Gandhi is a 1982 biographical film based on the life of Mahatma Gandhi, who led the nonviolent resistance movement against British colonial rule in India during the first half of the 20th century. The film was directed by Richard Attenborough and stars Ben Kingsley as Gandhi. They both won Academy Awards for their work on the film. The film was also given the Academy Award for Best Picture and won eight Academy Awards in total.
It was an international co-production between production companies in India and the UK. The film premiered in New Delhi on 30 November 1982.
The screenplay of Gandhi is available as a published book. The film opens with a statement from the filmmakers explaining their approach to the problem of filming Gandhis complex life story:
The film begins with Gandhis assassination on 30 January 1948, and his funeral. 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!" ["He 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, Gandhi is thrown off a South African train for being an Indian sitting in a first-class compartment despite having a ticket. 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.
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 Indias 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 Gandhis occasional imprisonment.
Nevertheless, the campaign generates great attention, and Britain faces intense public pressure. After World War II Britain finally grants Indian independence. 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.
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 [West and East Pakistan respectively]. It is hoped that by encouraging the Muslims to live in a separate country, violence will abate. Gandhi is opposed to the idea, and is even willing to allow Muhammad Ali Jinnah to become the first prime minister of India, but the Partition of India is carried out nevertheless.
Gandhi spends his last days trying to bring about peace between both nations. He thereby angers many dissidents on both sides, one of whom assassinates him in a scene at the end of the film that recalls the opening.
As Godse shoots Gandhi, the film fades to black and Gandhi is heard in a voiceover, saying "Oh God". The audience then sees Gandhis cremation; the film ending with a scene of Gandhis ashes being scattered on the holy Ganga. As this happens, we hear Gandhi in another voiceover:
As the list of actors is seen at the end, the hymn "Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram" is heard.
* BFI Top 100 British films
* Civil resistance
* List of historical drama films of Asia
* Nonviolent resistance
Shooting began on 26 November 1980 and ended on 10 May 1981. Over 300,000 extras were used in the funeral scene, the most for any film according to Guinness World Records.
Awards and nominations
*55th Academy Awards
**Best Original Screenplay
**Best Film Editing
**Best Actor in a Leading Role
**Best Art Direction
**Best Costume Design
*Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film
*David di Donatello for Best Foreign Film
Reviews were broadly positive. The film was discussed or reviewed in Newsweek, Time, the Washington Post, The Public Historian, Cross Currents, The Journal of Asian Studies, Film Quarterly, and elsewhere. Many years later the movie received an 88% "fresh" rating on the Rotten Tomatoes website. Ben Kingsleys performance was especially praised. Historian Lawrence James and anthropologist Akhil Gupta were two of the few who took a more negative view of the film.
In Time, Richard Schickel wrote that in portraying Gandhis "spiritual presence... Kingsley is nothing short of astonishing." A "singular virtue" of the film is that "its title figure is also a character in the usual dramatic sense of the term." Schickel viewed Attenboroughs directorial style as having "a conventional handsomeness that is more predictable then enlivening," but this "stylistic self-denial serves to keep ones attention fastened where it belongs: on a persuasive, if perhaps debatable vision of Gandhis spirit, and on the remarkable actor who has caught its light in all its seasons."
In Newsweek, Jack Kroll stated that "There are very few movies that absolutely must be seen. Sir Richard Attenboroughs Gandhi is one of them." The movie "deals with a subject of great importance... with a mixture of high intelligence and immediate emotional impact... [and] Ben Kingsley... gives what is possibly the most astonishing biographical performance in screen history." Kroll stated that the screenplays "least persuasive characters are Gandhis Western allies and acolytes" such as an English cleric and an American journalist, but that "Attenboroughs old-fashioned style is exactly right for the no-tricks, no-phony-psychologizing quality he wants." Furthermore, Attenborough
In addition to Gandhi, this cycle also included Heat and Dust , Octopussy , The Jewel in the Crown , The Far Pavilions  and A Passage to India .
Precursors and achievement
This film had been Richard Attenboroughs dream project, although two previous attempts at filming had failed. In 1952, Gabriel Pascal secured an agreement with the Prime Minister of India [Pandit Nehru] to produce a film of Gandhis life. However, Pascal died in 1954 before preparations were completed.
Later David Lean and Sam Spiegel planned to make a film about Gandhi after completing The Bridge on the River Kwai , reportedly with Alec Guinness as Gandhi. Ultimately, the project was abandoned in favour of Lawrence of Arabia . It was only when co-producer, Rani Dube persuaded Nehrus daughter, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, to provide the first $10 million from the India Government on the back of which the rest of the films funds were raised that the film became possible.
Source : Gandhi Wiki Page