“You remember Mahatma Gandhi only on two days, October 2 and January 30,” cries Uttam Chaudhary in the last scene of the movie Maine Gandhi Ko Nahi Maara. How fitting that our Actor Prepares Diploma batch got the chance to see this beautiful movie on Gandhi Jayanti – on the 10th anniversary of the iconic Liberty Cinema. We also had the good fortune of having the company of the National Award winning director of the movie, Jahnu Barua, in our midst.
Mr. Barua shared with us the startling truth that the script had been written almost ten years before the film was released. He shared with us how he had used the purity of childhood, and the essence of truth in the mind of the mentally ill patient’s mind to get to the crux of his script. He asked brutally, “Is Gandhi relevant today? Gandhi is being killed in this country every moment. If you look at the situation of the country today, you get the feeling that we have all killed Gandhi. This, as a filmmaker is my statement.” This bitter truth remained with me.
As students of acting, Barua asked us to observe each character. I started visualising the bond I share with my father on seeing the poignant depiction of the father-daughter relationship. The special bond that we have, the undying love, and the guilt and fear that I feel, knowing that while he is getting older I have to live away from him. This empathy, I believe is one of the essences of good cinema, where you live what you see on screen. Kher sir’s performance was absolutely brilliant, and as an actor in training, I saw and realised the hard work and effort I would need to put in over the coming months to master this complex art.
As our classes emphasise honesty in our performances, there could be no better example for us than to watch our own teacher bring in so much truth to a role with as many nuances as that of Mr. Uttam Chaudhary. This was truly a wonderful experience, and I speak on behalf of everyone when I say we all left with one thought in our hearts, ‘Himmat karne walon ki har nahi hoti…’
I have seen a lot of movies on Gandhiji but Maine Gandhi Ko Nahi Maara was so different in terms of the concept. What I really liked about the film was the message: that Gandhiji and his teachings should always be alive in us. There was a very interesting incident that Mr. Barua shared with us. He said that he had gotten a mail from a guy who told him that he had gone to see the film by mistake and that it was the best mistake of his life!! As a student of acting, I truly feel that this film taught me about characters and how hard I’ll have to work on it. It has been such an exhilarating experience for me.