Monday, April 24, 2006


Directed by Richard Attenborough and released in 1982, Gandhi is an exceptional biography of the famous nonviolent resistance leader Mohandas “Mahatma” Karamchand Gandhi. This film more than deserves its numerous Academy Awards. Though it clocks in at over three hours in length, the time spent watching this epic is definitely a worthwhile investment.

Ben Kingsley stars in the title role launched his career and won him an Oscar. His Gandhi is human and eminently believable, not faultless, but full of quiet power, strength, and wisdom. In one touching scene, for example, Gandhi and his wife re-enact their wedding ceremony: their arranged marriage took place when Gandhi was only thirteen years old.

Gandhi’s willingness to be jailed for a just cause (protesting racial profiling and discrimination) quickly earned him both respect and attention. His satyagraha (nonviolent resistance) campaigns resulted in the British government’s taking action to redress the grievances of the Indian community in South Africa.

Building upon this success, Gandhi and his family permanently relocated to India. Confronted with the miserable plight of the peasants, Gandhi took up the cause of helping them gain more rights. He also renounced Western clothing, choosing to wear traditional Indian garb (a simple loin-cloth) instead.

Gandhi defied British rule by protesting the empire’s monopoly upon the salt industry, leading a peaceful march to the sea and collecting the salt there. Attenborough’s illustration of this event is a beautiful piece of cinematography. Through continued satyagraha campaigns, Gandhi was instrumental in discouraging violence while leading the movement to make India an independent nation. If for no other reason than to learn more about one of the world's great leaders, watch Gandhi.

Academy Awards and Nominations:

  • Won: Best Actor in a Leading Role (Ben Kingsley), Best Art Direction-Set Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Director, Best Film Editing, Best Picture, Best Writing (Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen).
  • Nominations: Best Makeup, Best Music & Original Score (Ravi Shankar, George Fenton), and Best Sound.

Related websites and further info:


  • Ben Kingsley's (born Krishna Bhanji) paternal family was from the Indian state of Gujarat, the same state Mahatma Gandhi was from.
  • Dustin Hoffman was interested in playing Gandhi, but was offered Tootsie (1982).

  • Ravi Shankar, who wrote the music for Gandhi, was a friend and teacher to the Beatles’ George Harrison.

Gandhi quotes:

  • “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
  • “Non-cooperation is directed not against men but against measures. It is not directed against the Governors, but against the system they administer. The roots of non-cooperation lie not in hatred but in justice, if not in love.”
  • “Healthy discontent is the prelude to progress.”
  • “Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man.”

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