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The Words of Gandhi
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page 7/111

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     In 1962 Motilal Kothari, a London-based Indian civil servant, asked me to make a film on the life of the Mahatma. I had only a rudimentary schoolboy's knowledge of Gandhi as the leader of the Indian people's struggle for independence from Britain. I therefore agreed to read a biography and some of his own writings.

     At the age of 23, in 1893, shortly after he had arrived in Southern Africa as an attorney to conduct a case for an Indian trading company, he wrote one sentence which knocked me off my feet. "It has always been a mystery to me how men can feel themselves honoured by the humiliation of their fellow beings." He had just witnessed Indians forced to walk in the gutter so that whites could pass unimpeded along the sidewalk.

     His words struck me so forcibly that there and then I committed myself to an attempt to make a film about Mahatma Gandhi - a commitment that changed the subsequent 20 years of my life. Since then, every career decision I have made has been tempered by my love affair with this one project.

     Gandhi had its world premiere in New Delhi on 30 November, 1982.

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