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The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags are used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.
For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Gandhi can be found here.
Following the opening scene in which the January 1948 assassination and funeral of the Mahatma Gandhi is shown, the movie backs up to 1893 and relates the events that led Mohandas K. Gandhi (Ben Kingsley), then an Indian-British lawyer, to begin a non-violent protest campaign for the rights of Indians against British rule.
The screenplay for Gandhi was written by John Briley. The movie won the 1983 Academy Award for Best Motion Picture.
The first invitation was made in 1966 when the two were in the Far East shooting The Sand Pebbles (1966). Attenborough hoped one day to direct the Gandhi biopic and felt that Candice Bergen would be ideal in the role of Margaret Bourke-White. Bergen was thrilled, knew the work of Bourke-White, and wanted the role. Bergen was 19 years old at the time, but It would be 16 more years before Gandhi would be realized.
The movie ends as it began. In an attempt to get India's Hindus and Muslims to stop rioting against each other, Gandhi vows to go on a hunger strike until either the violence stops or he dies. As his death draws closer and closer, his friend and advisor Jawaharlal Nehru (Roshan Seth) takes Gandhi's plea to the people to stop the fighting between Hindus and Muslim. Gandhi breaks his fast only when Suhrawardy (Shekhar Chatterjee), the leader of the Muslim uprising, convinces the Muslims to cease rioting and all fighting has stopped. When he grows a bit stronger, Gandhi agrees to address a prayer meeting. As he is led outside by his grandnieces, assassin Nathuram Godse (Harsh Nayyar) steps forward from the crowd and fires three bullets into Gandhi's chest. Gandhi's last words are "Oh God!" as he falls. The scene then cuts to his funeral at which he is cremated and his ashes are scattered in the waters of the Ganges River. In a voiceover Gandhi says,
When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murders, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it. Always.
India was granted freedom from British rule in 1947. Jawaharlal Nehru was named the first prime minister of India and ruled until his death in office in 1964. A piece of land in northwestern India was awarded to the Muslims, which became the current state of Pakistan. Another piece of land in eastern India was awarded to the Muslims, then called Eastern Pakistand but eventually became the current state of Bangladash. A map of the current states of India, Pakistan, and Bangladash can be seen here.
Salt production in India had been heavily regulated by the British in their rule. As stated in the movie during a British high council meeting, only companies with a special permit were allowed to produce and sell salt in the country. The march to the sea was another of Gandhi's many non-violent protest actions. Interestingly, when the segments of the march were filmed, many people from the regions surrounding the shoot actually joined the production.
Yes, the massacre was very real. It took place on April 13th, 1919, in the city of Amritsar in the province of Punjab in Northern India. The massacre itself is referred to as the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, which is the name of the garden where the violence occurred. More info on the event can be read here. From the subsequent investigation and testimony of Dyer himself following the massacre, the Hunter Commission deduced that Dyer had acted in excess of his command. More info on his testimony and the Hunter Commission can be read here.
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