By Fuad Omar, IndiaFM
Hollywood stars are expressing interest in the forthcoming international release, "Gandhi My Father", based on the untold story of Gandhi's tragic relationship with his eldest son. The Former South African President and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Nelson Mandela, has requested a private screening of the film.
Often referred to as the living legacy of Mahatma Gandhi and the Gandhi of South Africa, Mandela is now looking forward to seeing a film based on his "favourite hero". The leader who, of late, has cut down on his public appearances, was due to make an exception primarily for the screening which was held in Johannesburg on July 29th 2007.
Actor Anil Kapoor, who has turned producer with this film said: "It is an absolute honour that Nelson Mandela will be seeing my film. He is, perhaps, the biggest world leader that we have, and also someone who comes closest to Gandhi."
British actress, Sienna Miller also saw the film on a brief trip to India, which saw her promoting ways to combat global warming. She commented: "The film was unlike most Bollywood films in the fact that it had very little singing and dancing in it. In fact it was more of a sad tale about the life of Gandhi's son. The director and lead actor met us after the film and presented us with signed programmes."
"I just want to say what a beautiful piece of work it is, fantastically acted, beautifully directed, the way it is shot is stunning. And I'm so overwhelmed, its just wonderful, wonderful piece of work and I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to see the film so very early, so thank you and congratulations to everyone involved."
Hollywood actors Will Smith and Goldie Hawn, who are known as Gandhi supporters, have already seen the film's initial showreel and were deeply affected by the film. Smith was quoted as saying he was "very impressed with the canvas of the film and the emotional intensity of the actors".
"Gandhi My Father" has been called the best Indian film of 2007 (The Times) and is a powerful study of the nature and sufferings of the patriarchal relationship between one of the world's most loved figures – 'Mahatma' Gandhi - and his misfortunate eldest son Harilal.
The film delves into a territory that has never before been visited by film, and will spark debate by bringing to light an unknown facet of the personal history of a man who transformed the soul of a nation, but who could not save the soul of his own son.
The team behind “Gandhi My Father”, especially producer Anil Kapoor, has taken a risk with a film they believe in and a story they feel needs to be told. As Gandhi himself once said: "A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history."
They have already generated an excitement about the film across the globe and the film releases this Friday. Here's hoping the message and the film go down in history as one of the most memorable motion picture experiences from Indian cinema about a man who remains revered the world over, and the subject closest to his heart: family.