Bapu in the Movies: Memorable Movies Featuring Mahatma Gandhi

Gandhi MoviesWhen you talk about Mahatma Gandhi in the movies, Richard Attenborough’s ‘Gandhi’ comes to the mind, where the lead role was played by the brilliant Bens Kingsley. However, many more movies have been made (although they were not as successful as ‘Gandhi’), where the Father of the Nation played a pivotal rule.

Oct 2 is celebrated in India as Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday (known as Gandhi Jayanti), a man who changed the course of the future of India, with his ideas of non violence.


Did you know?
Despite being considered as one of the strongest symbols of peace and non-violence across the world, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (his real name) never got the Nobel Peace prize, despite being nominated five times and shortlisted three times for the Nobel Prize. Here’s an interesting article on WSJ.


Here we take a look at all the movies where Mahatma Gandhi figured in an important role.

Gandhi (1982)

Ironical, but true! The best film on Gandhi was made by a foreign filmmakers, Sir Richard Attenborough. Won Oscar awards for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor.

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Also Read: Could a Bollywood Director have made Richard Attenborough’s ‘Gandhi’ better?

Mahatma: Life of Gandhi (1968)

A five hour documentary, directed by Vithalbhai Jhaveri, Gandhi’s story is mostly narrated using Gandhi’s own words. Live photography and old prints were also used to provide a realistic image of his life.

Sardar (1993)

Directed by Ketan Mehta, although the movie is on Sardar Vallabhbhai patel (played by Paresh Rawal), the movie also features Gandhi (played by Annu Kapoor) in a leading role. Also shows how Sardar’s perception of Bapu changes after listening to one of Bapu’s lectures.

The Making of the Mahatma (1996)

Directed by Shyam Benegal, the movie focuses on the young Gandhi (played by Rajit Kapoor) and his early years in South Africa. Its based on Fatima Meer’s book “The Apprenticeship of the Mahatma”.

Hey Ram (2000)

Directed by Kamal Hassan, the film’s background is on India’s partition and Gandhi’s assassination by Nathuram Godse. Kamal Hassan plays Saket Ram, who plans to kill Bapu (played by Naseeruddin Sahah) but later changes his mind. The film also has Shahrukh Khan in a small role.

Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar (2000)

Directed by Jabbar Patel, this is among the very few films based on the controversies around Bapu, how he used non-cooperative methods and fasting strategies to ensure his demands were met. The role of Ambedkar was played by Mammootty and Mohan Gokhale played the part of Gandhi.

The Legend of Bhagat Singh (2002)

Directed by Rajkumar Santoshi, the movie’s protagonist is Bhagat Singh (played by Ajay Devgn) who’s popularity is shown to be on par with that of Gandhi (many claim it was that way in real life). Towards the end, Gandhi (played by Surendra Rajan) is shown as having failed to stop the hanging of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev & Rajguru when he signs a pact with Lord Irwin.

Lage Raho Munnabhai (2006)

Directed by Rajkumar Hirani, Lage Raho Munnabhai is a commercial Bollywood film that preaches the teachings of Gandhi (played by Dilip Prabhavalkar) and shows how Gandhi’s principles can be used to solve our daily problems.

Gandhi My Father (2007)

Directed by Feroz Abbas Khan (and produced by Anil Kapoor), Gandhi My Father shows the strained relationship between the Mahatma (played by Darshan Jariwala) and his son Hiralal (played by Akshaye Khanna), and Hiralal’s eventual downfall (who’s determined to find out his individuality).


Did you know?
This movie also caused a major rift between Anil Kapoor (the producer) and Anupam Kher, which took years to heal.

Anil Kapoor wanted to cast Anupam Kher as Gandhi inhis film, but instead, Anupam chose to produce ‘Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara’. Anil saw Anupam’s production plans as an encroachment in his territory, and that’s how the trouble started. Anupam had clarified, “How could Anil feel threatened by Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara? My film isn’t about Mahatma Gandhi. It’s about a man who thinks he killed Gandhiji. If this is the reason for his anger then I’m sorry to say he’s completely misinformed.”

After almost 6 years (these guys have big egos), Anil Kapoor and Anupam Kher finally ended their war and extended an olive branch to each other.


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