D: Richard Attenborough
Columbia/Goldcrest/Indo-British/IFI (Richard Attenborough)
UK/India 🇬🇧 🇮🇳 1982
W: John Briley
DP: Billy Williams & Ronnie Taylor
Ed: John Bloom
Mus: George Fenton & Ravi Shankar
PD: Stuart Craig
Cos: John Mollo & Bhanu Athaiya
Ben Kingsley (Mohandas K. 'Mahatma' Gandhi), Candice Bergen (Margaret Bourke-White), Edward Fox (Gen. Dyer), John Gielgud (Lord Irwin), Trevor Howard (Judge Broomfield), Martin Sheen (Walker), Rohini Hattangady (Kasturba Gandhi)
The picture begins with a caption stating that no man's life, no matter how great, could possibly be completely captured in a biography. Therefore, it's forgivable that Richard Attenborough's schoolbook history only focuses on a handful of key moments from Gandhi's life.
Ben Kingsley is absolutely mesmerising as Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, later given the name Mahatma (which translates as "great soul"), a lone civil rights activist whose efforts to the cause managed more with words than entire countries have attempted with firearms.
The story begins with his assassination, before showing key moments via flashback, starting with his journey to South Africa during apartheid, where he first spoke out for change.
The second act switches back to his life in native India, still under British colonial rule, where he played a key role in the country's independence, by inspiring his countrymen to civil disobedience through non-violent means.
Though incredibly well directed by Richard Attenborough and well written by screenwriter John Briley, the film seems satisfied to canonise the historical figure rather than provide a real in-depth study into understanding his actions.
Still, on an epic scale, the production is sweeping, just as it did at the 1982 Academy Awards, where it won 8 Oscars, including Best Picture.