The APAHM Project Day 23: Gandhi
Director: Richard Attenborough
Where to watch it: Available to buy or rent on all major platforms
Why it made the list:
This epic film won 8 of its 11 Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture. The film stars Ben Kingsley as the titular character. Gandhi was a huge component to India gaining its freedom from British rule.
I really knew nothing about Gandhi when I started this film so to watch a biopic about him and and all he had accomplished was a really insightful experience. I’m not sure how accurate the film is to history, and I am a bit embarrassed to admit I don’t know much about India or its history (maybe because we never focused on anyone’s history but our own in school).
The film follows Gandhi from his time in South Africa at the age of 23, where he faces racism as a non-white lawyer sitting in the first class section on the train, to his murder and death at age 78. During his life, he helped liberate India from British rule through peaceful protest.
This film is really, really, really long and definitely deserves a re-watch for me to really grasp all the things this man did. But from the parts I was able to follow, I realized how much I didn’t know about this wise and courageous man. I also was unaware that Pakistan originated because of religious separation between the Hindus and the Muslims. The film depicts this as hurting Gandhi emotionally, and he spends the rest of his days trying to ease the tensions between India and Pakistan.
This film seemed to have faced a lot of obstacles in pre-production. Wikipedia notes it to have been an almost 30 year idea of Attenborough before finally being brought to life. I think the film was worth the wait, as it has proven itself to be beautiful, poignant, and inspiring.
Does it deserve to stay on this list?
The film really makes Gandhi feel human and shed light on the struggles India faced in order to gain its freedom. I think this is a film everyone should see at least once, especially if you’re like me and never learned about India‘s history in class. Kingsley gives a wonderful performance and Attenborough has a huge feat of a film to be proud of (I mean, 300,000 extras? That’s insane). I’m excited for the next time I watch this film.