Gandhi My Father Movie Review: You must have heard a song accrediting our independence solely to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Ahimsa and his much touted ‘non-violent struggle’ – “दे दी हमें आज़ादी बिना खडग बिना ढाल साबरमती के संत तूने कर दिया कमाल”. Through such extensive and non-exhaustive hagiographic representation, Congress and its ecosystem – occupying every premier institution of mass communication like academic, media or art field such as Bollywood, carved out a sacrosanct and God-like figure out of a politician. With this, the aim was crystal clear and that was to get self-anointed unquestionable authority on power, narrative and act above the law of the land.
Every attempt of unbiased and critical analysis of ‘the chronicles of Gandhi’ were caged. There is hardly any dispassionate representation of Gandhi in books, songs or movies. All those content that tried to break this despotic narrative had to face gag orders, economic, mental and social backlash. Film ‘Gandhi My Father’ released in 2007 is the prime example of this unholy attempt to crush efforts to call out spade a spade and shred the well-crafted narrative of sacrosanct and God-complex around MK Gandhi.
A name that became more sacrosanct that God
The vile running commentary by Islamo-leftist coterie against Hindu deities, including Mahadev, during the course of ‘Shringar Gauri -Gyanvapi’ legal dispute was defended in the smoke screen of ‘Freedom of Speech’. Any grievances raised by the outraged Hindu community through established legal channels were branded as increasing intolerance against plurality of ideas and ‘Freedom of Speech’ among others.
But ironically, those who defended blasphemous remarks were the same cabal that got infuriated at the mere real representation of a politician, MK Gandhi in Feroz Abbas Khan directed film ‘Gandhi My Father’. Gandhi My Father film had to get through a lot to get a theatrical release including violent threats to ban the film.
It was the time when Bollywood was not averse to experiment or shy away from the pursuit of truth and Gandhi My Father film was a living proof of the same.
Earlier, Feroz Abbas Khan had directed a play based on the book “Gandhi vs Gandhi”. The screenplay of the movie, ‘Gandhi, My Father’ was based on his play.
Gandhi My Father film chronicles the conflict between MK Gandhi, played by Darshan Jariwala, and his eldest son Harilal Gandhi, played by Akshaye Khanna. While Shefali Shah was seen in the role of Kasturba Gandhi.
Further, the viewers get to know Harilal’s perspective. Just like his father, Harilal wants to become a barrister. Rather than getting support from his father, he gets a cold shoulder from MK Gandhi. Later, frustrated Harilal moves towards the path of destruction and alcoholism, gambling and even underwent religious conversion to adopt Islam.
After watching the Gandhi My Father film, viewers are forced to wonder why Akshaye Khanna was not given due recognition and respect for his stellar performance in this film?
Gandhi My Father film has unapologetically shown how MK Gandhi abandoned his own duties to become a Mahatma. Two dialogues of the movie have beautifully summed this up.
First – “Just for once, listen to your son’s voice not as Gandhi but as a father!”
Second – “Bapu, I am tired of carrying the burden of your ideal, I want to breathe…”
Films that have tried to do Justice in depicting MK Gandhi
Majority of the movies centred around Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi did everything possible to showcase him as God-like or saintly as a Mahatma.
But there are only three films which have tried to show Mohandas Gandhi as he was without any political correctness.
First movie is based on “Babasaheb Ambedkar”. In the film, Mammootty played the lead role and Mohan Gokhale is seen in the role of Gandhi. However, the film focuses on Dr Ambedkar.
The second film was Rajkumar Santoshi’s The Legend of Bhagat Singh. It is still considered one of the most influential films ever made on the Indian freedom struggle.
In it, Surendra Rajan played the role of Gandhi. The film has put spotlight on revolutionaries and how Gandhi’s decision could have yielded different outcomes on the backdrop of signing the Gandhi-Irwin Pact.
However, ‘Gandhi My Father’ stands out from the rest. It not only portrays Harilal Gandhi in an unapologetic manner but also it has thrown light on how Gandhi wrecked his own family in pursuit of his ideological desires. Additionally, the film categorically highlights the fact that MK Gandhi was no less dynastic in nature as Harilal had to face utter humiliation for not following Gandhi’s footsteps.
But as they say, truth is always bitter. The film had to face strong opposition by none other than the ardent followers of MK Gandhi. These Gandhians claimed that this real depiction of Gandhi was an insult of “Bapu” which can’t be ‘tolerable’ to Gandhians.
Amid the demand to ban Gandhi My Father film, the release of the movie was an astounding success for the team. It shattered the myth of unflinching and unquestionable authority of political Gandhis that carried out anything in the name of Gandhian philosophy and overshadowed freedom fighters.
It challenged Gandhians who did everything to further their interest with the Gandhian surname. These hypocritical followers of MK Gandhi, a practising Hindu, forget that truth can’t be buried. Now, hagiographic representation for political gains can’t be sustained any longer and people can critically analyse everyone rather than putting them on the highest pedestal, equivalent to saint or GOD.
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