30 years ago: Gandhi: the movie

IssueDecember 2012 - January 2013
Comment by Albert Beale

ImageIn the concluding chapter of his autobiography, My Experiments With Truth, Gandhi wrote “The exercise has given me ineffable mental peace, because it has been my fond hope that it might bring faith in Truth and Ahimsa (total nonviolence) to waverers.”

I am certain that the film will convince some if not all of those waverers who doubt that a person without weapons can practise self-defence and fight against a powerful and ruthless opponent. Gandhi’s was not passive resistance, it was active and often “aggressive”... He was a fighter who demonstrated that soulforce, the power of truth and fearlessness are effective weapons even against the most powerful empires. The film brings out this aspect of Gandhi’s work very successfully...
What impressed me most was the ability with which Ben Kingsley [the actor portraying Gandhi] caught Gandhi’s sense of humour in a delightful way. It would be good for people to know that this man who brought himself down to the level of the poor of the country, who he represented, had a tremendous sense of humour, which he never failed to make use of even in very serious situations.

... the only criticism I want to make is that the film treats Gandhi more or less only as a fearless and kind person, not as a political revolutionary. He was, as it is said, an apostle of nonviolence who demonstrated the power of love. But Gandhi was also a great statesman... His qualities of truth and nonviolence gain significance to a great extent on account of his skills as a political genius...

At last there is a film on Gandhi that has a much wider and deeper appeal than simply entertainment.

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