By Subhash K. Jha, IndiaFM
"What a glorious coming-home it was for Mahatma Gandhi!" said
producer Anil Kapoor about the world premiere of Gandhi My Father in
South Africa held this weekend. The South African president Thabo Mbeki
made the time to watch the film.
Anil Kapoor could barely control his emotion. "The entire South
African cabinet was there with us. The President himself spent more than
five hours with me and the director and cast of Gandhi My Father. Nelson
Mandela sent a special message to open the film. Mandela not only spoke
about Gandhi, he spoke about me. What was heartwarming and humbling
was that Mandela thanked me for making this film, whereas in truth I
should thank Mandela and South Africa for letting me shoot Gandhi My
Father in their country and allowing me to hold the world premiere there.
Mandela identified deeply with the film."
Anil couldn't hold back his tears when President Mbeki spoke about
Gandhi and saw the film. There were three screenings held simultaneously.
Says Anil, "Though I had watched the film earlier this experience was
something else. Because my cast – Darshan Jariwala who plays Mahatma
Gandhi, Shefali Shah who plays Kasturba and Akshaye Khanna who plays
their son – were not treated as actors but the characters. Because the
foreigners didn't know who our actors were. So they addressed the three
actors as Gandhi, Kasturba and Harilal."
Now after the South African experience Anil Kapoor feels Gandhi My
Father is his most special experience in the movie business. "It's gone
beyond any of my expectations. Gandhi My Father has taken on its own
life. I don't know where this film is taking me. I'm interacting with people
who would never have been accessible to me as a conventional Mumbai
actor. When President Mbeki said that he'll show Gandhi My Father on the
Ivory Coast I felt I had got the biggest award of my life. He feels the film
might bring together the warring factions on the Ivory Coast. I feel the film
is going beyond boundaries now."
Anil Kapoor will be having no more premieres of Gandhi My Father.
"There was only one premiere of the film. And that was at South Africa.
Now I'll have screenings in Delhi, Mumbai and worldwide. I repeat, the
only world premiere for Gandhi My Father is in South Africa."