Contrasting Review of Gandhi (1982)
Updated: Mar 24
(CHARLOTTESVILLE, DAVINCI) - What stood out to me the most in the Movie Gandhi was Gandhi’s loyalty to his principles. His beliefs are what made him want to make a change in his world, and he always maintained his principals by utilizing strategy in place of violence.
Gandhi wanted India to become independent, and therefore end the suffering of the people of India. However, becoming independent would not resolve India’s problems. India and Britain were codependent, and, without the strength of Britain, India would be left nearly defenseless. However, Gandhi’s principles are what drove him, and, to him as well as the people of India, freedom was more valuable than power.
The strategy Gandhi used to break Britain was incredible in more ways than one. A particularly interesting part of his protests was the subtle yet essential applications of his history as an attorney. Although, once his cause became a phenomenon, he didn’t make the slightest effort to avoid arrest. In the beginning of his rebellion, he executed his movements while assuring that legally he and his followers were safe. Later on, Gandhi’s status neutralized the threat of arrest. Gandhi denied to fight against arrest in court on numerous occasions due to the publicity he would gain by being arrested, and the motivation it would give his followers.
Along with his disregard for arrest, he used the clothes he wore as an outlet to express his desire for independence. The traditional clothing he started wearing after his first prolonged arrest was used to represent his detachment from british possessions, like the suits and ties he used to wear. He started to spin his own clothes as a way to ensure their production in India. Along with his rejection of wearing British made goods, he burned them as well, to sever any connection with his captors. Not only was this a literal way of detaching himself from Britain, but also a symbolic way of showing his dedication.
The salt march was a grand moment led by Gandhi against Britain. At the time, Britain held a monopoly on salt and Indian merchants were not allowed to sell it. So, as a representation of his disregard for British government, he marched to the shore in order to make and sell forbidden salt. On his march, he was accompanied by thousands of Indian citizens who wanted to see an independant India as much as he did.
After watching the movie, I gained a better understanding of what Gandhi fought for and why he fought for it. However, I felt that a lot of the dramatization cast several components in Gandhi's story in a bad light and failed to address others. One that struck me the most was the representation of Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan and a close colleague of Gandhi. The way he’s portrayed in the movie makes him seem cold and less sympathetic than Gandhi.
Although the movie had flaws, it still addresses the British Raj (British rule in India) in a way that’s easy to take in, and I walked away from the movie with a much better understanding of who Gandhi was and what he did.