Gandhi has been misunderstood, says filmmaker Anand Patwardhan
In an upcoming talk, titled, ‘Gandhi in my film’, Patwardhan will be digging out certain extracts from his films that referenced GandhiUpdated: Aug 02, 2019, 14:53 IST
Documentary filmmaker Anand Patwardhan has been known for making films that are bold and could make people uncomfortable. They are often a critique of the times we live in. In an upcoming event organised by Junoon, he will be seen and heard talking about, ‘Gandhi in my film’. In the event, Patwardhan will be digging out certain extracts from his films that referenced Gandhi. The event is scheduled to take place on August 3 at Mcubed Library, Bandra (W), at 5pm.
When asked about why this need to discuss Mahatma Gandhi vis-a-vis his films, Patwardhan says, there is no direct relationship between his films and Gandhi. However, according to him, there has been an attack on Gandhi from all the ideologies that exist in the country. “It is because Gandhi has become so strangely unpopular that I have decided to talk about this subject. I am looking at my films over time, I will probably take out some extracts that give you some idea of my thinking in relation to Gandhi. None of my films are about Gandhi. I have only referenced him in some of my films. But, I thought, maybe I could put all those references together, and make it more cohesive, and talk about it,” he says.
Patwardhan says that in the eyes of the right wing, Gandhi was a betrayer of Hinduism, and that he set out to appease Muslims. He says, “They also claim that he caused partition but he was against partition. He was so depressed by the partition and the violence that was occurring that he didn’t even attend the independence day celebrations. He believed that all religions are equal and we have to treat all of them with dignity and respect.”
Gandhi stood for non-violence and development of the poor, but Patwardhan says, everything that he stood for has gone for a toss. He says, “In the progressive circles, he is looked at as being a casteist. Gandhi was a revolutionary who fought against caste, he was one of the first people who cleaned his own toilet. Gandhi insisted that in his ashram, all his followers had to do manual scavenging, that was a big blow against the caste system. I want to talk about how people have misunderstood and misrepresented him over the years.”
Patwardhan has referenced Gandhi in many of his films such as War and Peace, Reason, etc. To some extent, many of them may not have a direct reference to Gandhi but his first film, Waves of Revolution, for instance was about a non-violent movement in Bihar. “My films are political. My films are a critique of the regime we live in,” he says.
All of Patwardhan’s films have faced censorship from the Indian government, eventually being cleared after legal action. When asked about what should young filmmakers who want to do similar work as that of him should do, he says, “If you want to tell the truth in today’s India, it is very difficult, no matter what you’re doing, whether it is filmmaking or journalism.”
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