Gandhi Godse—Ek Yudh leaves you Ghayal!



Well now, let me tell you a real story. Once upon a time, here was this filmmaker, groomed by Govind Nihalani, who made his debut with the raw and intense Ghayal 33 years ago. It won the critics over and was among the topmost hits of that year, giving Sunny Deol a new lease of professional life after a major spell of flops.

Then came another hard-hitting essay, Damini, and after that, Andaz Apna Apna, which did not do well then but went on to achieve cult status as a clean comedy nonpareil in the pre-Hera Pheri era. And in 2002, there was also The Legend of Bhagat Singh—real, gritty, ardent. Rajkumar Santoshi, the director common to all these movies, even directed the successful 2009 entertainer, Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani, known as Ranbir Kapoor’s career-first hit.

Most of Santoshi’s films, however, dealt with social issues, even the ones that did not work. But this time, he goes into a bizarre zone! He devises a film adaptation of the fictional (obviously!) Asgar Wajahat’s play titled and ends up making a film that serves no purpose.

Make no mistake, Gandhi Godse—Ek Yudh has little to say and sits on the Gandhi-Godse ideological fence with zero impact. It envisages a situation where Gandhi survives Godse’s shots, later forgives him and shares a cell (he has been arrested for some reasons!) with his would-be murderer. They exchange thoughts on their own viewpoints and even concede some to each other.

Meanwhile, Gandhi continues his activities, often embarrassing or troubling the government, and accepts doing some wrong deeds and having wrong thoughts. Godse is also shown being dumbstruck by some of Gandhi’s explanations, and later even saves Gandhi from another attack masterminded by a business lobby. They leave jail (where Gandhi is lodged for some other reasons) together!

Fiction needs to be convincing and if based on social issues, gripping and sincere. Sadly, though I am not familiar with the play, this movie drags even at 110 minutes and the second half is exasperatingly boring and pointless.

After a while, there is nothing but ennui even as the two lead actors tend to show the same facial expressions repeatedly even if different situations are being depicted on screen. The press clippings shown (of Gandhi’s activities after January 30, 1948, the day Godse shot him) are so patently fake I wonder why this cinematic ploy (which could not have been used on stage) was employed at all.  The screenplay is anything but engaging and the side-issues, like Gandhi’s disciple Sushma (Tanisha Santoshi)’s love story, only add to the monotony.

Technically, the film is given a dull sheen to provide the 1940s look, but there would have been no harm with normal cinematography. A.R. Rahman’s background score, for the first time, is routine, while he hardly needs to show any creativity in the two time-honored songs, Vaishnav jan to and Raghupati Raghav.

The two lead players are good in their parts, and while Gandhi’s part (played by Deepak Antani), comparatively, is better-written, it is Godse, played by Marathi veteran Chinmay Mandlekar, who is better enacted. Chinmay’s eyes are superbly expressive, as is his body language. Tanisha is nice, but newcomer Anuj Saini is disappointing. The actors playing the other characters are okay.

But the film isn’t even that. This was one subject that was so aimless it should have never been filmed, especially in this politically-enlightened era. The film leaves you ghayal (wounded), craving for substance or enlightenment, neither of which is there.

Rating; *1/2




Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here