Gandhi’s childhood would make for great film, says great grandson

By Ruchika Kher, IANS,

New Delhi : There have been films on Mahatma Gandhi’s freedom struggle, his values, beliefs and even one on how he fared as a father to his son, but now his great grandson Tushar Gandhi says he would like to see Bapu’s childhood years on the big screen.

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“I would love to see a film that brings alive the childhood of my great grandfather. Not many know about that phase of Bapu’s life,” Tushar told IANS in an interview.

“Most films made on him till date depict times when he was grown and was struggling for the country’s freedom. But the time when many qualities were inculcated in him, when he was learning to be the person he became later, still remains unknown to majority. I think that will be something interesting to see,” he added.

Tushar will be seen playing himself in “Road to Sangam”, a film also inspired by the Father of the Nation and his principles.

In the past, films like “Gandhi” (1982) by Richard Attenborough, “Hey Ram” (2000) by Kamal Haasan and “Gandhi, My Father” (2007) by Anil Kapoor all centred on Gandhi. Then one saw Rajkumar Hirani’s “Lage Raho Munnabhai”, which popularised Gandhian values in a lighter vein packaged as ‘Gandhigiri’.

Another aspect of the Mahatma’s life Tushar thinks can be highlighted through films is his student life in London. “Not much has been shown about Bapu’s life in London when he was studying to be a barrister. Many changes occurred in his life at that time. This too will be interesting to see,” revealed the 50-year-old Gandhi.

So would he like to helm a film, taking up either of the two subjects?

“I’m not capable of directing a film. That is something I have no knowledge of. But, yes, if someone wants to take these subjects and convert them into a film, I would be more than happy to help them,” said Tushar.

Even though Tushar, who heads the Mahatma Gandhi Foundation, has no plans to wield the megaphone, he has not shied away from going in front of the camera. He plays himself in debutant filmmaker Amit Rai’s “Road To Sangam”, which stars Paresh Rawal and Om Puri.

“I’m playing myself in the film. It’s a small role…around 10 minutes, where I will be seen immersing Bapu’s ashes in the Triveni sangam. It was good fun and I didn’t have to try very hard because I had to be me and not someone else,” Tushar said.

“This is the second time I am acting in a film. Earlier I had played myself in Kamal Haasan’s ‘Hey Ram’,” he added.

“Road To Sangam”, set in present-day Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh, revolves around the character of Hashmatullah, a Muslim mechanic played by Paresh, who rebuilt an old car to ferry an urn containing Gandhi-ji’s ashes to commemorate his death anniversary. The film releases Jan 29.

Throwing light on why he decided to take up the role, Tushar said: “Amit came to me with the script and asked me to do this role. Initially I was quite surprised but I was sold by the boldness of the script. The message that the film gives really appealed to me and so I decided to take up this role.”

(Ruchika Kher can be contacted at [email protected])