BIFFes 2019: 150 Years of the Mahatma

BIFFes 2019: 150 Years of the Mahatma

Vemgal Somashekar dressed like Mahatma Gandhi stands next to Gandhidevi film poster at BIFFes 2019. DH Photo by SK Dinesh

As an early commemoration of Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary this year, BIFFes had a section dedicated to the Mahatma. Four films were screened as part of this special: two Kannada, one Hindi and one English.

First up was The Making of the Mahatma (1996) by Shyam Benegal, a film that won acting and best film awards at the National Film Awards in 1996. This film focuses on Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi as a London-trained barrister who faces racism in South Africa, where he fights for the rights of Asian labourers.

The second feature, ‘Gandhi, My Father’ by Feroze Abbas Khan (2007), a film that focuses on Gandhi’s son, Harilal, won critical acclaim at many international film festivals, including Tokyo IFF and Asia-Pacific Screen awards.

The Kannada films on Gandhi were Girish Kasaravalli’s ‘Koormavatara’ (2011) and ‘Gandhi Devi’ (2018) by Naganatha M Joshi.

Moviegoers were in for a surprise to see someone in character for the promotion of these films. Interestingly, the most well-known Gandhi biopic featuring Sir Ben Kingsley as Gandhi was missing from the selection.