Perhaps no other film has been as epoch-making as Richard Attenborough's "Gandhi" which is one of the most widely seen and discussed films of the eightees. How far the narrative departs from historical truth is a matter of academic interest. What is important is the significance of the film in dramatic terms; it has made a powerful impact all over the world. Perhaps the main reason for this is that it presents Gandhi as a symbol of an inner India, of an Indian sentence conceived as a sigular moral truth which has a universal relavance.
The Gandhi of the film belongs more to mythology than to history, an Indian mythology with a contemporary meaning. It also has a mystical meaning which is the power to die and to lay down one's life for truth.
Attenborough's film also derives its power from the paradox it captures in the Gandhi image--a total simplicity, which the camera magnifies by its angles and adroit positionaing. Partly, of course, the emotional meaning of the film has more significance for Western audiences.
Consider Gandhi excusing himself in order to attend to his goat, Gandhi offering his cloth piece to a woman so that she can cover her nakedness, Gandhi saying : "There is no cause for which I am not ready to die...but there is no cause for which I am ready to kill."
The maker seems to have the single mission to lift him to the level to a Christ-like figure. The director has tactfully steered clear of the events that might question his divine profile. Gandhi's defiance with Netaji Subhash Bose has motivatedly been evaded. Attenborough's " Gandhi" is conceived as a kind of passion, a fanatical view of human possibility and freedom. The film becomes an inspiring saga on this account---a searing, social-searching experience for millions of people all over the world. What is more important or interesting is the lesson it hilds for both the maker and the lover of cinema.
Ben Kingsley deserves thunderous applauses for the best performance of his life. His toil and moil in translating himself into the "Mahatma"with gestures . poses, expostulations, dialogu-delivery make us feel he is Gandhi, and none else. The director deserves sincere admitations for projecting the Father of the Nation so impeccably.