October 2 is celebrated as Gandhi Jayanti as it marks the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation. The Gandhian tenets of non-violence, an unshakeable commitment to truth, non-violence and compassion have inspired generations and also leaders like Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King Jr. Gandhi has inspired playwrights and filmmakers to build narratives around the futility of hate and the primacy of humanism and love.
Today, on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, we have listed down five such enlightening stories on Bapu's birth anniversary.
This Zee Theatre teleplay follows the lives of six professionals who are all set to enact the roles of Gandhi, Bose, Tilak, Nehru, Rani Laxmibai and Babu Genu in an Independence Day ceremony. However, as the story progresses, we see the difference between their reality and the heroic historical figures they are aspiring to play. The narrative also establishes subtly the relevance of Gandhian values even today and reminds us how far we have travelled from the idealism of our freedom fighters to arrive at a crucial juncture in history. When Chirag Vohra who plays Gandhi says, 'Manav jaati ek nirnayak mod par aa pahunchi hai', it is a reminder to us to reconnect once again with non-violence, honesty, truth and courage. Directed for stage by Ganesh Yadav and filmed by Attar Singh Saini, the play also stars Anand Alkunte, Ayaz Khan, Mansi Multani, Nikhil Ratnaparakhi and Sumukha S. It has aired today on Airtel Theatre, Dish TV & D2H Rangmanch Active.
'The Making of the Mahatma'
Directed by Shyam Benegal, this 1996 biographical film is based on the book 'The Apprenticeship of a Mahatma' by Fatima Meer. It narrates how 21 momentous years in South Africa profoundly impacted Gandhi, shaped his political ideology, created in him a passion for justice and equality and made him into the Mahatma that the world came to respect. The film was an international co-production between India and South Africa. It begins in 1893 when a young Barrister Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi is invited to South Africa to settle a case for a wealthy Indian. He was to go back to Britain but soon got embroiled in the issues of the Indian diaspora and eventually stayed on for 21 years. The film starred Rajit Kapoor, Pallavi Joshi, Paul Slabolepszy and others and can be watched on Mubi.
The film pits the twin ideas of revenge and forgiveness through the story of Saket Ram, whose wife is raped and killed. Crazed by grief and anger, he sets out to kill Gandhi as he believes, he is responsible for the violence that has been unleashed in the country. However, as an 89-year-old Indian living in free India, he retells his story, he delineates how he left the path of rabid hate and embraced Gandhian philosophy. The story traverses through many important chapters of history and Saket's life including his friendship with a Muslim archaeologist and his discovery of what Gandhi truly stands for.
The film shows that any crisis between opposing views can be overcome through acceptance and non-violence. Directed by Kamal Haasan who also stars as Saket Ram, the film also features Shah Rukh Khan, Rani Mukerji, Vasundhara Das, Girish Karnad, Naseeruddin Shah and Om Puri. It can be watched on Amazon Prime and Jio Cinema.
'Lage Raho Munna Bhai'
Gandhi manifests in interesting ways in the life of Munna, an aimless street thug and as he tries to reform himself to win the love of a beautiful radio disc jockey (Vidya Balan), Gandhian values empower him to deal with every crisis with a smile and a little doze of 'Gandhigiri'. What began as a random exploration of Gandhi in history books becomes a way of life for Munna as he begins to help people, defuse situations and spread love and peace. The film created a sensation when it was released and stars Sanjay Dutt, Arshad Warsi, Dilip Prabhavalkar, Jimmy Shergill, Dia Mirza, Boman Irani and others. Directed by Rajkumar Hirani, the film is available on Amazon Prime.
This acclaimed biographical drama directed by Richard Attenborough portrays the definitive turning points in Gandhi's life from his days in South Africa to when he returns to India, travels across its length and breadth to understand its people and their issues, gives up all worldly possessions and dedicates himself to the freedom struggle. How the frail man in a loincloth shakes up the world in a gentle way, becomes an international icon and tries to bridge religious divides post-independence makes for an unforgettable watch. Ben Kingsley won an Academy Award for his portrayal of Gandhi while India's very own Bhanu Athaiya took home an Oscar too for costume design. The film also starred Candice Bergen, Edward Fox, John Gielgud, Trevor Howard, John Mills, Martin Sheen and Rohini Hattangadi. You can watch it on Jio Cinema and Netflix.