Gandhi (film): Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Directed by Richard Attenborough
Produced by Richard Attenborough
Written by John Briley
Alyque Padamsee
Candice Bergen
Music by Ravi Shankar
George Fenton
Cinematography Billy Williams
Ronnie Taylor
Editing by John Bloom
Studio Goldcrest Films
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date(s) India:
30 November 1982
United Kingdom:
3 December 1982
United States:
8 December 1982
16 March 1983
Running time 188 minutes
Budget $22,000,000

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 film opens with a statement from the filmmakers explaining their approach to the problem of filming Gandhi's complex life story:

No man's life can be encompassed in one telling... least of all Gandhi's, whose passage through life was so entwined with his nation's struggle for freedom. There is no way to give each event its allotted weight, to recount the deeds and sacrifices of all the great men and women to whom he and India owe such immense debts. What can be done is to be faithful in spirit to the record of his journey, and to try to find one's way to the heart of the man...

The film begins with Gandhi's 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!" ("Hē 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. 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 rights for Indians, though not for the native blacks of South Africa.

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 India's 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 Gandhi's occasional imprisonment.

Nevertheless, the campaign generates great attention, and Britain faces intense public pressure. Too weak from World War II to continue enforcing its will in India, 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 finally gets close enough to assassinate 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 Gandhi's cremation; the film ending with a scene of Gandhi's ashes being scattered on the holy Ganga. As this happens, we hear Gandhi in another voiceover:

When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it--always.

As the list of actors is seen at the end, the hymn "Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram" is heard.


Shooting began on 26 November 1980 and ended on 10 May 1981. Approximately 400,000 extras were used in the funeral scene, the most for any film according to Guinness World Records.[1]


During pre-production, there was much speculation as to who would play the role of Gandhi. The choice was Ben Kingsley who is partly of Indian heritage (his father was Gujarati and his birth name is Krishna Bhanji). Casting director for the film was Dolly Thakore, an Indian theatre actress who later went on to be casting director in several British Indian films.


This film had been Richard Attenborough's 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 Gandhi's life. However, Pascal died in 1954 before preparations were completed.[citation needed] Later David Lean and Sam Spiegel planned to make a film about Gandhi after completing The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), reportedly with Alec Guinness as Gandhi. Ultimately, the project was abandoned in favour of Lawrence of Arabia (1962).[citation needed]

Critical response

Reviews were broadly positive. Many years later the movie received an 85% "fresh" rating on the Rotten Tomatoes website.[2] Ben Kingsley's performance was especially praised. Historian Lawrence James was one of the few who took a more negative view of the film.[3]


  1. ^ "Arts and media/Movies/Film extras". Guinness World Records. Archived from the original on 2005-11-26. Retrieved 2007-10-27. 
  2. ^ Rotten Tomatoes: Gandhi
  3. ^ James, Lawrence. Raj: The Making and Unmaking of British India. Little, Brown, and Company. pp. 465. ISBN 031219322x. 

External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Chariots of Fire
Academy Award for Best Picture
Succeeded by
Terms of Endearment
Preceded by
Chariots of Fire
Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film
Succeeded by
Fanny and Alexander
Preceded by
Chariots of Fire
BAFTA Award for Best Film
Succeeded by
Educating Rita


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Gandhi is a 1982 film about the lawyer who became the famed leader of the Indian revolts against the British through his philosophy of non-violent protest.

Directed by Richard Attenborough. Written by John Briley.
His Triumph Changed The World Forever. - taglines


Mohandas K. Gandhi

  • I was called to the bar in London. I am, therefore, an attorney. And since I am in your eyes coloured, I think we can deduce that there is at least one coloured attorney in South Africa.
  • Whenever I despair, I remember that the way of truth and love has always won. There may be tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they may seem invincible, but in the end, they always fail. Think of it: always.
  • An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.
  • They may torture my body, break my bones, even kill me, then they will have my dead body. NOT MY OBEDIENCE!
  • We think it is time that you recognized that you are masters in someone else's home. Despite the best intentions of the best of you, you must, in the nature of things, humiliate us to control us. General Dyer is but an extreme example of the principle... it is time you left.
  • I am a Muslim and a Hindu and a Christian and a Jew and so are all of you.
  • The function of a civil resistance is to provoke response and we will continue to provoke until they respond or change the law. They are not in control; we are.
  • If you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth.
  • Oh God.


  • Lord Irwin, Viceroy: Mr. Gandhi will find that it takes a great deal more than a pinch of salt to bring down the British Empire.
  • Edward R. Murrow: [at Gandhi's funeral] The object of this massive tribute died as he had always lived - a private man without wealth, without property, without official title or office. Mahatma Gandhi was not the commander of great armies nor a ruler of vast lands. He could not boast any scientific achievement or artistic gift. Yet men, governments and dignitaries from all over the world have joined hands today to pay homage to this little brown man in the loincloth who led his country to freedom. In the words of General George C. Marshall, the American Secretary of State, "Mahatma Gandhi had become the spokesman for the conscience of all mankind. He was a man who made humility and simple truth more powerful than empires." And Albert Einstein added, "Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth."


Patel: Bapuji, the whole country is moving.
Gandhi: Yes. but in what direction?

Nahari: I'm going to Hell! I killed a child! I smashed his head against a wall.
Gandhi: Why?
Nahari: Because they killed my son! The Muslims killed my son!
Gandhi: I know a way out of Hell. Find a child, a child whose mother and father was killed and raise him as your own. Only be sure that he is a Muslim and that you raise him as one.

Kinnoch: With respect, Mr. Gandhi, without British administration, this country would be reduced to chaos.
Gandhi: Mr. Kinnoch, I beg you to accept that there is no people on Earth who would not prefer their own bad government to the good government of an alien power.
Brigadier: My dear sir! India is British. We're hardly an alien power!

Vince Walker: I met him once.
Collins: You mean Gandhi?
Vince Walker: Yeah, in South Africa, a long time ago. I wonder if he'll recognize me.
Collins: What was he like?
Vince Walker: He had a full head of hair then. We were a bit like college students, trying to figure everything out.
Collins: Well, he must have found some of the answers!

Gandhi: You're a temptress.
Margaret Bourke-White: Just an admirer!
Gandhi: Nothing is more dangerous, especially for an old man.

Colonel: [moments before the Amritsar Massacre] Should we issue a warning, sir?
Gen. Dyer: They've had their warning. No meetings. [pause] Fire!

Vince Walker: You're an ambitious man, Mr. Gandhi.
Gandhi: I hope not.

Gandhi: [in South Africa] You mean you can appoint Mr. Baker as your attorney but you can't walk down the street with him?
Khan: Well, I can, but I risk being kicked into the gutter by someone less holy than Mr. Baker.


  • His Triumph Changed The World Forever.
  • The Man of the Century. The Motion Picture of a Lifetime.
  • A WORLD EVENT It took one remarkable man to defeat the British Empire and free a nation of 350 million people. His goal was freedom for India. His strategy was peace. His weapon was his humanity.


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