British filmmaker Richard Attenborough, 90, breathed his last on Sunday afternoon. Known for his 1982 film Gandhi that won eight Oscars, Attenborough reportedly spent his last years in a nursing home with his wife. The iconic film’s cast is mourning the death of the veteran auteur.
Actor Om Puri, who played Nahari in the film, says, “Any human being who uses his whole energy and capability to contribute in the society becomes valuable for the coming generation. Attenborough was one of them. He used his full potential as an actor and as a director and besides that he has contributed a lot to us by making Gandhi. With the film, the image of India has changed worldwide because it was a huge success and practically everybody in the world has seen it.” The actor adds that he unfortunately “worked with him only for a night for a scene which was very important for the film.”
Similarly, Alyque Padamsee, who played Mohammed Ali Jinnah, says, “He had seen me for just five minutes at my Mumbai residence before he offered me the role. Without taking a screen test, he had asked me to directly go to London for the costume trial. He was the calmest director I have ever met.”
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Dolly Thakore, who was the casting in-charge, adds, “We started the film in 1979 and finished it in 1982, yet it feels like just yesterday. He loved the kakori kebabs from Copper Chimney, and would have them whenever he could.”
Actor Ben Kingsley, who played Gandhi, says, “Richard Attenborough trusted me with the crucial and central task of bringing to life a dream it took him 20 years to bring to fruition. When he gave me the part of Gandhi, it was with great grace and joy. He placed in me an absolute trust and in turn I placed an absolute trust in him and grew to love him.”
"He gave me my break in films. The memories of Gandhi, that I shot 35 years ago, are constantly playing on my mind", says Alok Nath (who played Tyeb Mohammed).