“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” – Mahatma Gandhi
As soon as I finished watching Gandhi, I thought to myself that I definitely should write a blog on this film and one of the other major reasons for writing this blog is that one of the best scene in the movie was filmed in Fergusson College, Pune, where I am studying.
Many of the FC students don’t know that the ‘South Africa Town Hall’ scene was shot in Fergusson College in Pune. This place has it’s own beauty with the hill at the backside of Gymkhana. With lots of trees and saplings the hill this is a place of beautiful green heritage. The infrastructure of the college building make this place historic.
Ben Kingsley has played Gandhi in the film with the perfection, not just in acting, but he also resembled Gandhi in appearance. He was young enough to portray Gandhi as a young man. He is a British actor who nailed the British influenced Indian accent. He is a wonderful actor that was patient and humble with such an important part. Kingsley was a relatively unknown actor at the time, so his identity as an actor did not get in the way of viewing the film. He won both, the Academy Award as well as the Golden Globe for best actor, for this role, which I agree he deserved.
The movie was made in 1982 and the cinematography of the film was outstanding. Attenborough filmed “Gandhi” on locations in India including the ‘South African’ scenes. The scenes including those which take place in India are spectacular. Much of the filming took place in the Aga Khan Palace, Pune-Nagar Highway, Pune, South-east Mumbai, where Gandhi was, during the Quit India Movement in 1942. It’s now designated as a Gandhi Memorial and is open to the public. In Pune were shot the ‘South African’ mosque scenes and the protest in the Imperial Theatre. The ‘South Africa Town Hall’ scene was shot in Fergusson College in Pune. This film is as about India itself as much it is about Gandhi. Attenborough shows the audience the people of India from its countryside to the vast city of Calcutta. It is suggested by Kingsley, on the DVD, that Attenborough had a difficult time with the elite class in India at the time of filming. They were against the making of such a film by an Englishman. Undeterred by their negative thinking, he persevered to enlist thousands of Indians to help him make this film. In every scene of crowd, he asked real Indian people from the areas to act. Attenborough, too, won both the Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for best direction, for this film.
Fergusson College in 1980 and 2019 on Vpf Creations:
We first see Gandhi in 1948 at that fateful prayer meeting when he was shot, and as millions gather for his funeral in Delhi and the world’s leaders make their lapidary tributes, the film flashes back to a chronological account of his life, beginning with his arrival in South Africa in the 1890s at the age of 23. Firmly in possession of a first-class ticket, he is thrown off a train in the middle of the night by an irate railway guard at the behest of an indignant white passenger.
This is the first personal lesson learnt by an ambitious conformist. Thereafter, each scene of this great movie involves learning and teaching as Gandhi develops his ethical system, beginning by encouraging a handful of Indian immigrants to defy the police in a dusty South African township, ending up trying to unite the teeming millions of the sub-continent in passive resistance against the British Empire.
If we want to reach real peace in this world, we should start educating children.
– Mahatma Gandhi
For instance, when Gandhi comes home to India in 1915, he is advised by his mentor, Professor Gokhale, to spend a year seeing the country, and he does so, travelling third-class to the eloquent accompaniment of Ravi Shankar’s music. On his return he urges the middle class intellectuals at a Congress Party rally to go to the villages and begin a grass-roots mass movement. Later, in introducing his fellow Congress leaders to the idea of non-violence, he demonstrates, through his treatment of Jinnah’s house-servant, that they themselves act towards the lower orders the way the British treat India. ‘Forgive my stupid illustration,’ he says, ‘but I want to change their minds – not to kill them for weaknesses we all possess.’
But the film deliberately leaves out his eccentricities, presumably to prevent the viewer attempting any glib psycho-analytic reading of his character, and has little to say about his religious or political ideas. Much of what made Gandhi controversial in his life and death is hardly touched on.
This movie is a must watch for everyone. It should be required viewing in high schools college, as part of History class. The fight against prejudice will forever be relevant. It is also a beautiful work of art.
For those who like to actually see real human history come to life on the screen, “Gandhi” is a true masterpiece for all times. An excellent summary of one of the greatest and most interesting lives of the 20th century!
Click here for more information about this film (Gandhi #1982).
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