Gandhi, My Father (2007)
Director: Feroz Abbas Khan
Producer: Anil Kapoor
Cinematography: David MacDonals
Editing: Sreekar Prasad
Production Design: Nitin Chandrakant Desai
Sound: Resul Pookutty
Make-up: Penny Smith
Cast: Darshan Jariwala (Mahatma Gandhi), Akshaye Khanna (Harilal Gandhi),
Shefali Shah (Kasturba Gandhi), Bhumika Chawla (Gulab Gandhi)

Being the biggest celebrity that this nation has ever seen in its modern existence is indeed a tough job. And the immense responsibility that comes with the status makes it more difficult to maintain the balance between the different aspects of life. The Father of the Nation, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, didn’t perhaps fit into the role of an ideal parent especially for his eldest son, Harilal Mohandas Gandhi.

Gandhi, My Father is about this turbulent relationship between the Mahatma and his son, who felt his surname to be a disadvantage. But didn’t shy away from flaunting it when the need arose.

“He is the greatest father that you can have… but he is one father I wish I didn’t have” – Harilal Gandhi

“In your laboratory experiments, unfortunately I am the one truth that has gone wrong”

Feroz Abbas Khan, who also directed the much-talked-about play Mahatma vs Gandhi, does a good job of the film, but shies away from highlighting the subtle moments and emotions in a father-son relationships. Everything is then and there, things don’t exactly evolve. But David MacDonald’s helps hide many such blemishes with his competent cinematography.

There’s also humour in the film, I found myself and my companion smiling, if not laughing, especially during the first half. Akshaye Khanna is a fine actor and plays his role well, though not to the hilt. The best performance though comes from Shefali Shah as Kasturba Gandhi.

The film doesn’t bore, but also doesn’t engross. Ideally, one would have expected better from a director who has handled the subject before. The script, I felt, actually goes against the title. It should’ve been called Harilal, My Son – but then Gandhi sells, so even Mahatma, My Father was out of the question. Though the promos would like you to believe otherwise, the movie leaves the impact that Harilal the undeserving son and the Mahatma wasn’t exactly a failed father.

If I’m not mistaken, I noticed the Hero Cycle’s ‘H’ on the front some of the cycles used in the movie but Hero Cycles came into being about eight years after where the story of the film ends. There’s not much drama, not much of a story either. Ignore my nitpicking and watch the movie for its authentic feel.

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