7 user

The Making of the Mahatma (1996)

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was invited to South Africa in 1893 to settle a case for a wealthy Indian settled there. He expected to return in a few months but instead got involved in the freedom movement and eventually stayed for 21 years.


Shyam Benegal


Fatima Meer (based on her book "Apprenticeship of a Mahatma")
1 win. See more awards »


Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?



Credited cast:
Rajit Kapoor ... Barrister Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
Pallavi Joshi ... Kasturba Gandhi
Keith Stevenson Keith Stevenson ... Rustomjee
Paul Slabolepszy Paul Slabolepszy ... Jan Smuts
Himal Devnarain Himal Devnarain ... Cachalia
Strini Pillai Strini Pillai ... Dada Abdullah
Charles Pillai Charles Pillai ... Thambi Naidoo
John Whiteley John Whiteley ... Harry Escombe
Dale Cutts Dale Cutts ... Reverend Baker
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ronny Belcher Ronny Belcher ... West
Lieb Bester Lieb Bester ... Boer Coach Leader
Douglas Bristow Douglas Bristow ... Mr. Chamney
David Clatworthy ... Kallenbach
Paul Ditchfield Paul Ditchfield ... Fowle
Peter J. Elliott Peter J. Elliott ... Pretoria Jail Superintendent (as Peter Elliot)


One of two feuding Mohammedan cousins living in Britain but of Indian origin seek the assistance of an Indian Barrister to travel to Britain and settle their matter in a court of law. The Barrister travels to Britain, and finds that all Asians are treated as coolies, and their status is worse than of servants. Despite of being dressed in a suit and a tie, he is thrown out of a first class train compartment; is asked to remove his cap in a court of law; asked to ride with the driver of the coach; and even shoved out on the footpath for daring to walk close to a bureaucrat's premises; beaten, and abused with no recourse to any justice. His attempts to grieve these issues is met with strong governmental and bureauctatic disapproval and opposition. Notwithstanding this, he settles the dispute between the two cousins out of court, and sets about trying to organize the local Asians to assert their rights, and even represents some of them in Court. Then he journeys to Durban, South Africa, ... Written by rAjOo (gunwanti@hotmail.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Resistance without violence. Confrontation without enemies. Victory without losers.


See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Naseeruddin Shah was to do the film but dropped out due to his price. See more »

User Reviews

Great Direction from a master director
31 March 2008 | by chakutSee all my reviews

This is the story of how Gandhi became the "Mahatma" ("Great Soul") --- a very realistic portrayal of the incidents that led to a determined effort for the betterment of people of non-European origin in South Africa. The make-up and acting of Rajit Kapoor as Gandhi is commendable. Pallavi Joshi plays her part, as Kasturba Gandhi, almost to perfection. The other actors and actresses in the movie are good, too. A very good cinematography and excellent back-ground score make the movie a superior one. Plus, of course, Shyam Benegal proves once more that he is one of the greatest directors in Indian cinema. It is a shame that his movies do not get the attention they should in the world film scenario.

0 of 0 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 7 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.



South Africa | India



Release Date:

4 October 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Apprenticeship of a Mahatma See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

We've Got Your Streaming Picks Covered

Looking for some great streaming picks? Check out some of the IMDb editors' favorites movies and shows to round out your Watchlist.

Visit our What to Watch page

Recently Viewed