Category Archives: character

Gandhi and Cinema


After death of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (Mahatma Gandhi), on 30 Jan 1948, fifty-eight plus years have passed. During these years the greatness of Mahatma has faded out from the mind of people. Today we see Gandhi only on statues & city roads names. He is nowhere in the hearts of young generation. His principles of ‘satya’ and ‘ahimsa’, honesty got confined to the text books of the school students. From this state he has now been freed and his principles came to the light by a popular Bollywood hindi film and he has become a popular icon of ‘satya’ ‘ahimsa’ and truth to the young generation.

But what was his views about cinema? What was the thinking of Mahatma on Cinema of his times? ‘Father of Nation’ himself thought cinema as ‘often bad’ and ‘sinful’. Once he viewed on the Indian cinema expressing a frank opinion: “Cinema is a sinful technology”.

His newspaper editorials and letters to film associations equated cinema with evils like gambling, sutta, horse racing and so on. In his paper, ‘Harijan’, he wrote, “If I began to organise picketing in respect of them (the evil of cinema), I should lose my caste, my Mahatmaship.”

Once Mahatma replied to the Indian Cinematograph Committee, dated November 12, 1927 with characteristic humility: “I should be unfit to answer your questionnaire as I have never been to a cinema.” (Source : Times of India).

Such was the views of Mahatma about cinema. But in 1982, he himself became the subject of that sinful technology, Cinema, when famous director Richard Attenborough portrayed him in his ‘Gandhi’ and through this film he once again came to the light of today’s world.

Recently the same cinema has again portrait him and his principles on Ahimsa and non-violence in a Hindi cinema in a different manner. The same cinema the ‘sinful technology’ revived the Gandhi-ism and made the Mahatma’s principles relevant to the today’s generation. It has brought back the Gandhi wave back in the life of the people of India from Kashmir to Kanyakumari by the same cinema only.

Attenborough’s film ‘Gandhi’, made Mahatma better known to the western countries. In a recent survey he has been voted as number one leader of the century. This was not possible without the film “Gandhi”.

Though Mahatma had indifferent opinion about the cinema, but the same cinema has presented him to the world in a better way and the world also realized about his greatness (mahatma) again and again. Had he been alive today, he would certainly have changed his opinion about the cinema because with times, the cinema also has undergone revolutionary changes.

The cinema industry of Gandhi era was not in today’s form. It was another medium of entertainment only and it was not considered as an art or media as of today. So Gandhi was not wrong in his place to consider cinema as a sin at that time.

In this context, I should also bring out the other acts which Mahatma used to consider as sins. Mr. Jimmy Carter, Ex president of US, said : according to Gandhi, the seven sins are :

“Wealth without works,

Pleasure without conscience,

Knowledge without character,

Commerce without morality,

Science without humanity,

Worship without sacrifice

and politics without principle.”

It is needless to say that the above acts are sins and one should try to avoid in his own life. Let these morals be a mast for life, to sail the life in right direction.




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