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Gandhi (1982) Poster

(1982)

Trivia

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Ben Kingsley's (born Krishna Bhanji) paternal family was from the Indian state of Gujarat, the same state Mohandas K. Gandhi was from.
Ben Kingsley looked so much like Mohandas K. Gandhi, many natives thought him to be Gandhi's ghost.
There is a scene where Gandhi is insulted by walking on the side walk of South Africa by some young boys. One of them is none other than Daniel Day-Lewis.
300,000 extras appeared in the funeral sequence. About 200,000 were volunteers and 94,560 were paid a small fee (under contract). The sequence was filmed on 31st Jan 1981, the 33rd anniversary of Mohandas K. Gandhi's funeral. 11 crews shot over 20,000 feet of film, which was pared down to 125 seconds in the final release.
The Indian government provided one third of the film's budget.
When plans for the film were announced, Richard Attenborough held a press conference in Delhi for the Indian media. There was much concern expressed about how such a revered figure as Gandhi, a virtual deity to many Indians, would or should be portrayed on screen. One female journalist seriously suggested that Gandhi should only be shown as a brilliant white light moving across the screen(!) An exasperated Attenborough snapped back:" Madam, I am not making a film about bloody Tinkerbell! "
Dustin Hoffman had expressed an early desire to play the title role in Gandhi (1982), but was offered Tootsie (1982) the same year and ended up taking the latter role. He eventually lost the Oscar that year to Ben Kingsley who played Mohandas K. Gandhi.
Ben Kingsley prepared for his role by studying newsreel footage of Gandhi, reading books on and by the man, dieting, losing weight, practicing Yoga and learning to spin thread just as Gandhi did.
Richard Attenborough won the Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director for this film, even though he had expected, and hoped, that Steven Spielberg would win for E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982). Attenborough would later work with Spielberg in Jurassic Park (1993), while Ben Kingsley appeared later that same year in Schindler's List (1993), which finally won Spielberg the Best Director and Best Picture Oscars.
Some say that Steven Spielberg cast Richard Attenborough as John Hammond in Jurassic Park (1993) as thanks for his support on Oscar night when Gandhi (1982) trounced E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982).
No studio was interested in financing the film. Richard Attenborough cited that most of the financing were solicited from: 1. Joseph E. Levine who agreed to finance in exchange of Attenborough directing A Bridge Too Far (1977) and Magic (1978). 2. The sale of the ownership share of "The Mousetrap". 3. Jake Eberts, a friend of Attenborough. The remaining of the money were solicited from major companies in England minus the BBC.
While filming in some of the more rural villages in India, with Ben Kingsley in full make-up as Gandhi, some of the older members of the communities were confused as they thought they were seeing the real man again.
Richard Attenborough and his wife Sheila Sim owned a share of the rights in Britain's longest-running play "The Mousetrap" which they sold to fund the production of this movie.
Martin Sheen donated his salary to charity.
Mohandas K. Gandhi (played by Ben Kingsley) travels to London, he stays at Kingsley Hall. This is a historical coincidence, and not a cute reference by the filmmakers.
When he won the part, Ben Kingsley decamped to India and lived as best he could as Gandhi himself.
The film takes place from June 7, 1893 to January 31, 1948.
For the funeral scene, advertisements calling for 400,000 extras were either distributed in pamphlets and by newspapers in Delhi. Extras were not allowed to wear anything other than white and as part of security measures, turnstiles were built at selected entry points for crowd control. The crew bought any clothing that was not white.
It was originally intended in the funeral scene to use a wax effigy of Ben Kingsley as Gandhi. However, on the day, it was clear to Richard Attenborough that the wax dummy would fool no one so Kingsley was asked to lie on the funeral pyre. He kept his eyes shut throughout, despite having petals fall on him constantly.
Ben Kingsley learned to spin cloth in the same way that Gandhi did. He didn't find this to be particularly challenging. Instead, the real problem he encountered was to spin and talk at the same time which he had major difficulties trying to master.
It was Michael Attenborough, Richard Attenborough's son, who recommended Ben Kingsley to his father.
In 1962, Richard Attenborough received a phone call from an Indian civil servant called Motilai Kothari who was working with the Indian High Commission in London. Kothari was a devout follower of Gandhi and was convinced that Attenborough would be the perfect choice to make a film about him. Attenborough read Louis Fischer's biography of the Indian statesman and agreed with Motilai, though it would take him 18 years to fulfil the dream. His first act was to meet with the then Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, and his daughter, Indira Gandhi, as well as Lord Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of India. Nehru approved of his plan and promised to help support the production but his death in 1964 was just one in a long line of setbacks.
Gandhi's funeral scene employed 400,000 extras which makes it into the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest number of extras in one scene. This is a record that is likely to remain, as huge crowd scenes these days are largely done via CGI. The extras were not paid, they were all volunteers who came to honor the memory of Gandhi. This scene was shot on 31st January 1981, the 33rd anniversary of Gandhi's assassination, and employed 19 different cameras.
In John Ratzenberger's brief scene, his voice is dubbed by Martin Sheen.
Richard Attenborough first offered Candice Bergen her cameo role in 1966 while they were filming The Sand Pebbles (1966).
The 12th highest grossing film in the US in 1982.
This first of the three features that Roshan Seth plays Nehru. The other ones were Bharat Ek Khoj (1988) and The Last Days of the Raj (2007).
David Lean and Sam Spiegel planned to make a film about Gandhi with Alec Guinness as the Mahatma after they'd finished The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) but then they opted to make Lawrence of Arabia (1962) instead.
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Before filming, Richard Attenborough turned down Geraldine James' request to have an audio recording of the real Madeleine Slade / Mirabehn as part of researching the role. Instead she was told to play it straight like a normal English woman. Later she discovered the reason: after filming she was allowed to listen to the recording (taped between Attenborough and Slade in Austria) only to discover that Slade talks with an Indian accent, having spent 34 years in India talking in Hindi as well. It was James' friend, casting director Susie Figgis who recommended her for the role.
In the DVD director's commentary, Richard Attenborough mistakenly says that Ian Charleson died of cancer. This is not the case, Charleson died of an AIDS-related illness in 1990, the first mainstream British celebrity to do so. Upon his death, Charleson requested that the full cause of his demise be made public in order to bring greater awareness of the disease.
Ben Kingsley studied for the part by watching five hours of newsreel footage of Gandhi in one sitting.
Both Winston Churchill and Charles Chaplin are mentioned in the film. Richard Attenborough directed biopics of each of these men: Young Winston (1972) and Chaplin (1992) respectively.
Part of an early 1980s cycle of British productions set in India. These included Gandhi (1982), Heat and Dust (1983), The Far Pavilions (1984), A Passage to India (1984), Octopussy (1983) and The Jewel in the Crown (1984).
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The film shot for 12 months and used up 23,000 feet of film.
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Alec Guinness, Albert Finney, Peter Finch, Tom Courtney, Dirk Bogarde, and Anthony Hopkins were all originally considered for the role of Mohandas K. Gandhi.
By the late 60s, Richard Attenborough was still struggling to get the film made. Figuring that David Lean might still be interested in the project, he approached the world-renowned director who agreed to make the film but then changed his mind to go make Ryan's Daughter (1970) instead.
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John Hurt and Tom Courtenay were among the actors approached by Richard Attenborough about playing the lead role. Ben Kingsley was recommended for the role by Harold Pinter, who had seen him in a play; Pinter made the suggestion to Sam Spiegel, an associate of Attenborough's.
The last film of John Boxer and Sir John Clements.
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Illness prevented cinematographer Billy Williams from completing the film. Ronnie Taylor flew out from England to assist him and ended up completing cinematographic duties. Both men were awarded Oscars for their work on Gandhi (1982).
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Trevor Howard shot his cameo as Judge Broomfield in two days.
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A duplicate of the film's Best Picture Oscar is on display at the "World of Coca-Cola" exhibit in Atlanta, Georgia. Columbia, the film's distributor, was owned by the Coca-Cola Company at the time.
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Steven Spielberg, who lost the Best Picture and Best Director awards to Richard Attenborough, later used several cast members in his own films. Roshan Seth and Om Puri appeared together again in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984). Director Richard Attenborough appeared in Jurassic Park (1993). Ben Kingsley appeared in Schindler's List (1993), which finally did win Best Picture and Best Director for Spielberg. Nigel Hawthorne appeared in Amistad (1997). Martin Sheen appeared in Catch Me If You Can (2002). Finally, Daniel Day-Lewis appeared in Lincoln (2012), which which he, like Kingsley, won an Oscar for Best Actor, and in which his character is also felled by an assassin.
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At one stage, during the long development history of the film, Richard Attenborough offered Anthony Hopkins the role of Ghandi. When Hopkins called his father to tell him the news, his father responded: "Oh, it's a comedy then, is it?"
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Last English-language cinema film of Dominic Guard. He has since had a long career in British television and a cameo in the French film L'homme qui a perdu son ombre (1991).
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When this film was released in 1982, there were some strong criticisms against this film. Richard Grenier wrote both an article and a book called "The Gandhi Nobody Knows (1983)" criticizing both this film and Indian Government for portraying Gandhi as a saint. Grenier points out that the government of India openly admits to having provided one-third of the financing of Gandhi out of state funds, straight out of the national treasury. Grenier's book inspired Col. G.B. Singh to write the book "Gandhi Behind the Mask of Divinity" and co-write the book "Gandhi under cross examination" with Timothy Watson (also known as Timothy Spearman) which contains more criticisms against Gandhi. Timothy Watson also wrote couple of articles criticizing about Gandhi being portrayed as a Saint.
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Selected by the Vatican in the "values" category of its list of 45 "great films."
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Features Bernard Hill in a small role. Hill would go on to appear in a Best Picture Oscar winner for each of the following decades: Titanic (1997) and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003).
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Gerald Sim (Magistrate) was the brother-in-law of the director Richard Attenborough.
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In 1952 Gabriel Pascal secured an agreement from the then Prime Minister of India, Pandit Nehru, to make a film of Gandhi's life. However, Pascal died two years later before preparations were completed.
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Richard Attenborough, who was British, directed this film about an Indian political leader. He would later appear in Elizabeth (1998), a film about a British political leader directed by Indian filmmaker Shekhar Kapur.
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Robert Bolt initially considered Marlon Brando for the lead. "He might allow the part to eat him, instead of him eating the part."
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We are told, but never shown, that Gandhi meets Charles Chaplin. Ben Kingsley later appeared in Iron Man Three (2013) with Robert Downey Jr., who had played Chaplin, also for directer Richard Attenborough.
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Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
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The Ian Charleson part was first intended for Michael Denison.
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Dominic Guard previously appeared in Ralph Bakshi's The Lord of the Rings (1978). Michael Hordern appeared in the BBC Radio drama of The Lord of the Rings, while Bernard Hill appeared in Peter Jackson's films. Mohammad Ali Jinnah later became the subject of his own film, Jinnah (1998), which starred Christopher Lee.
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The film cast includes four Oscar winners: Ben Kingsley, John Gielgud, John Mills and Daniel Day-Lewis; and four Oscar nominees: Candice Bergen, Trevor Howard, Ian Bannen and Nigel Hawthorne.
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According to Geoffrey C. Ward's essay about the film in Mark C. Carnes' book "Past Imperfect: History According to the Movies," the Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had told Richard Attenborough in 1963 not to deify Gandhi, since Gandhi was too great a man to be deified. The essay makes the point that Attenborough turned it into a mantra that lost its meaning and that film essentially deified Gandhi, leaving out anything about his life that could be construed as negative.
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Included among the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the 400 movies nominated for the Top 100 Greatest American Movies.
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Laurence Olivier was announced for General Dyer in 1980. Before David Lean had to abort his version of the Mahatma's life, Olivier was scheduled to portray the last viceroy of India, Lord Mountbatten.
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In 1965 Joseph E. Levine and his Embassy Productions would be filming this in October with Attenborough directing on a budget of $5.5m.
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Ian Charleson and John Gielgud previously appeared in Chariots of Fire (1981), also a Best Picture Oscar winner.
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Edward Fox's brother, James Fox, appeared in Jinnah (1998).
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

Gandhi's last words "Oh God!" are inscribed on his memorial in India in Hindi.
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Although Gandhi (1982) won several Oscars, still many historians see this film as a propaganda. This is because Clement Atlee (British Prime Minister from 1945 to 1951 who declared freedom to India from British Empire) revealed to P.B. Chakraborthy (who served as both acting governor of West Bengal and Chief justice of Calcutta High Court in India) that the principal reason for the freedom of India from British Empire in 1947 was the erosion of loyalty to the British Crown among the Indian army and navy personnel as a result of the military activities of Indian leader Subhas Chandra Bose. When PB Chakraborthy asked Atlee about the extent of Gandhi's influence upon the British decision to quit India, Atlee slowly chewed out the word, "m-i-n-i-m-a-l!" (Sources - Ranjan Borra's article "Subhas Chandra Bose, The Indian National Army, and The War of India's Liberation"). Famous Indian Politician Dr. B.R. Ambedkar in his 1955 BBC interview also revealed that the freedom of India from British Empire came as a result of the efforts of Indian leader Subhas Chandra Bose and his Indian soldiers.
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