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Mahatma GandhiMahatma Gandhi
Mahatma Gandhi

Read on to know about the portrayal of Mahatma Gandhi in popular culture.

Mahatma Gandhi in Popular Culture

Mahatma Gandhi fell to an assassin's bullets way back in 1948. But the visions and the philosophy of the Mahatma are as much relevant today as they were more than half a decade ago. His teachings and ideology have struck a chord with people from all over the world and many have attempted to portray Mahatma Gandhi's life through different creative avenues. As such one comes across a plethora of examples where the life and the works of the Mahatma have been depicted in popular media platforms such as film, literature, and the theater.

The 1982 film, Gandhi, is perhaps the most acclaimed tribute to Mahatma Gandhi's life. The film, directed by Richard Attenborough and starring Ben Kingsley as Gandhi, went on to sweep the Academy Awards that year by winnings eight Oscars including Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Director. But as far as social impact is concerned, the 2006 Bollywood movie Lage Raho Munna Bhai wins hands down for its role in awakening a whole generation of Indian youngsters to the principles of Mahatma Gandhi. The film, featuring popular actor Sanjay Dutt in the lead role, coined the term Gandhigiri to bring home the relevance of Gandhi's tenets in today's world.

The play 'Mahatma vs. Gandhi' directed by Feroz Khan and starring Naseeruddin Shah as Mahatma, seeks to explore the complex father-son relationship between Mahatma Gandhi and his eldest son Harilal Gandhi. The play 'Me Nathuram Godse Boltoy,' directed by Pradeep Dalavi, is an autobiographical take on the life of Mahatma Gandhi's assassin Nathuram Godse. The play generated much controversy for the supposedly unbiased portrayal of the circumstances in which Gandhi's murder was plotted and carried out by Godse.

Television and Internet
While films and plays based on Mahatma Gandhi's life are basically serious productions, the same cannot be said about the depictions in television and the Internet. While the MTV cartoon 'Clone High' featured the clone of Gandhi as one of the main characters, the cartoon 'Time Squad' on Cartoon Network has an episode where Gandhi is portrayed as craving for a career in tap dancing, instead of leading the Indian freedom struggle. In the first week of 2007, a video posted in the video-sharing website sparked off a controversy for showing a man dressed as Gandhi gyrating to music and doing a pole dance.

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