Distributors Fight for Box Office

    Korean Distributors Fight for Box Office Market Share

    Korean distributors are having to fight ever harder for their share of Korea’s theatrical market share. Threats on the horizon include a slide in the performance of local movies, consolidation, the arrival of new players and the challenge from streaming services. South Korea’s theatrical box office is now bigger than that of France or Germany despite [...]

  • Korean Distributors Learn to Downsize in

    Korean Distributors Learn to Downsize in Saturated Market

    In 2018, the Korean film business stumbled, as local films made with blockbuster budgets and targeting the usual high seasons of Chuseok and Christmas last year failed to deliver blockbuster earnings.  So Korean distributors have embraced some tactics to enhance their bottom lines.  Genre films “Monstrum,” “Fengshui,” “The Negotiation,” “Take Point,” “Swing Kids” and “Drug King” [...]

  • 'Boonie Bears' Creator Fantawild Producing 'Realm

    FilMart: 'Boonie Bears' Creator Fantawild Skews Older With 'Realm of Terracotta'

    Fantawild, the Chinese entertainment group behind the widely popular “Boonie Bears” animated franchise, is for the first time planning to target slightly older viewers with a new IP, “Realm of Terracotta.” Intended for teenagers, the adventure story is expected to hit theaters this summer. Fantawild has produced six “Boonie Bears” films in just seven years, [...]

  • Hong Kong Industry Executives Seek Clarity

    FilMart: Hong Kong Industry Executives Plead for Clarity on Mainland Chinese Tax Policies

    At a time of heightened scrutiny of tax affairs in China’s entertainment sector, even industry veterans in Hong Kong are struggling to figure out how to operate in the new financial environment and pleading for more clarity from the Chinese government. Hong Kong produces about 60 films a year, three-quarters of which are typically co-productions [...]

  • IQIYI Plans Summer Release for Animated

    IQIYI Plans Summer Release for Animated 'Spycies'

    IQIYI Motion Pictures, the film production and investment arm of Chinese streaming leader iQIYI, will release animated feature “Spycies” in China this summer, and overseas shortly afterwards. “Spycies” is a Sino-French co-production – a rarity as far as animated films are concerned – and the first animated film that iQIYI has co-produced with foreign filmmakers. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content