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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 17.65%
Average: 5.88%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 8.82%

2 reviews, 56 user ratings

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by Slyder

"Portrait of of an important cultural icon and his major achievement"
5 stars

After 20 years of raising the necessary budget, Sir Richard Attenborough’s lifelong dream to make a movie about one of the most important leaders of the 20th century finally came to fruition, and paid off immensely (it beat ET The Extraterrestrial for Best Picture, damn it!). 24 years later, Attenborough’s masterpiece still remains one of the most profound and remarkable films ever made and one of the last epics to be made in a long while.

Attenborough wisely starts the film with the historical note of the assassination of Gandhi by Hindu dissenter (and manipulated pawn) Nathuran Godse (Harsh Nayyar) and subsequent funeral, a historical fact which develops the question of “who is the man and why was he so important?” and preludes the film (David Lean also used it effectively way back in Lawrence of Arabia, maybe this was Attenborough’s inspiration). We jump back to 1893 in South Africa, where young Mohamas K. Gandhi (Ben Kingsley) attorney-at-law is given a baptism of fire into the racist world of Apartheid. Gandhi questions the imminent racism there since all of the citizens there supposedly are British citizens, whether they’re white or color and soon starts campaigning against it with the aid of his Muslim sponsor Kahn (Amrish Puri), Reverend Charlie Andrews (Ian Charleson), and journalist Vince Walker (Martin Sheen). The South African scene sets the tone for the film and introduces us Gandhi’s strategy of non-violence fighting with only with peace and non-cooperation and in turn making the oppressors look like barbaric assholes, and on a side note laid the groundwork for the dissolution of the Apartheid and the decolonizing of South Africa100 years later(yep, a long struggle).

We move towards Gandhi’s arrival in India, his work in South Africa has made him a huge celebrity and soon several political statesmen like Hindus Pandit Nehru (Roshan Seth), Saardar Patel (Saaed Jafrey) and Professor Gokhale (Shreeram Lagoo) who dreams of an independent India, as well as Muslims Mohamed Ali Jinnah (Alyque Padamsee) and later Maulana Alzad (Virendra Razdan) try to at first use him but ultimately learn and follow him in what would be at first Gandhi’s rediscovery and ultimately, the Independence of India. This is where the film truly takes off in epic sense, as Gandhi goes and travels in his quest of finding the real India. Not only the cinematography by Billy Williams and Ronnie Taylor and the highly realistic production values make it impressive, but it’s the absolutely incredible performance by Ben Kingsley which makes all the more interesting. Kingsley pretty much becomes Gandhi (even physically) carries the film on his shoulders for the entire 188 minutes of this film. The participation of several thousands of extras (many of them volunteers) rather than creating them via CGI FX only adds more credibility to the film. And it’s around this moment that a number of controversies occur as the Independence of India unravels unfortunately different as Gandhi would’ve hoped due to the greed of both Muslims and Hindus, which instead of a unified India turned it into both India and Pakistan (We would also meet briefly a Muslim called Prakash [Prabhakar Patankar], the guy who would later mastermind Gandhi’s assassination through his pawn, Godse).

The first bitch is the supposed inherent bias against the Muslims via the portrayal of Muslim leader Mohammed Ali Jinnah who wanted nothing more than Pakistan and the Hindus be damned. While I’m not that well informed about that part of history, what I’ve read is that Jinnah WAS actually a cold, calculated person and didn’t have the slightest respect for Nehru and all, and was more obsessed about Pakistan than anything else. Other than that I can’t see any anti-Muslim bias since Attenborough shows Gandhi embracing both Muslims and Hindus; he was powerless against the politicians but with the people, he was untouchable, and damn near unified both India and Pakistan. The second bitch is the stereotyped depictions of British soldiers as a bunch of sadistic fuckers and caricatures. This is partly true since in several times the British are seen as caricatures, but then again the film is trying to make a point, on how the people in India as well in South Africa were simply denied the right to live as citizens due to racism and ignorance. British history as well as any other country’s history has a long tail that can be stepped on; these were the people that promoted the Apartheid in South Africa and even killed several thousands of people in Africa over a bunch of diamond mines and conquered China over opium, and as it was depicted on the film, killed over 1200 innocent people at Amritsar in India. They colonized people over simple commodities and the hell with the rest, no matter if they were human beings, so where’s the argument about English people being stereotyped? If that was how democracy was played out I’d take communism any time. The third and final bitch is that Gandhi is portrayed in an almost saintly matter rather than just simply a human being, with the focus being the scene in which Gandhi fights with his wife Kasturba (Rohini Hattangadi) over her refusal to clean the toilets, and is all quickly forgiven, and the non-depiction of Gandhi’s “anti-Semitic remark” about the Jews accepting their fate of being killed by Nazis, his obsession with enemas and Christ knows what other shit. I just would like to know, what historical importance do these flaws have? If you ask me they have no historical relevance whatsoever, even to a certain point the anti-Semitic remark since the film’s focus is on the relevant things that Gandhi did for his country.

There are other, more pointless criticisms like the repeating of Gandhi’s marriage, which is absurd since that sequence just shows us the historical traditions of Hindu marriage not to mention how Gandhi and his wife, though they didn’t love each other at first since it was an arranged marriage managed to grow their love. That makes Gandhi even more human. In the end, Attenborough manages to come through with this film, with solid direction and production values, and carried by Ben Kingsley’s awesome performance. It’s thanks to these two that the film manages to soldier on till its final frame.

Gandhi came out as the Best Picture of 1982, and it deserves it since the film is obviously of far more historical importance besides the fact that it’s a very well constructed, photographed and supremely acted piece. Attenborough has made several other movies, but so far has never topped this one. A true cinematic masterwork. 5-5

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originally posted: 10/17/04 09:10:55
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User Comments

9/06/17 Ken Ben Kingsley is amazing in this film! 5 stars
7/21/15 J.R. A film not to be forgotten; I wish Ben Kingsley starred in more lead roles after this film. 5 stars
5/15/11 Marisa It was a good movie, but very long and confusig at times. It was a good adaptation of his l 4 stars
6/01/09 Krishna It is a great movie.It is a great tribute to the Great man! I am proud of being an Indian! 5 stars
1/31/09 hardfact we need more films like this 5 stars
12/05/08 Shaun Wallner Wonderful Story! 5 stars
3/11/08 action movie fan a total bore 1 stars
1/27/08 Pamela White Gandhi shows there is a way and non-violence pisses people off. 5 stars
8/05/07 sanjay gandhi was an asshole...... nathuram was the real hero who killed that basterd 1 stars
6/24/06 paras sexy 5 stars
1/05/06 John Dog Strong Best Picture Winner of 1982. 5 stars
10/12/05 mJ_rAmOs16 its kinda boring yet interesting..... 3 stars
9/09/05 anoop a toching film showing the hardships mahatma had faced during independence and after that. 5 stars
12/23/04 goatfarmer one of the best films of all time 5 stars
11/26/04 choppermc Brings to light what one can do when not in fear of anything. 5 stars
11/18/04 roxana hope the most wonderful film woth reviewing all life 5 stars
11/03/04 Sumanth amazing movie 5 stars
10/07/04 B-anne Nice movie 5 stars
5/19/04 Pinkline Jones Kingsely in his underpants not a good look 1 stars
5/13/04 Vacha well made and interesting, yet a bit slow paced... 4 stars
4/17/04 alien assassin a film we should all see. 5 stars
3/24/04 julie this movie is too long 3 stars
12/14/03 movieman Awesome movie. 5 stars
12/09/03 Gray a movie that we should see in school 5 stars
10/26/03 thejames you will either enjoy this mover or you are retarted. 5 stars
9/11/03 filmfatale Long and boring but fascinating at the same time. 4 stars
8/26/03 I Would I didn't like the anti-English bias, but apart from that, this is brilliant film making. 5 stars
8/12/03 Donald Hasselhoff Not enough violence 3 stars
4/21/03 defranco71 An excellent epic. 5 stars
2/23/03 Hello there Excuse me, Pinkline Jones. I think you are wrong. But, this is the best movie ever made. 5 stars
1/24/03 Pinkline Jones Blatant rip off of "Dude Where's My Car" Kingsley Looks more Spanish that Indian 1 stars
1/19/03 Hi there One of the best movies ever. 5 stars
12/17/02 rotten s. milk Winner of 8 Academy Awards including Best Picture. 5 stars
10/23/02 Long live The revolution Fuck that bastard Gandhi Pussy cant fight asshole He did not deserve a movie on his name. 4 stars
10/18/02 Jay Ben Kingsley was in his perfect role as Gandhi! That's why he deserved his Oscar! 5 stars
10/10/02 Justin Winner of 8 Academy Awards including Best Picture! 5 stars
1/20/02 chort a very good epic. kingsley is outstanding. too much credit given to some of the anglos, pla 5 stars
11/09/01 Moises Valadez One of the last of the great epics, the new epics suck. 5 stars
11/03/01 h fuck that bastard gandhi 1 stars
8/28/01 Sam Parts are confusing if you don't know the a little about the history of Gandhi. 4 stars
8/11/01 vineetha CLASSIC 5 stars
7/28/01 Henry Ginsberg I wouldn't have known it was Kingsly if his name hadn't been in the credits . 5 stars
3/16/01 Jennifer I had to watch this movie for my global studies class and it was great. 5 stars
2/24/01 Candice The director made me realize the hardships Gandhi faced. He was a strong man. 5 stars
1/16/01 R.W. Welch Meticulous, well-acted docudrama, suffers from lethargic pacing at times. 4 stars
12/20/00 Stephani It was a good movie 5 stars
11/28/00 Cristopher Revilla the greatest biography adaptation ever made 5 stars
11/20/00 Karin Sarwold it was a great movie, and gandhi deserves credit for all he went through for india 5 stars
11/15/00 Danielle Excellent movie 5 stars
10/31/00 Dino The best movie ever made in the world 5 stars
10/17/00 ap great 5 stars
7/22/00 preethi nallu The movie makes me proud of the fact that I was born in the same country as bapuji 5 stars
4/18/00 mladen its bullshit 1 stars
3/01/00 Ionicera glossing of history (but how many "epics" aren't guilty of that), somewhat shallow, biased 3 stars
11/30/99 Mic Great film, but I wouldn't recommend it to everyone. 5 stars
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  02-Jul-1982 (PG)
  DVD: 20-Feb-2007

  02-Feb-1983 (PG)

  02-Feb-1983 (PG)

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