Almost every year Oscar-winning actor-filmmaker Richard Attenborough’s movie Gandhi (played by another Oscar winner Ben Kingsley) is shown on Indian television (on Gandhi Jayanti, and even on Independence & Republic day), and there are people who may have seen the movie umpteen number of times before, but still sit down to watch the movie.
Movie Teaches More About Gandhi
Many Indians would definitely admit that they have learnt more from Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi than from any other sources, including our school textbooks.
And with due respect to all our Bollywood directors, I’m happy that the movie was made by a Hollywood director, and not by a Bollywood filmmaker who would have tried to inject some of his/her masala ingredients in this subject.
Richard Attenborough (died at the age of 90) had worked on several projects, both as an actor as well as a director, and held several posts in the British film industry. But despite that he was very humble man. When asked about the film Gandhi, Richard once said that all the work that he had done prior to Gandhi was actually a preparation that served his really well during the making of ‘Gandhi’.
Did You Know?
For the role of Gandhi & Kasturba, three couples were in contention – John Hurt & Bhakti Barve, Ben Kingsley & Rohini Hattangady, Naseeruddin Shah & Smita Patil. But eventually, the pair of Ben Kingsley & Rohini Hattangady were chosen to play the role of Mahatma Gandhi & Kasturba Gandhi. Initially, there were strong rumours in India that Smita Patil was chosen for the role of Kasturba Gandhi, but later it was learnt that she was rejected as she looked too glamorous for the role.
1983 Oscars: Gandhi wins the Best Picture award & Richard Attenborough wins the Best Directing award
Insisted on Punctuality
Richard Attenborough was also very strict about timing, and wanted all the actors to report on time. When Alyque Padamsee (played the role of Jinnah) reached the sets 5 min late on the first day, Mr. Attenborough said “Mr. Padamsee, this film is costing me thousand pounds per minute, so you owe me five thousand pounds”. Although he made the statement in jest, Padamsee got the message and made sure he reached on time henceforth on the sets.
Tributes from Bollywood
Here are some tributes to actor-filmmaker Richard Attenborough by Indian celebrities.
Alok Nath: The man who reinvented the Mahatma for the whole world to see & know, director of my debut film GANDHI sir Richard Attenborough rest in peace sir.
Anil Kapoor: I learnt more about the Mahatma from Attenborough’s Gandhi than the history lessons in school. Unforgettable, honest & inspirational!
Anupam Kher: Had the honour of meeting Sir Richard Attenborough during the casting of GANDHI. He was a wonderful human being & a Great director. RIP
Shobhaa De: Richard Attenborough convinced the world that a Mahatma did indeed walk the earth. R.I.P.
Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra: One of the greats of cinema Lord Attenborough is no more Brighton Rock to Jurassic park. A bridge to far to Gandhi — He lives for ever.
Rahul Bose: Still remember Richard Attenborough’s tribute to Mahatma Gandhi when ‘Gandhi’ won best film at the Oscars. R.I.P.
Shoojit Sircar: Rip Richard Attenborough…dies at 90…directed Gandhi…the only biopic we are proud of.
Sangeeth Sivan: RIP #RichardAttenborough…1923-2014. Actor, Director & a great human being. He will live on in our hearts.
Vinay Pathak: Richard Attenborough. REST IN PEACE !
Milap Zaveri: RIP Sir Richard Attenborough…Now the “Mahatma” can personally congratulate you in heaven for telling his story so brilliantly.
Sanjay Gupta: HE MADE MY FAVOURITE INDIAN FILM – GANDHI. RIP. Lord Richard Attenborough Passes Away at 90.
Atul Kasbekar: RIP Sir Richard Attenborough. And thank you for making ‘Gandhi.’
What do you guys think? Could a Bollywood (or any other Indian) Director have made Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi better? Please share your thoughts here…