Cast: Akshaye Khanna, Darshan Jariwala, Shefali Shah and Bhumika Chawla

Director:  Feroz Abbas Khan 

Date of Release: 3rd August, 2007

Plot:   Mohandas Gandhi fights for the independence of India and the empowerment of his people. However, all is not well between him and his son, Harilal. 

Unlike the award winning Richard Attenborough 1982  classic, which reenacted the revered 'Father of India' s journey from a barrister to a political activist and Ashram leader;  Gandhi, My Father explores his personal life; particularly  his troubled relationship with  his eldest son, Harilal, who serves as the film's narrator. 
 While Ghandi's activism and key events of his life is hightlighted, including his time in South Africa,  we see Ghandi (Jariwala) more as  a husband and father. However, the film is more about Harilal (Khanna) who we see struggling to find his identity and move away from his popular father's shadow. Harilal, like most children of iconic figures, is sympathetic as he wanted to be seen more than just  Gandhi's son,  and be known for his own accomplishments. Aside from not wanting to be in his father's shadow, he also didnt want to be found guilty by association by his father's enemies who see him as a troublemaker because of his oppostion of British rule in his country. 

Harilal is a flawed human being who wishes to achieve his goals without his father's influence but several factors prevents him from doing so. The film not only shows his struggles but a few things non Gandhi history buffs are aware of. For example, while he studied Law at the Inner Temple in London, Gandhi disapproved of Harilal's decison to follow in his footsteps, as he felt that a Western Education will not help in the fight against British rule in India. Harilal defies him anyway but fails his exams more than once, unreasonably blaming his father and further resenting him when Gandhi is unable to finance his education any longer. He struggles to provide for his family, remains angry and resentful of his father, his resentment taking a toll on his marriage; the whole time certain society sees him as "Gandhi's uneducated and unemployed son". While he should have found a way and worked harder to achieve his goal, he turns to alcohol, his debts piling up,  refusing to reconcile with his father; instead publicly proclaiming his preference towards his mother, Kasuba. Even turning to Islam fails to sober him up as he still abused acohol  and we are left wondering if he converted purely out spite, as he eventually returned to Hinduism, drifting further and further away from his family, which was really sad to watch.  

Akshaye Khanna gave his all playing Gandhi's embittered son who chose to mostly blame his father for his failures, when he was actually his own worst enemy. Maybe he and Gandhi has diferences in thought but Gandhi (played very well by Darshan Jariwala) genuinely loved him, yet Harilal stubbornly refused to be guided by him and thus misses out on important events in his life. 
The film was well directed and shot both in India and South Africa. However, the film failed to show the relationship between Gandhi and his other three sons, they were basically unseen in the film, as if they never existed. However, Darshan Jariwala, like his predecessor Ben Kingsley in the 1982 film, played the revered man with confidence and dignity and was just as convincing as Kingsley, who won as Oscar for his performance. We see him both as the politician/activist and a father, while human, was NOT negligent when it came to his family. His eventual assassination is not shown but the mass grief by the people is, Harilal's reaction the heaviest but no one saw it because by then, he was far more invisible than he ever felt when his father was alive.

As this is a biography, it has no musical numbers common in Bollywood films, but doesn't prevent from being a good watch. 


The film is based on Harilal Gandhi's biography, "Harilal Gandhi: A Life", written by Chandulal Bhagubhai Dalal and "Gandhiji's Lost Jewel" by Neelamben Parikh

Akshaye Khanna is the son of late actor  Vinod Khanna ('The Burning Train",  "Dhaal", "Godfather") 


Gandhi (to Harilal): School education gives you knowledge from the books, it doesn't build your character.

Harilal: Alcohol is my medicine and also my pain


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