There has been some very good character artists who have portrayed Gandhi in films. Here we talk about some of them...
Mahatma Gandhi is undoubtedly the most popular personality in the Indian history and his name comes at the first position when speaking about India’s freedom struggle. Gandhi has been an important part of Hindi films as well. On the eve of Gandhiji’s birthday, we list down some of the best Gandhiji portrayals on the Indian screen.
Lage Raho Munnabhai
One of the most popular and entertaining Gandhiji played in recent times was by Marathi actor Dilip Prabhavalkar in Lage Raho Munnabhai. This was the first film which showed Gandhi in a contemporary setting and was not a take on his freedom fight. The film very smartly used Gandhiji’s teachings and adapted it to modern day world thereby introducing the concept of Gandhigiri.
The Making of Mahatma
Shyam Benegal's favourite actor Rajit Kapoor played Gandhi in Benegal’s bilingual biography titled The Making of Mahatma in English and Gandhi Se Mahatma Tak in Hindi. The film had a different outlook on Gandhi as it showed the progression of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi from being a barrister in South Africa to becoming Mahatma.
Post 2000, filmmakers became more open on historical biographies and went on to show more than what was documented in the history curriculum textbooks. Jabber Patel’s biography on Babasaheb Ambedkar was one of the first films to show Gandhi in grey shades. It was a shocker for the audience to see Gandhi in a negative light. Mohan Gokhale played Gandhi’s character in the film and the director showed how Gandhi used his non-cooperation policy and fasting strategies to emotionally blackmail and get things done as per his demands.
After Babasaheb Ambedkar, Mohan Gokhale was again signed for playing Gandhi in Kamal Haasan’s Hey Ram. Unfortunately for his untimely demise, Kamal Hassan had to opt for another actor to play Gandhi. Naseeruddin Shah played Gandhi in the film and did a splendid job at it. He was amongst the first actors to get Gandhiji’s Gujarati accent and body language right.
Annu Kapoor became a famous figure on Indian television through the musical game show Antakshari. But before his television stint he was a part of several small and sensible Hindi films. He played the role of Gandhi in Ketan Mehta’s biopic on Vallabhai Patel titled Sardar. Paresh Rawal played the title role while Benjamin Gilani played Nehru.
Gandhi My Father
The last Gandhi played onscreen so far, Darshan Zariwala played Bapu in Anil Kapoor produced Gandhi My Father. The film had the most unique take on Gandhiji as it focused on his personal life more than the political one and showed how despite being the Father of the Nation, Gandhiji couldn’t be a good father to his son Harilal Gandhi. The film met with mixed response wherein some liked Darshan’s portrayal while others did not.
Savarkar, Bhagat Singh, Bose
Whenever Gandhi was needed in a small bit in films, character artist Surendra Rajan came handy. He played Gandhi in biographies of Savarkar, Bhagat Singh and Bose. Interestingly all the films showed Gandhi in a negative light with his philosophies contradicting with those of other freedom fighters.
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