Saturday, August 04, 2007

Gandhi my father:Father of the nation

-By Swetha Amit
Some noble deeds come at a cost of a stupendous sacrifice. The one of Mahatma Gandhi’s was a prime example.

“One family’s tragedy was the price of a nation’s freedom” as the tagline of the film says.
Fighting for the country’s freedom earned him adulation of millions and the title “Father of the nation”. Yet he had to pay a big price for it in the form of his elder son Harilal. The whole nation was showered with the revered person’s affection and yet the irony lay in the fact that his son never felt his father's love.

Gandhi my father revolves around the family of M.K.Gandhi and the difference in ideologies between the father and son.

The film starts with a drunken and haggard Harilal (Akshaye Khanna) in a hospital trying to revive his flashback which takes you through a series of revolutionary events and flurry of emotions.

A walk down the memory lane portrays the life of Barrister M.K.Gandhi (Darshan Jariwala) and Kasturba Gandhi (Shefali Shah) in South Africa along with their other children with the exception of Harilal. The latter was left behind to complete his education in his native land. However his failure of completion along with his early marriage to Gulab (Bhoomika Chawla) displeases his father.

But Gandhi calls Harilal to South Africa and the latter eagerly goes to fulfill his aspirations of becoming a barrister like his father. However Harilal’s hopes are dashed as Gandhi had different plans for his children as soldiers fighting for a bigger cause. The Mahatma began to believe in the selfless acts towards the society which clashed with his son’s ideologies and principles.
Harilal begins to take a different path in the form of a couple of business dealings which failed miserably. Unable to face it, he took to alcohol which ultimately led to his and his family’s destruction. He continued to struggle through his life by taking favors in the name of his father only to be met with constant humiliation. Despite his father’s effort to reform him, Harilal was unable to become what his father wanted him to be.

Simultaneously the film depicts the nation slowly achieving its independence and the struggle Gandhi went through personally, emotionally and socially. Yet he never deviated from his dignified principles and held his head high.

As he departed from this world, he successfully inspired the entire nation yet he failed to do so with his elder son. He was filled with remorse as he breathed his last on Jan 31 1948 with the entire nation mourning over his loss. And his son did so on June 18th the same year.

Gandhi my father is a brilliant film which depicts the father-son relationship with great amount of sensitivity. It especially portrays the dispute in the perception and idea of a father’s love. While Harilal viewed it as giving favors at every stage; Gandhi perceived it as instilling the righteousness in his kith and kin. His greatness lay in his impartiality when he refused any exclusive favors even to his own son, that which was not available to others. It also brings out the feeling of helplessness in Kasturba Gandhi who is caught in between the clash of ideologies of the father and son. Akshaye Khanna is outstanding as Harilal. Darshan Jariwala and Shefali Shah are excellent in their respective roles. Bhoomika Chawla does a decent job. The film is slow in certain parts but is very well directed by Feroz Abbas Khan.

It exhibits the nobility of the revered Gandhi without whom India would have still been under the clutches of the British. Though he was admired by millions there are a few who dispute his principles of ‘Satya’ and ‘Ahimsa’. If only Ahimsa was prevalent today, will we see the societal evils in the form of terrorism and ruthless exploitation of lives? The most respected man fondly known as Bapu sought out the most difficult path to achieve what no violent act could do-our nation’s freedom.

This film is a must watch and definitely makes you walk down the nostalgic memory lane to view our country before and after independence which leaves one feeling in tremendous awe.

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