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Home > Movies > Reviews

Gandhi My Father: Brave attempt

Syed Firdaus Ashraf | August 03, 2007 15:47 IST

A still from Gandhi My Father

With Gandhi My Father Anil Kapoor, has touched a subject that no Bollywood producer would have dared to.

The film is a brave attempt and director Feroz Abbas Khan has tried to bring out the complicated relationship between the Father of the Nation Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and his eldest son, Harilal.

The film works because of the wonderful performances from the four lead actors: Darshan Jariwala as Mahatma Gandhi [Images], Akshaye Khanna as Harilal, Shefali Shah as Kasturba Gandhi [Images] and Bhoomika Chawla as Harilal's wife Gulab.

Unfortunately, the script has many loopholes. A little more research on what the real problem between Mahatma and his son was would have made this film a classic. It is here that Feroz Abbas Khan disappoints.

To begin with, there was no justification for Gandhi opposing Harilal's decision to get married. Again, a little research on the reason behind Harilal's rebellion against his father could have taken the film to another level.

Another inconsistency is the part where the Mahatma advocates Indian students to go to London [Images] for a scholarship but when it comes to his own son, he sticks to Satyagraha and Indian values.

More questions come to the fore as the film progresses and no reason is given for the growing distance between father and son, though there are enough about the Mahatma being more concerned about the nation's interest than his family.

The film also fails to explore the relationship between Gandhi and his other three children -- Manilal, Ramdas and Devdas -- and how they felt about their father's apparent abandonment of family responsibilities. Their relationship vis-a-vis Harilal is also left unexplored. What the script is more concerned about is the fact that both Gandhi and Harilal were right in their own ways.

Akshaye Khanna [Images] as Harilal is outstanding and his performance will tear you up, especially the part where he goes to meet his parents at a railway station. He gives his mother an orange but refuses to share it with his father, stating that Mahatma Gandhi is the Mahatma because of her. 

A still from Gandhi My FatherShefali Shah is brilliant as Kasturba. Her helplessness at her failure to bridge the growing gap between father and son is palpable. The scene where she goes to meet Harilal, who has converted to Islam, is commendable for her composed dialogue delivery.

The same holds true for Bhoomika Chawla [Images], who shines in the role of Gulab. 

Darshan Jariwala, as the younger Gandhi, is not convincing. But in the later part of the movie, he begins to resemble the Father of the Nation more. The chemistry between him and Akshaye is exceptionally good.

The attention to detail -- in terms of sets and costumes -- is also commendable.

Overall, the film has its share of gut-wrenching moments at the plight of a son with 'Gandhi' attached to his name. The film is worth a watch for its brave attempt to paint another picture of the Mahatma, not found in our history books.

Rediff Rating:

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