Monday, July 2, 2007






26 comments:

akshayefan said...

Great clips. Thanks for posting them.

smiling assassin said...

King Kapoor’s Gandhi-My Father is all set to release in August but even before its release the film has pulled controversy towards itself.
According to the protestors, the film is based on the controversial aspects of the life of Mahatma Gandhi. Therefore, they have requested President APJ Abdul Kalam, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Information and Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi to stop the release of the film.
This is another shocking attempt to hide the truth in the biggest democratic country.We all will love to see this great picture and we should all applaud Anilji for his yet another brave attempt.

Entrepreneur said...

Hi Anil,
Saw you on voice of india and koffee with karan. It's amazing tosee u with so much of energy to promote this film. The conviction you have in the film is heartening.Great job. Can't wait for it to hit theaters here in NJ.

Look forward to it.

smiling assassin said...

Our very lovable Mr.India�s Gandhigiri-
Former South African President Nelson Mandela has sent a special message about Mahatma Gandhi for the viewers at the premiere of the film Gandhi My Father held Sunday night at Johannesburg.
Mandela, who had once remarked that "India gave us Barrister Gandhi and South Africa gave back Mahatma Gandhi the great soul", has issued a statement carrying his message to be read before the screening of the film.

The message says: "We have seen, heard and read about many aspects of Gandhi's life through various mediums. We have even drawn inspiration from him to fight for justice and truth. However, this unique story of a father coming to terms with his family is instructive and deeply moving."
"I know the sacrifices that my family has made and the anguish and pain they have gone through. All freedom struggles demand political, social and personal sacrifices. It is the price we have to pay", Mandela said.

South African President Thabo Mbeki, along with his Cabinet Ministers, is also attending the premiere, a release said in Mumbai.

The legendary South African leader also met the cast and crew of the film including Anil Kapoor , his wife Sunita, Feroz A Khan, Khanna, Bhumika Chawla , Shefali Shah and Darshan Jariwalla at his residence before the premiere.
Combining entertainment with social cause, Anil Kapoor and renowed painter Satish Gujral also joined hands to build four schools in quake-affected regions of Jammu and Kashmir before winter sets in this year.

Paavans said...

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Moksh Juneja said...

Which publications are these clips from? When did they appear? Would surely like to keep some copies these papers/clips with me...

smiling assassin said...

Janaki Viswanathan’s article in HT 02 Aug

Mahatma for all seasons

For me, he will always be Mr India, and now some more. After essentially sticking to hyper-formula films, Anil Kapoor has demonstrated that he's no longer a stranger to cinema of sense and sensibility. Evidently, he's as much at ease as an actor in a ribald comedy like No Entry as he is in shepherding his cast and crew members to Johannesburg. Incidentally, he is brand ambassador for South Africa.

Spry as ever, and retaining a boyish enthusiasm, he has produced Gandhi My Father as his first independent venture. The story - the clash between the Mahatma and his son Harilal - has been enacted on the stage – Mahatma versus Gandhi (English) and Gandhi Virudh Gandhi (Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati).
About five years ago, there was talk that Yash and Aditya Chopra were planning a film adapted from the play but only if Ben Kingsley agreed to replay Gandhi. It seems the Chopras could not even get an appointment with Kingsley
Be that as it may, the 48-year-old Feroz Khan now Feroz Abbas Khan (because of ceaseless mixups with the Jaanasheen actor), has fulfilled his dream. He had directed the English version of the play, besides portraying the role of Harilal.
For several years, it had been conjectured that he would either direct its film adaptation or an entirely different subject.
Khan would often been seen in the company of film Shabana Azmi (whom he directed in Tumhari Amrita), Anupam Kher (Salgirah), Aamir Khan, and Anil Kapoor. Khan would even speak about adapting a version of the popular Hollywood comedy Goodbye Girl.
Khan emphasizes, "The theme discussed in the film and in the play are the same.. obviously because it's about the strained relationship between Mahatma Gandhi and Harilal. But the film has drawn more from the Mahatma's life than the play has."
For both Khan and Kapoor, Gandhi my Father is a litmus test - its appeal with the public and the critics will indicate the road ahead for both the producer and the director.
Not surprisingly, then, there is air of expectancy as a sizeable unit assembles at Sahar airport to wing off to Johannesburg for the film's premiere last Sunday.

smiling assassin said...

Nikhat Kazmi�s review in TOI 4th Aug

Gandhi, as an individual may have been long gone, but the idea of Gandhi not only lives on forever, it grows stronger with each passing generation. Small wonder then, it's The Discovery of Gandhi which has become the prime occupation for GenNow, GenThen and GenNext. From Richard Attenborough's Gandhi to Sanjay Dutt's Gandhigiri , the Father of the Nation has truly provided rich fodder for the film industry, both this and that side of the globe. And now comes Anil Kapoor's � he makes his debut as producer � Gandhi . The big question? Does this film fall in line with the rest of the G-films and offer one more epical dimension to Brand Gandhi? For those who have seen director Feroz Khan's theatre adaptation, Gandhi viruddh Gandhi , the film might be a much watered down version of what was a hard-hitting indictment of the Nation's Big Daddy. Gandhi, the father simply had no answers to his angst-ridden son's accusations. Here, the father is viewed in a much more sympathetic light and the halo remains relatively undiminished. Blame it on the constraints of a mass medium....

For those who haven't seen Naseer and Kay Kay explode histrionics on stage as the squabbling son and dad, the film is truly landmark. In the first place, it showcases Akshaye Khanna's acting skills as never before. As Harilal, the loser son who traverses the long road from being touted as Chhota Gandhi to a cheat, alcoholic and a waster for whom nationalism, Gandhism were dispensable 'isms', Akshaye almost makes you weep. Completely dwarfed by his father's larger-than-life personae, the boy had no choice but to rebel against the Gandhi label which became the proverbial crown of thorns on his head. And amidst all the confrontations and misgivings with his venerable father, the only thing that remained constant was his love for his mother, Kasturba.

Of course, there are scenes where Gandhi comes across as insensate, preachy and quite condescending, but the screenplay doesn't take long to reinstate him to his pedestal. What remains is the picture of a son who was too weak to inherit his father's mantle. Both Zariwala and Khanna make a riveting father-son pair, even as the women, Kasturba (Shefali) and Harilal's wife Gulab (Bhoomika) stand-by as silent victims haplessly caught in the crossfire. The freedom movement aptly forms a sepia-tinted backdrop to the family tussle and the film deftly sheds light on the darker side of Gandhigiri. An interesting debut for Anil Kapoor as producer and Feroz Khan as director.

smiling assassin said...

Newsweek finds Gandhi, My Father gripping

Arun kumar�s article

Gandhi, My Father, a new film on the Mahatma has been acclaimed by Newsweek "as a gripping account of the stormy relationship between one of the world's greatest political icons and his rebellious eldest son."
Based on the biography Harilal: A Life, by the Gujarati scholar Chandulal Dalal, Gandhi, My Father-shot in Hindi and English "sheds light on the human side of the Mahatma, whose non-violent resistance to British rule helped win India its independence in 1947," notes the American magazine in its Aug 6 issue.
First-time film director Feroze Abbas Khan and Bollywood star turned producer Anil Kapoor blend sweeping sets and colourful costumes to create an emotionally charged period piece that occasionally verges on melodrama but is also sprinkled with genuine moments of comedy, it says.
"This is a story about a clash of principles between father and son," says Newsweek citing Khan, who first tackled the subject in his play Mahatma vs Gandhi. "Harilal carried his Gandhi identity like a curse around his neck. It was something that he just couldn't shake off."
Veteran actor Darshan Jariwala gives a refreshing portrayal of a man whose cast-iron morality could transform a nation yet failed to save his own son, the magazine says. Shefali Shah (Monsoon Wedding), who plays Gandhi's wife, Kasturba, and Bhumika Chawla as Harilal's wife, Gulab, give powerful performances as women caught in the cross-fire. Tushar Gandhi, the 47-year-old grandson of Manilal Gandhi, the second of Gandhi's four sons, is quoted as telling critics of the film that they should reserve judgment until they see it.
"The film remains sincere to the subject," he says, admitting it made him shed a few tears. "It is as though somebody has understood the pain of what our family went through."
Khan is meticulous in his effort to deliver a balanced narrative, painting neither Gandhi nor Harilal as the villain, says Newsweek noting previous films on the subject - like Richard Attenborough's Oscar-winning epic Gandhi - portray the great man as a political saint.
Gandhi, My Father upends this notion, depicting the Mahatma as a difficult patriarch whose ideals shaped a nation but hurt his family, it says. As Khan points out: "He loved his son and family, but he loved the nation more." It's a distinction that makes for a compelling film.

smiling assassin said...

BRAVE ATTEMPT writes Syed Firdaus Ashraf in Rediff.com
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 , Akshaye Khanna as Harilal, Shefali Shah as Kasturba Gandhi 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 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 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.

smiling assassin said...

Khalid Mohamed’s Review in Hindustan times-

A train’s about to leave. Rushing to a compartment, a desperate man hands a shrivelled orange to his mother. She asks lovingly, “Where..where did you get it?” as if she had been handed manna from heaven. And then the man tells his saintly father, “You are what you are because of her..and her alone.”
That’s one of the searing moments of Gandhi My Father, which marks the debuts of actor Anil Kapoor as producer and theatre wunderkind Feroz Abbas Khan as writer-director. The painstakingly-mounted duel between the Mahatma and his prodigal son Harilal has its heart in the right place.
It tells us that blood isn’t thicker than water – not when the struggle is to guide a nation towards its independence. If one’s own son is left by the wayside, so be it. That the nation’s father lacerated his son emotionally – with tragic results – was scooped by the stage play Mahatma versus Gandhi directed by Khan himself about a decade ago.
Now Khan goes at the story, ascribed to various authors, with an approach that’s overwhelmingly elegiac, stating that a man must sacrifice his own family at the altar of the greater good. The screenplay, at times tends to be patchy, jumping cursorily between South Africa and India. Despite that, the vignettes add up to a work which reminds you of one of the nearly extinct principles of filmmaking – and that is the importance of being earnest.
The director cannot entirely give up a theatrical approach, what with far too many entries and exits, like a boy bicycling into the frame, colliding into buffaloes, muttering some heavy-duty dialogue and vanishing into the blue. The meeting between the ne’er-do-well Harilal and a gang of leery industrialists is extremely jejunely staged, with hackneyed mid-shots and close-ups.
Like it or not, the cinematic style is out-of-date, harking back to Sir Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi (1982). Also, the pace tends to be much too stilted, at points making you wonder if editor Sreekar Prasad had gone fishing.
However, once you’ve adjusted to the tempo, there’s no denying the poignancy of an inflexible father who’s disappointed by every breath that his son takes. As for the son, he suffers under the proverbial shadow cast by the Mahatma. Follows Harilal’s descent into alcoholism, debauchery, a brief conversion to Islam and bouts of self-pity. Now, Promethean tragedy sees both the generations crucified – one on the cross of greatness and the other on self-destruction.
Frequently, there are excellent moments, particularly when Ba Kasturba strives to play refere. In addition, you are moved when Harilals’s wife has to ward off door-banging debt collectors, and earlier on you’re amused when barrister Gandhi’s icy-cold British secretary thaws on seeing the wedding photograph of her boss’ son. Lovely.
The black-and-white documentary footage (with some Forrest Gump-like morphing) is needlessly overused. And some script-related questions linger: How could Harilal expect a scholarship for higher studies in England without having cleared his school exams? And why are the siblings of Harilal invisible, but for a few stray dialogue references?
On the upside, Nitin Desai’s production design is extraordinary. Of the cast, Darshan Jariwala passes muster (why were his ears changing shape and size, please?). Bhumika Chawla exudes that quality of human kindness.
Akshaye Khanna is absolutely inspired and gives the complex part all his conviction and intelligence. His breakdown scenes are especially heart-wrenching. And Shefali Shah, as Kasturba, is magnificent. Hats off to her, Khanna and a project that cares to state that right can be wrong. Yes, Gandhi My Father is cinema of A-class quality.

smiling assassin said...

Hey Guys, just see what Taran Adarsh has written in IndiaFM. Exciting stuff--

“The greatest regret of my life…
Two people I could never convince --
My Muslim friend Mohammed Ali Jinnah and
My own son Harilal Gandhi.”

Making a film based on true events is difficult. Not only does it entail lots and lots of research, but to recreate the bygone era and get the right set of actors to enact the characters is another challenge.
It's all the more tough if the film is based on Mahatma Gandhi. And a far bigger challenge is to present the relationship shared by the Mahatma and his son Harilal.

Everyone knows about Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation, but not much is known about him as a father to his children. GANDHI MY FATHER tells the story of Harilal Gandhi and the relationship he shared with his parents, more particularly with his father, the great Mahatma.

GANDHI MY FATHER leaves an indelible impression on the viewer. Since the story of Harilal is not known to many, you absorb every incident like a sponge absorbs water. It's an enlightening experience… and also a moving one. Your heart goes out to Harilal and his plight, more so towards the sunset of his life, makes you moist-eyed.

GANDHI MY FATHER tells a story not told before and director Feroz Abbas Khan tells it very well. Put your hands together for one of the finest films to come out of India. This one deserves to be the official entry for the Oscars.

To sum up, GANDHI MY FATHER is a must watch for every Indian. Strongly recommended!

Somewhere in the shadows of a great man [Mahatma Gandhi] lived his son [Harilal Gandhi], roaming the streets of India like a beggar. Converting to Islam as a rebellion, reconverting to Hinduism as a penance and finally drinking himself to death.

Mahatma Gandhi could transform the soul of a nation, but could not save the soul of his own son. The film unfolds a personal tragedy about a principled father and an unfortunate son.

For most viewers, the story of GANDHI MY FATHER is an eye-opener, since it tells a rarely heard story and tells it exceedingly well. The storyteller recreates the era with flourish, not once deviating from the core issue. The story is not about the freedom movement and the pivotal role played by the Mahatma, but it highlights the sensitive relationship between a father and son.

As a cinematic experience, GANDHI MY FATHER unfolds in the most simplistic, but compelling manner. Since the director is talking history, he ought to do the balancing act well. He reproduces facts without resorting to cinematic liberties and at the same time, simplifies everything so that the viewer can decipher it well.

A landmark film in all respects, highlighting a scene or two would be doing gross injustice to the film. For, every sequence has the power to keep you hooked and most importantly, carries the stamp of a genius.

The director has ensured that every department works in tandem. David Macdonald's cinematography is superb. Special mention must be made of the B & W, grainy frames that compliment the actual footage. The production design [Nitin Chandrakant Desai] is perfect. The ambience transports you to the early 20th century. Make-up [Penny Smith] is of international standard. The transformation of the characters as they age looks so real. Costumes [Sujata Sharma] suit the theme well. Background score [Piyush Kanojia] is appropriate.

Akshaye Khanna is extraordinary in the role of Harilal Gandhi. He portrays the varied emotions -- angst, sorrow, anger, frustration, love -- with great understanding and maturity and comes up with his career-best work. Darshan Jariwala as Mahatma Gandhi is another great performance you carry home. Although a number of seasoned actors have portrayed the part of Mahatma Gandhi on the big screen, Darshan's performance easily ranks amongst the best.

Shefali Shah is awesome. Note the sequence when Harilal converts to Islam and Kasturba Gandhi visits him. Or the final moments before she bids goodbye to the world. The actress deserves the highest marks. Why don't we see more of Shefali on the big screen? Bhumika Chawla is excellent. Her portions, with Harilal mainly, are well enacted.

On the whole, GANDHI MY FATHER is a treat for movie lovers. As mentioned at the very outset, it's a must-see for all Indians. At the box-office, it holds tremendous appeal for the multiplexes, where it should grow with a strong word of mouth. Strongly recommended!

smiling assassin said...

N.K.Deoshi writes in APUNkaCHOICE.com

a story that was waiting to be told. We all know about Mahatma Gandhi and his greatness. But only a few know of the troubled relationship he shared with his eldest son Harilal.

Mind it, the movie doesn’t show Gandhi in negative light. It just shows how a son – an ordinary man with his own desires and weaknesses – is crushed under the weight of the high principles of his father. It shows how Harilal’s failures and weaknesses stood in sharp contrast to the high ideals and victories of his father. It shows how Harilal carried the tag of Gandhi like a curse around his neck.
Director Feroz Abbas Khan handles the subject with sensitivity and understanding. He draws parallel life sketches of Mahatma Gandhi and Harilal from Rajkot in Gujarat to Phoenix Settlement in South Africa.

The movie begins in 1948 with an ill and infirm man – unkempt, disheveled and dressed in ragged clothes – being brought to Bombay Hospital on a stretcher in an unconscious state. The dying man is none other than Harilal Gandhi.

The movie goes back into flashback to 1905. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi ( Darshan Jariwala ), along with his wife Kasturba (Shefali Shah), runs a printing press in his settlement in South Africa. His grown-up son Harilal ( Akshaye Khanna ) marries Gulab ( Bhumika Chawla ) in Rajkot. Glimpses of strain between the father and the son are apparent from the first as Harilal informs his father, rather than ask his permission, about the marriage.

Soon, Harilal and Gulab join Gandhi in South Africa. Supporting the movement begun by his father, Harilal goes to jail a couple of times. His dream is to be a barrister like his father. But Gandhi doesn’t favour Harilal and rather sends someone else for study in England. Little things like these begin taking root in Harilal’s mind. He wishes to break away from his idealistic father and start a life of his own.

Harilal goes back to India. But he meets failure in whatever endeavor he undertakes. He fails in his studies and he fails in business. He incurs debts. He embezzles money at his workplace and is fired from his job. Soon he takes to drinking.

Tired of constant harassing by debtors and her husband’s ways, Gulab leaves Harilal and takes her children along with her. Not much later, she dies.

A lonely Harilal gives in to the life of a derelict. He is disowned by his father. He converts to Islam, reconverts to Hinduism, turns into an alcoholic, a tramp, and finally dies the death of a beggar.

Feroz Abbas Khan retains an element of poignancy and subtle irony in the way he tells the story. On the one hand, we see Gandhi rising from an activist in South Africa to become the father of nation in India. On the other hand, we see Harilal’s failures and his fall from grace. This contrast particularly stands out because F A Khan delineates the life sketches of Gandhi and Harilal parallel to each other.

At the core, F.A. Khan remains an actor’s director (probably by the virtue of his theatre background). ‘Gandhi My Father’ rests on terrific performances by its starcast, particularly Akshaye Khanna, Darshan Jariwala and Shefali Shah.

It would be a shame and injustice if Akshaye doesn’t win an award for his performance in the film. The actor sinks his teeth deep into his character. In the initial parts he brings innocence and rawness into Harilal. But slowly this innocence develops into open rebellion against his father.

Darshan Jariwala is superb in his role as Mahatma Gandhi. There is a lingering smile on his face and in his eyes throughout the film.

Shefali Shah also delivers a powerful performance as Kasturba Gandhi. Bhumika Chawla is convincing in playing her part.

Meticulous attention has been paid to recreating the India of early 20th century. The costumes, the props, the old trains, vintage cars, old buildings – all of them authentically recreate the ambience of the times the story is set in. Hats off to producer Anil Kapoor for taking on such a logistical challenge.

The movie has no songs but two bhajans that play in the background. The cinematography by David Macdonald is of international standards.

All said, ‘Gandhi My Father’ is a hard-hitting film that tells a sad and tragic story. Seekers of feelgood entertainment won’t find anything eminently enjoyable in the film. But the film, albeit, is a piece of quality cinema.

Rating: ***

smiling assassin said...

Subhash K. Jha writes in NOWRUNNING.com

Father to the nation, but not to his own son!

Great theme. Huge historic resonance as the father and son happen to be Mahatma Gandhi and his lesser-known son Harilal.

What interesting possibilities of drama open up before our eyes as we think of the father and son locked in a mutual admonition society against the backdrop of a demanding, politically anguished nation.

"Gandhi My Father" fails to convey the jumbo-sized canvas of the fight that the Father Of The Nation fought within and outside his home. One reason for this inadequacy is the director Feroz Abbas Khan's own creative battle.

Simply put, you can take the play out of the playwright. But you can't make him put the staginess of the drama behind him when he takes the intimate drama to the screen.

We've seen this happen earlier with stage directors who turn to the large screen. Bob Fosse brought the Broadway musical to Hollywood. But in his films element of choreographed creativity remained predominant.

For Khan the sword of staginess hangs on his film debut in glistening glory, imbuing the on-screen story with an intimacy that brings the characters too close to the audience for comfort.

Though there isn't enough 'cinema' in this stage adaptation, the sincerity and integrity of the entire crew bolsters the production and carries it smoothly to the finishing line.

David MacDonald's cinematography, Nitin Desai's production design, Sreekar Prasad's editing and Sujata Sharma's costumes are designed to take the product beyond the boundary of a specific excellence.

They deliver. What brings the drama and the dormant energy within the characters to a boiling point without brimming over are the performances.

Darshan Jariwala is poignant and body-perfect in bringing the Mahatma to life. How does he compare with other celluloid Gandhis? That's as silly as asking how David Attenborough's "Gandhi" compares with Kamal Haasan's "Hey Ram".

"Gandhi My Father" moves at its mellowed-down volition, often at the expense of the drama. The father-son conflict could and perhaps should have been far more intense and dramatic.

The controlled drama is perfectly modulated by Akshaye Khanna who as Harilal is the portrait of filial angst, more sinned against than sinning, more stranger to his father than a son, more wanting to be loved than loved.

Akshaye gets rid of some of his dramatic props (clenched jaw, etc) to sink into character. As for Shefali Shah as Kasturba, she makes the wispy sepia-toned world of home and politics come together in a sweep of maternal affection.

Her warm and sensitive performance furnishes this rather dry film with the milk of human kindness.

The quality of human kindness remains largely untapped in the narration. What "Gandhi My Father" needed was a tight 'jadoo ki jhappi' (as that wacky Gandhian Munnabhai calls it).

"Gandhi My Father" holds back the tears and fears of a son who wants to be hugged by his father who's busy embracing the nation. The restrain is remarkable for going against the requirements of the story.

But it isn't a merit in a movie that needed all its emotional components to move in the same direction as its underlining inter-relationships.

smiling assassin said...

Jahan Bakshi’s review Now running.com

'Gandhi My Father' is definitely one of the most awaited and intriguing releases this year, with a totally unexplored theme and lots of pre-release buzz to boot. Does it match up to the hype? My answer would be a qualified yes.

A film with subject matter as compelling as 'Gandhi My Father' could well have been a masterpiece- which 'Gandhi My Father' is certainly not, and that is somewhat disappointing - but Feroze Abbas Khan and Anil Kapoor definitely deserve kudos for a bravura effort in bringing this beautiful father-son saga to the screen. 'Gandhi My Father' is a heart-wrenching tragedy about the Gandhi family- it is a story that needed to be told and deserves to be seen and heard.

'Gandhi My Father' is a sincere attempt and succeeds magnificently on many counts. The epic story of India's freedom struggle is seamlessly and wonderfully woven into the very intimate, personal tale of the Gandhi family and its internal conflict. David Macdonald's cinematography is breathtakingly gorgeous and the background score by Piyush Kanojia is both understated and soulful.

What holds everything together is some bold, confident direction by Feroze Abbas Khan who makes an amazing transition from theatre to film, and it is certainly a job very well done paying attention to small details and painting a huge canvas on screen. The theatre roots do begin to surface at times and the film becomes a little clunky at times, but then these moments are far and few in between. Bravo, Mr. Khan.

The first half of the films feels a tad under whelming at times in the first half, but more than makes up in the second, which also carries much of the emotional heft. The grainy Black and White footage (done with SFX) is overused though, and is sometimes a little tacky.

The film, of course- is finally about the performances, and they are inspiringly good. Bhumika Chawla, seen on screen after some time pitches in a good act in a small, but fairly effective role as Gulab Gandhi, Harilal's wife.

Shefali Shah, as Kasturba, or 'Ba' as Harilal fondly calls her in the film, is an absolute revelation. Saying so much with silent expressions, she touches the heart and makes you wish that we could see more of the enormously talented actress on screen. She gives the character her own unique touch and makes it her own, and that is definitely saying something, considering Rohini Hattangadi is a tough act to follow.

Darshan Zariwala is astounding as the Mahatma himself, taking Bapu's character to a whole new level by humanizing him. He shows us a Gandhi stripped to the core, yet not stripped of his greatness. One can truly sense Gandhi's pain, his dreams, his ideals and his helplessness at never being able to bridge the increasing gap between him and his son through Zariwala's wonderful performance, and it is difficult to believe that it is the same actor who was seen playing a cartoonish villain in the pulp fiction masterpiece 'Aap Ka Suroor', not so long back.

And then there's Akshaye Khanna. A truly talented actor Akshaye has been seen in some truly horrendous roles and films of late, and it is a huge sigh of relief to see him in something worth his while, finally. And while he does a great job, bringing life to Harilal, his frustrations, his yearnings, his anger and his human side, I couldn't help but find something amiss here.

Without a doubt, this is excellent work from Akshaye, but somewhere, somehow both he and the director fail to make the viewer fully connect with Harilal- the character about who this film is supposed to be primarily. Somewhere, in between, I lost touch with Harilal and the Mahatma became the main protagonist.

Perhaps, the film could have been called Harilal, My son. Or maybe, perhaps, it is indeed ironical that Harilal was destined to get a little overwhelmed by his father's towering shadow, in both- real and reel life.

smiling assassin said...

Third review by Ashok Nayak in Nowrunning

Produced by Anil Kapoor, Gandhi My Father is a story never told before. It is about Mahatma Gandhi's relationship with his eldest son Harilal Gandhi. For the people Mahatma was the father, for Harilal he was a father he never had. Based on the play Mahatma vs. Gandhi, Feroz Abbas Khan has combined his talents as a writer and director to create probably the most affecting film in recent times.

The early difference arises when Harilal visits South Africa to fulfill his dream, to be a lawyer. His father has other plans for him; he wants him to struggle for the people, for the nation. Disappointed Harilal returns back to India to continue his education. Unable to pass, he gets into business and from there on its dejection, struggle, and failure. A rebellion who converts to Islam only to convert back to Hinduism as penance and finally drinking himself to death barely months after the death of his father.

From a critical point of view, 'Gandhi My Father' isn't a masterpiece. The movie has its share of loopholes. There is no clear justification to some of the acts by Gandhi towards his son. A little more research would have ensured a classic. From a normal audience point of view, 'Gandhi My Father' lacks entertainment value. Also the heavy use of English words should hamper the collections in the interiors of India. There are a few scenes that grip you emotionally. The Railway station scene where Harilal is the lone person cheering for his mother, the last scene between a Drunken Harilal and his mother and Kasturba death sequence are some of them. Watch out for these master strokes by the director.

The music is top class. Cinematography (David Macdonald) is superb. It is tough to capture the pre independence era with such precision.

A historical movie requires an earth shattering performance from the lead actors and that's exactly what we get. The four leading actors have put across powerful performances that take the movie to a different level altogether. Akshaye Khanna exceeds expectations. He excels in portraying the varied emotions that the character depends. Darshan Jariwala too has delivered a sensational and award worthy performance. Words cannot describe Shefali Chhaya's portrayal of Kasturba! Bhoomika Chawla doesn't have much scope for histrionics.

If you're a lover of quality cinema you don't want to miss this.

Rating - 3 / 5

smiling assassin said...

Rajiv Masand of IBN Live is perhaps the first one who wrote negative lines about this gem of a work. He found it a boring history lesson however I strictly disagree with him. One must read the comments posted by viewers regarding his biased reporting. I’m not alone guys even Amitabh, Amit, Lait, Gaurish, Arun, Sourabh, Chirag, Sandy and Keerthi feels the same and and you can read their resentment at

http://www.ibnlive.com/news/gandhi-my-father-is-like-a-boring-history-lesson/46179/comments.html

smiling assassin said...

A moving tale of a life gone wrong

By MovieTalkies.com (Rating- 4/5)

The Mahatma has inspired a lot of movements and revolutions in our country and abroad. His grip on the Indian imagination remains intact even today. The runaway success of ‘Lage Raho Munnabhai’ and Munna’s unique brand of Gandhigiri has overnight spurred a new-found awareness about the man and the legend. So the climate couldn’t be better for Feroz Abbas Khan to make his film, ‘Gandhi My Father’. It is based on a play that he had successfully staged some years ago called ‘Mahatma versus Gandhi,’ The play explored the turbulent relations between the father of the nation and his elder son. One vividly recalls the play even today because of the fiery performances by Kay Kay Menon as Harilal Gandhi and Naseeruddin Shah as the Mahatma.

The film treads the same terrain. The father-son relationship is the focus of this film as well. But unlike the play, the film leaves one with a strange kind of sadness. It is not easy to live and thrive under the shadow of a Titan and that’s what the Mahatma was. And who knew it better than his son Harilal, who tried unsuccessfully at various times to follow in the same path as his father. At others, he was busy trying to get away from the mammoth shadow of his father and make a life of his own. The biographical details are a matter of general knowledge now.

The film starts with Harilal (Akshaye Khanna), in a bedraggled shape, being brought into the hospital, where he is fighting for his life. The film then moves in a flashback mode and the early years of Harilal’s life unfold. But tied as it is with the life of the nation and India’s fight for Independence, there is nothing purely personal in the relations between father and son. Gandhi (Darshan Jariwala) was not just the father of Harilal but also the father of the nation. The timing was such that Gandhi had to forgo his duties towards his sons in the larger interests of the nation. So if Harilal could not keep up and lagged behind, Bapu did not always wait for him to catch up.

Underlying beneath this is sense of disappointment that the Mahatma goes through every time Harilal stumbles. It is not that he loves him less but just that he had had very high expectations of his first born. The problem was that Gandhi’s first experiments began with his family – his wife Kasturba (Shefali Shah) and his sons. So despite Harilal wanting to study and become a barrister, Gandhi does not allow him to go to London and study at the Bar. There were opportunities but he preferred to give them away to others as he had other plans for Harilal. At every subsequent meeting, he tells his son to come back and join him in the freedom struggle.

But Harilal’s story is like a downward graph. He looses his wife Gulab (Bhoomika Chawla) and after that his life take a downward plunge. He oscillates between bouts of alcoholism, debauchery, even converts to Islam for a while. His streak of self-destruction proves to be his nemesis and he dies unknown at a hospital. Kasturba acts as a bridge at times and a referee at others. But the chasm separating the two just keeps deepening and finally, there is no road back for either one of them.

The film is a marvelous effort in depicting this volatile relationship between a father and a son. It stays as far as possible to the man Gandhi and Harilal. But Gandhi always had more pressing matters on hand, so Harilal falls on the wayside. The director portrays well the helplessness of the Mahatma, following his call in life and making the necessary sacrifices for it. It also paints the topography of Harilal’s bruised psyche. Akshay Khanna as Harilal turns in a very moving performance as Gandhi’s prodigal son. It is a very sensitive nuanced performance. This will surely mark as one of Akshaye’s most rivetting performances to date. Darshan Jariwala as Gandhi puts in an effort. But somehow, even though it is not fair, one can’t help but compare his Gandhi to Ben Kingsley’s or to that of Naseer’s. Needless to say, Darshan doesn’t quite manage to measure up to the legends. The real show stealer is Shefali Shah as Kasturba. She is simply great. The actress astonishes with her silence as well. From a young mother of four children, to an old woman, Shefali has the nuances all right. Bhoomika Chawla, in a very small role as Harilal’s wife, too puts in a very sincere performance.

The only problem with the film is its pace and its length. Somehow the screenplay could have been a little more taunt for it to have a more powerful impact. It just seems to drag a little bit in places. There is little else to complaint about. It is a very sincere attempt to tell a story of a father and son caught in web of history. Every minute detail has been carefully looked into, thus giving it a very authentic look and feel, beginning with the sepia-tinted documentary footage. Director Feroz Khan and producer Anil Kapoor are truly to be lauded for the film.

smiling assassin said...

Fabulous review by Martin D'Souza in Glamsham

Akshaye Khanna must be one of very few actors in the industry to have gotten a chance to essay a character, hitherto unknown, in a film sensitively handled, considering the subject and emotions involved. After all, such films are not made everyday. Amitabh Bachchan is quoted to have told his son, Abhishek, that it took him 25 years to get a film like BLACK. For an artiste nothing is more creatively satisfying than a good role, felt passionately by the makers, essayed with aplomb. More of Akshaye later.

Let’s focus now on Anil Kapoor, the producer. The passion in the project is palpable. That in a way may explain why the talented actor chose to stay behind the camera and put his energy into making one of the most beautiful movies to have come out of Indian cinema. For teenagers, and adults alike, this movie, besides focusing on The Mahatma’s eldest son, Harilal Gandhi, is also a subtle lesson on the sweat and blood that went into fighting for the country’s freedom as well as the partitioning of the country. It also throws light on the gentle freedom fighter and his peace loving ways in all that he did. But for his son, as the tagline rightly suggests, he was a father he never had.

But it’s so very easy to become a victim of circumstances, as was the case with Harilal, and put the blame on someone else for your miseries. Harilal is one such man who feels it is his father’s unspoken code of conduct that curtails his freedom and does not allow him to soar. Even after his wife’s death, he does not bother about his kids, who were taken care of by Gandhi and his wife, Kasturba. He wallows in self pity, submerges himself in alcohol, and prostitution, and dies of penury on the streets of Bombay, six months after his father’s assassination.

Every detail is finely tuned in every frame. Right from the hair, to the make-up to the costumes, to the props used to enhance the scene, its plain to see the pain that has gone in making the setting as authentic as possible and giving the audience the feel of that particular ‘time and moment’. The lighting and cinematography along with the body language of each and every actor takes the scenes to another level altogether.

Back to Akshaye Khanna, who plays Harilal Gandhi. In one word, this talented actor who everyone knew was performing much below his potential is outstanding. In trying to describe his brilliance, I’m afraid I may fall short of his genius. So let’s leave it at this, that he has portrayed Harilal with sincere innocence that leaves you wondering whether to feel sorry for him or hate him.

Lets not forget Darshan Jariwala, who to my mind, with due apologies to Ben Kingsley, and Richard Attenborough, has been the best onscreen Gandhi. Darshan’s eyes are what tilt the scale in his favour; they portray the feelings even before he can speak a word. As for Shefali Shah, who plays Kasturba Gandhi, she matches Darshan, scene for scene, and carries off the moments right from a young mother to an old grandmother with studied ease. Bhumika Chawla, who plays the wife of Harilal, too adds to the strong cast with her performance.

How can we forget the man who made this possible, Feroze Abbas Khan, the writer/director of this classic? Take a bow, Mr Khan and treat us to more scripts like these.

GANDHI MY FATHER is much more than a movie; it’s a moving story, told about the father of our nation and his eldest son. It’s also a lesson in history, and the art of making period films.

Aayush Bhatnagar said...

A very very well made movie...its in the league of its own..Congrats. I have just returned from the movie hall after seeing it. I will be posting a review on my wordpress blog soon..about this great movie :)here is the link:

http://aboyfromindia.wordpress.com

thanks

smiling assassin said...

Every cinema lover basked in the warmth of the Anil-Madhuri pairing. Fans get mesmerized as they create magic on screen. Every generation simply adores them. Anil-Madhuri- magical as ever. Join my tribute to them
http://www.orkut.com/Community.aspx?cmm=37697313

How do we know said...

Here is my review (its not on my blog)

Pluses:
• Art Direction
• Sound Design
• Acting

Minuses
• Treatment of the theme
• Editing
• Cohesiveness of the story
• The overall experience
• Characterisation

Perhaps it was a mistake, but the promos of the film led one to believe that the film was about Harilal, the little known and much maligned son of Gandhi.
Which is why, at the end of the film, when one did not even know basic biodata details like the cause of his wife’s death, the names of the people with whom the fake company was started, the duration or the timing of the said scam, or (even) what he died of, one is left wondering.
Of course, I am not even starting to worry about the fact that we know nothing about Harilal’s motivations, even when he took an important decision like changing his religion. We know nothing about the reason why his wife left him and returned to India, even as he was serving his prison sentence in S Africa. We also do not understand why he was called to S Africa if there was never a desire to send him to England to study to be a barrister.
At the end of the film, we cannot even create a character sketch of the protagonist of the film. That , of course, is assuming that Harilal is the protagonist of the film. The only thing that lends credence to that idea, is the publicity. Nowhere in the film is the character of Harilal highlighted. It is Gandhi Sr. all the way, and this film is another attempted documentary about the greatness of Gandhi Sr. The protagonist moves in and out of the film in random frames that make no effort to tell his story, much less his thoughts or motivations.
The most remarkable part of the film is some blurred black and white footage which appears authentic enough till you notice Akshay Khanna’s face in the footage, as he is a part of the Gandhi entourage. That one had me in splits. It was unnecessary and overdone.
The biggest crime of the film, is that it explores no other character in any depth. Harilal, as already indicated, is a random figure that criss crosses the screen sometimes. His relationship with his siblings is left completely untouched. In fact, his siblings are left completely untouched. Gulab, the wife of Harilal, appears as a character full of depth and worthy of exploration. However, one more time, the viewer is left completely frustrated, as important decisions and events in her life are narrated without any exploration or explanation. Much less a journey into the nuances of her character, and how it impacted the protagonist. Kasturba is only expected to be happy in the shots where Harilal makes a random entry, to chide Harilal when the situation arises, or to listen quietly as Gandhi explains what HE thinks of Harilal’s conversion to another faith. Obviously, we do not need to know what Harilal thought of his conversion, what he went through before the decision, and after. But Gandhi’s sound bytes are important.
The saving grace of the film is the excellent acting. Each member of the cast surprises one with his/her sheer perfection – body language, accent, everything. The biggest surprise package is Darshan Jariwalla as Gandhi. From a young Gandhi to an older one, he never disappoints- which is a big thing, considering that he dominates a big part of the screenplay, and was often required to go solo on the screen.
I am not sure if this was because the people making this film genuinely did not know a lot about Harilal’s life, or because they thought Gandhi Sr. deserved another documentary.
All in all, this was a film where one expected layers and exploration, and did not even get basic research.

Ajay Bailey said...

Beautiful movie...very moving...makes Gandhi lokk so human ....very good effort.

Ajay

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Simplysitu said...

3 National award for Gandhi, my father
55th National Awards 2007

Best Film Anil Kapoor,

Best Screenplay Feroz Abbas Khan and

Best supporting actor award Darshan Zariwala

CONGRATULATIONS

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