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Gandhi (1982) Movie Review

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This movie is about the famous Indian peaceful agitator for independence. It is a tale of the life of this great man who had dedicated himself to the struggle for the freedom of the Indian people from the British rule. It was produced in the year 1982 by Richard Attenborough. It is based on the autobiography of Mahatma Gandhi were he gave a detailed description of his journey in life and how he came to be involved in the Indian national politics. The film presents the chronological and realistic account of the life of this political activist.

The movie begins at the end when an assassin shots this man at an event (Attenborough, 1982). This shooting is instigated by Gandhi’s stand on the British rule and the best approach to be adopted by the people to overturn the situation. After the seeing incident, mourners pour out into the streets calling this a national tragedy. His death was a loss to the whole nation due to his commitment to the freedom of his people. The struggle had taken Gandhi to South Africa where he had gone to practice law.

His first experience with the South African authorities was when he was sent to the third class component of the train even though he held the fist class ticket. This was owing to the racial discrimination that was propagated by the colonial government in that African country. He refused to be treated so and found himself thrown out. This is the beginning of the non-violent attempts that he would later make in his life as an activist.  He was inspired by this incident to create a society where everyone is equal and to fight against the racial segregation.

His success in South Africa takes him back to his home country where his heroism is acknowledged. He, however, meets stringent opposition from the British government that commits itself to ensure that the same changes are not seen in the Indian society (Canby, 1982).

His attempt to bring about the stop in the oppression through the non-violent means seem to meet a lot of frustrations.

The British government sends him to jail several times while the people engage the government in armed struggle. He finds himself in prison several times as the violence escalates. He goes on hunger strike for the cruel murder of peaceful protesters and again when he figured out about the struggles between the Muslims and the Hindus. The scene that captures aggression, conflict and peacemaking are when the movie shows the Indian civilians, mostly children and women, being shot by the firing squad which looked like the East Asian or Chinese mercenary troops.

 This scene is very brutal and cruel as the lieutenant defends the decision and orders the continuation of the firing until more than one thousand people were killed. The Indians had been involved in the aggressive struggle with the British authorities in the agitation for their freedom. It was a series of armed struggle and violence that had lead to the killing of the over one thousand women and children. Gandhi reacts to this act with great sorrow and hence a turning point in the movie (Attenborough, 1982). 

He chooses to use the peaceful demonstration and to inspire the people to stand up against the British oppression and to liberate their country. In the end, Gandhi manages to achieve his aim of liberating his country. This scene is not just about India but rather about the brutality of the colonial rule. The white people had invaded Africa, Asia and the Americas to exercise their control over them. They were very oppressive and inhumane in their treatment of the colonies.




They would do anything to prevent them from losing the iron grip on the people including killing them. The high-handedness could be seen in their retaliation for the attempts by the population to wrestle themselves out of the control. The other lesson that the many freedom fighters out there could learn from this section is that the non-violent means was a viable and the most suitable approach to the struggle. This is because the colonialists were better trained and better equipped than the indigenous people.

They had all the powerful machinery to kill anyone who stood in their way. The most efficient way to avoid the killings was to use the peaceful mass demonstrations. You can kill the people, but you cannot kill the spirit of a vast number of people who are united for a common purpose. The section hence does not just tell the story of this great man, but rather the commitment of the Indians and their struggle for freedom. It highlights the sacrifices that the people had to make to free themselves of the white man’s rule.

The same sacrifices and brutality were replicated in the other parts of the world especially in Africa that had numerous counts of colonial oppression and racial discrimination. Gandhi’s life offers a significant example to the leaders who aspire to lead the people and serve them (Canby, 1982). From the onset, this man loved his people, and he committed himself to liberating them. He lived a modest life, not putting material possessions ahead of his leadership role. This part of the film is a testimony that a committed spirit of the people coupled with good leadership has the power to bring about change in the society.






Canby. V (1982) Gandhi (1982). New York Times. Movies.    6896

 Attenborough. R (1982) Gandhi 1982.





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