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In the name of the Father

Theatre director Feroz Abbas Khan speaks to Princy Jain on his movie Gandhi My Father, which releases on August 3.

india Updated: Jun 28, 2007 12:36 IST

It's time to see another facet of Gandhi.. and that too as a father, not of the nation, but of his son Harilal.

Produced by Anil Kapoor and directed by Feroz Khan, Gandhi: My Father is based on the life of the eldest of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi's children.

Real challenge
Given that this is a period film, it was a challenge for the makers to be authentic. Shot both in English and Hindi, Khan says it took him 100 days to finish the shoot.

"We shot in South Africa, Ahmedabad and Rewari in Haryana. Though it was a smooth run, I would call up Anil, if there were ever any issues with the local authorities or the police." Kapoor's star power helped him a lot of times.

Father of the Nation
"Gandhi is the most documented man so far," Khan reiterates, adding, "One knows of him as the father of the nation, but he had a family also. He loved his son, but he loved his nation more. His son Harilal had the same blood in his veins, but different aspirations. He had nothing against his father. He was just an unexpressed part of Gandhi."

The making
"A tremendous amount of research has gone into the film," asserts Khan. "To get the facts right, I followed and consulted the works of Gandhian scholar Chandulal Bhagubhai Dalal. I also met Harilal's daughter-in-law and consulted Arun Gandhi's book Kasturba."

The next task on hand was to get the right face and look for Gandhi. Khan suggested Darshan Jariwala, a Gujarati theatre artist with whomhe had worked with earlier. When Kapoor met him, he was shocked since Jariwala was "nowhere near Gandhi."

But Khan was sure and he started work right awayon Jariwala's emotional and physical training. Khan says, "I sent him for a course in vipasana to calm him down. Beyond the look and the body language, it was also important for him to feel like Gandhi. And then he was handed over to Anil for physical training. He managed to lose 10 kilos."

Bare truth
Khan is not worried about the onslaught of the moral police. He says, "I have shown the film to the members of the Gandhi family and no one has raised objection. It's just a narration of the events as they happened. It's an emotional love story between a father and son, which holds true of every father-son relationship. The film has got an ‘U' certificate without any cut and that proves the point."

First Published: Jun 28, 2007 11:01 IST