Gandhi Godse: Ek Yudh Review - Means Well Overall But Doesn't Fare Particularly Well

A nonetheless from the trailer. (courtesy: PVR Pictures)

Cast: Deepak Antani, Chinmay Mandlekar, Tanisha Santoshi

Director: Rajkumar Santoshi

Rating: 2.5 stars (out of 5)

The yudh within the title of the movie, author-director Rajkumar Santoshi’s first enterprise in a decade, refers as a lot to a bitter tussle between the 2 sharply divergent ideologies that Mahatma Gandhi and Nathuram Godse signify because it does to a warfare to uphold the reality in a reality-free world overrun by divisive forces.  

Barring Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, no chief of India’s freedom battle is subjected to abhorrent myths and sought to be discredited as a lot as Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi is. Gandhi Godse: At first flush, Ek Yudh appears like an trustworthy try and clear the air.  

The movie is a reductionist, revisionist recreation of the assassination of the Father of the Nation by a Hindu zealot and an imagined aftermath. In making an attempt to get its level throughout, it does a balancing act that seems to negate the gravity of the crime.              

A interval drama not solely alters historical past to facilitate a face-to-face debate between Gandhi and Godse, but additionally sick-advisedly seeks to attract a parallel between a frontrunner who stood as much as the would possibly of the British empire and mobilised a complete nation to struggle for freedom and a person pushed by hate and bigotry.    

Gandhi Godse: Ek Yudh means nicely total however doesn’t fare significantly nicely in imagining of what the Mahatma would have stated to, and completed with, Godse had he not succumbed to the bullets the latter fired on January 30, 1948. Quickly getting the assassination out of the best way, the movie veers away from historical past and into the area of fiction. 

Gandhi’s battle to create the nation of his dream continues. He fights the concepts of a person blinded by contempt for him and his pluralistic views in addition to the political compulsions of the boys who run free India’s first authorities, led by Nehru (Pawan Chopra).     

If Gandhi Godse: Ek Yudh feels a contact theatrical, there may be good cause for it. It is predicated on a play by Hindi author Asghar Wajahat, who has additionally penned the movie’s typically pointed dialogues. The movie would have been a stronger takedown of the false anti-Gandhi narrative that enjoys foreign money in sure quarters had it not been riddled with contradictions to the extent that it’s.  

The screenwriter, Rajkumar Santoshi himself, is not at all times certain what it’s precisely that he needs the movie to convey. Although it’s typically clear on which aspect he’s, he adopts a somewhat lenient and vacillating method to fleshing out the character of Godse, performed in a starkly stagey method by Chinmay Mandlekar.  

The script provides Godse a somewhat lengthy rope. It not solely lets him air his questionable views on what the newly unbiased India ought to be – Gandhi, essayed with spectacular conviction by Deepak Antani, avers that his ‘murderer’ has each proper to talk his thoughts – but additionally willingly bestowing on his arguments a semblance of legitimacy and logic.  

That stated, Rajkumar Santoshi’s screenplay does have a sprinkling of fact that, taken in isolation in addition to within the context of what’s going on in at the moment’s India, is critical. In one scene, Bhimrao Ambedkar (Mukund Pathak), who underscores the necessity for equality and inclusion, asserts that the Constitution and never a non secular guide ought to information the nation because it forges a future for its folks.     

Even because the movie stresses the political stances of the founding fathers of the nation, it humanises each Gandhi and Godse however with clearly divergent outcomes. Sparks fly when the 2 males confront one another. Godse is rage and obduracy personified, Gandhi is an epitome of benign composure. One raves and rants, the opposite embraces equanimity as he counters the allegations hurled at him.       

Gandhi’s human failings are delivered to the fore – in a single scene, his deceased spouse seems in a imaginative and prescient and accuses him of being frightened of those that disagree with him and of being insensitive to those that worship the bottom he walks on.  

Gandhi’s perceived rigidity is sought to be underlined by the technique of an entirely dispensable subplot a couple of younger lady (the director’s daughter Tanisha Santoshi) who’s torn between her want to work with Bapu and her love for a professor (debutant Anuj Saini).   

On the opposite hand, Godse, regardless of the vitriol he spews towards a neighborhood and his threats of violence, is ultimately made to seem like a simply one other man on a mission that he believes is important for the nation and its majority neighborhood. It is not precisely glorification, nevertheless it does sound like a justification of his slim considering.  

In a warfare of ideologies, one makes use of concepts and never weapons, Gandhi says to Godse, who’s agency in his perception that the trail he has chosen is above reproach. The movie doesn’t let him get away with it, however permits him the scope to redeem himself within the climax.     

Post-1948, in an invented universe, Mahatma Gandhi continues to play a key function within the evolution of the nation. His experiments with village-degree self-rule, farmers’ rights, the safety of forest dwellers and their land, and the eradication of caste oppression – none of which has stopped being burning matters greater than 70 years on – are touched upon by the script.  

Gandhi’s motion for grassroots autonomy places him on a collision course with Nehru and residential minister Vallabhbhai Patel (Ghanshyam Srivastav). Beyond the Gandhi-Godse conflict, the movie examines the concept of India and the challenges that it has confronted from the very outset.  

Sarkarein seva nahi karti, hukumat karti hai (governments don’t serve, they rule), Gandhi says to justify his determination that the Indian National Congress ought to be dissolved as a result of it had served its goal – attainment of independence. A rift happens between Gandhi and the Congress working committee, which votes towards the dissolution proposal. 

In a thinly disguised jibe that resonates past the state of affairs by which it’s verbalised, one member of Gandhi’s coterie confronts Godse and factors out to the latter: Angrezon ne toh hum par bahut atyachar kiya, tumne ek Angrez pe patthar bhi nahi phenka par Gandhi Baba pe goli chala di (the English subjected us to nice torture; you didn’t throw even a stone at an English however pumped bullets into Gandhi).” 

The movie establishes the paucity of anti-imperialist heroes within the group that Godse champions in his far-proper newspaper printed from Pune. Godse cites the examples of Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekhar Azad and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s Indian National Army as forces that Gandhi and Congress have suppressed, quiet ignoring the truth that none of those freedom fighters had any persistence for the ideology that Gandhi’s killer stood for. 

The drawback with the knee-jerky Gandhi Godse: Ek Yudh is that it solely sporadically hits the buttons that it ought to to justify its existence at this level in India’s historical past.

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