Monday, October 1, 2007

Happy Gandhi Jayanthi!

(This is not an essay on Gandhi)
This evening while channel-surfing we happened upon Richard Attenborough's Gandhi on AMC and started watching it. Aside from the fact that it is such a wonderful movie that encompasses all nuances of the Mahatma's personality, and India's freedom struggle right from Champaran to Jalianwala Bagh to the Quit India movement, we were impressed at how small funny moments crept into the movie. Snippets that make you chuckle and marvel at how Attenborough tried to make the movie more interesting. Here are a few for our dear readers:

1. Nehru and his 'anglicised' friends visit Gandhi after he comes back from the 'India trip', the men are outside feeding the goats (of course, on Gandhi's insistence), and talking about how tyrannical the British Government is. When Kasturba calls Gandhi inside for something, Gandhi runs in while telling the men "you see, even here there is no escape from tyranny".

2. At Champaran, where Gandhi is imprisoned and taken to a magistrate, the magistrate asks Gandhi to not leave his village ever and Gandhi says "this is my country and I can choose to go where i like". Not to be shaken by this, the magistrate then says "I grant you bail on a bond of 100 rupees", Gandhi very coolly replies "I refuse to pay the money", beat down, the magistrate says "I grant you bail for free"....priceless!

3. After Champaran, Gandhi is invited to Jinnah's house for a meeting with Jinnah, Nehru, Patel, Kripalani and Azad, and everyone agrees that the Indian struggle for freedom must move beyond passive resistance upon which Gandhi talks about peaceful resistance that will NOT be passive, will embarrass the British, and force them to listen to Indians. He then gets up, takes the tea tray from Jinnah's servant and starts to make tea for all, embarrassing them all in the process!

4. Gandhi is in prison and his good friend Charlie pays him a visit. Charlie says, "they are calling you bapu, doesn't it mean father?", Gandhi says, "yeah it is, we must be getting old".

5. Before one of his speeches at a gathering he is asked by the police about the subject of his speech and he says "the value of goat's milk in daily diet, but you can be sure I will talk about Indian independence too".

6. A People magazine photographer visits him to take a few of his pictures for the mag and to interview him. Gandhi says "with all the charismatic people in the world I cannot imagine what attraction I hold for your readers", the photographer says "you are the only man I know who makes his own clothes", Gandhi replies, "well that is not much of an accomplishment for me", referring to his meagre loin cloth!

I was really bowled over by the Mahatma's sense of humour and his courage.

On a related note: Today is Gandhi Jayanti in India and I'm sure atleast good old DD is showing Gandhi. While I realise this post does not do justice to the gem that the movie is, I hope it would at least entice my readers to watch the movie today, and enjoy!

No comments:

Post a Comment

I like to receive comments, positive, negative or otherwise.