Perspectives on Gandhi My Father

A friendly reminder not to take our independence for granted and not to forget the countless sacrifices it took to earn the independence.

Forget everything good or bad you have heard about Gandhi My Father. Saw it yesterday, and I must say that it is extremely well made and offers a mostly accurate account of Gandhiji's relationship with his oldest son. I do not see why there is so much controversy surrounding this, though. Yes, I appreciate gray areas and understand that not everything is black and white, but moviewatchers should realize, before blaming Gandhiji from the outset, that Harilal, although 'ignored' much like any son would be of a father who was successful in changing the world map, had a significant role in his own undoing.

We get out of something what we put into it. That in a nutshell describes Gandhiji's relationship with not only Harilal, but the rest of his family as well. I sure am glad that I had read the Mahatma's own writings before watching this, because they sure seem to back it up.

Watch this with an open mind, and I think you will come out appreciating even more the sacrifices that were inherent in Gandhi's quest to obtain Swaraj for Hindustan. The historic footage that is integrated within the film is well-timed. We even see Pandit Nehru's addresses when: 1) India gains independence, and 2) the Mahatma is assassinated.

Akshaye Khanna as Harilal is excellent. Darshan Jariwala does well, although he does not sound like the Gandhi we are accustomed to seeing on screen (as in Ben Kingsley). Shefali Shah is brilliant Kastoor, and Bhumika Chawla is good as Gulab, Harilal's wife.

Movie Rating: 3.75/5 (VERY GOOD!)

My Classification: U/G

Watch it if: you appreciate movies that force you to think and think hard, and are impressed by the Mahatma Gandhi. I think that, contrary to popular opinion, you will be even more impressed by his search for truth.

Official website:


Anonymous said...

Adab Nawab theBollywoodFan,
Just finished watching this movie today and was glad to now read your write up. You make an excellent point here: "before blaming Gandhiji from the outset, that Harilal, although 'ignored' much like any son would be of a father who was successful in changing the world map, had a significant role in his own undoing." I agree, and I go even further and think that Hari was very much responsible for most of his fate. Before watching this I knew just a hint about Harilal and heard that Gandhi was hard on his own children. I thought the story was bahut sad and interesting. I don't think that Gandhi could have driven his son to such circumstances; instead it seems clear that Harilal was a alcoholic, and in a sense they had to wash their hands of him during the times he was sick. If Gandhi was around now there could have been a celebrity intervention reality show on this. It's a very sad, complicated, and unfortunately all too common problem. I think it's just a fact of life that all families, no matter how illustrious, suffer from wounded relationships. A greater good can come because in a sense this can perhaps bring people some comfort knowing that even a national, global patriarch like Gandhi suffered such family problems. Akshaye Khanna, Bhumika Chawla, and Shefali Shah were great. I'm glad I saw it, though I wouldn't tell anyone to go out and watch it. Not that I don't enjoy a sad movie or documentary, but it was so very sad to see Hari's self inflicted demise. It reminded me a bit of "Leaving Las Vegas," an excellent film, but really hard to watch. I'm toasting Harilal's memory in my mind. Kudos to the films' makers for tackling this difficult story and doing it well.

All the best,

theBollywoodFan said...

Hi Sita-ji: Thank you for your comment. It is a well-made movie, but not for everyone, as you said. Hope you thought it was worth a watch.

"...all families, no matter how illustrious, suffer from wounded relationships"

This is so true...and sad.

Oh dear, be careful with Kyun Ki (Salman and Kareena) now. Although that being fiction made it less painful.

Anonymous said...

Adab! It was certainly worth the watch. And the more I've thought of it, the movie's role may be used as a tool for Akshaye's own trauma, which he will realize down the road, if he already hasn't. Also, there's another sign he could have received from "Dil Chahta Hai" with Dimple's character: Beware of the sharaab! Thanks for the heads up on "Kyun Ki" for when possible, I do prefer my suffering in the form of fiction. :)

Cheers, Sita-ji

theBollywoodFan said...

Great, Sita-ji! Those are very relevant pointers for Akshaye, no doubt. Glad you thought it was worth a watch.


Anonymous said...

Once again a good review of an excellent movie. I too would recommend all to watch this movie.

theBollywoodFan said...

Thank you for your comment, Anonymous. It really is a well made film, and only increased my appreciation of Gandhi-ji. Cheers.

jay said...

Thank you very much for this review, it inspired me to view the film and I agree with many of your points. I was recently reminded of a point made by J.K.Rowling: "[...] there is an expiry date on blaming your parents [...]". You can view that commencement speech by J.K.Rowling on YouTube (part1, part2).

theBollywoodFan said...

Thank you Jay! I really appreciate your visit and comment. And especially that commencement speech by Rowling, so true!