Is this Hollywood or reality?

I couldn’t quite put my finger on this until I finished the film, but is this Gandhi or is it Richard Attenborough’s adaptation of Gandhi? I tend to believe the latter. I’ll call it the “Absolution” scene, but I found it to be somewhat perverse. Gandhi on his bed proclaiming “Go, God be with you” as the five street thugs laid down their swords at his feet is reminiscent of the proclamation of “Depart in peace” after receiving Holy Communion. The strange twist of Gandhi receiving the bread with the imperative “Here, eat!” as the words spoken at the altar, “Take, eat. The body of Christ.” seems to turn Gandhi back to human as Jesus Christ was both God and man. Gandhi then says, “Only God decides who goes to Hell.” yet he is elevated above God by his profession the solution to get out of Hell…”find a child…whose mother and father have been killed…and raise him as your own.” Then, as if to seal the deal, shortly following the “Absolution” scene, comes the “Crucifixion” scene, whereby Gandhi is put to death for the sins of Indian independence.

I don’t wish to detract from anything that Gandhi did in his life to bring harmony to the world, but just as Gandhi sought truth, we shouldn’t go looking in Hollywood to find it.


4 thoughts on “Is this Hollywood or reality?

  1. I think your list lines indicating the spirit of the post was right on, indicating the difference between analyzing representations and the real events/people themselves. Someone who wants to raise questions about the actual tactics of Gandhi needs to look at other materials too, and not just this film.

    • I, one day, hope to read more about Gandhi following this course. Unfortunately, many do not go beyond Hollywood. I originally wanted to somehow work the following into this discussion and it looks like maybe I can with this response. I recently read an article dealing with the fact that most of what people believe about firearms, they’ve “learned” from Hollywood. Of course, most of what Hollywood has “taught” them is hyper-sensationalized and inaccurate, if not downright false. I won’t blabber on about the article, but I will make a correlation to the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.

      From the reading I have done there were 50 riflemen armed with Lee-Enfield No.1 Mk.III rifles (accurately depicted in the film). The Mk.III holds 10 rounds in its detachable magazine. While I do not know if the British Indian Army were issued multiple magazines, I do know that 5-round charger clips were used in loading the magazine. Whether or not the soldiers present that day were such, a well-trained rifleman could fire up to 30 rounds per minute with the Mk.III.

      Now, some math. According to reports, the soldiers fired approximately 1,650 rounds–nearly all of their available ammunition. While we have no indication of how many rounds each individual soldier fired, dividing the lot among the 50 yields 33 rounds expended per soldier. Far fewer than the pile of nearly 50 rounds depicted at the foot of a soldier at 01:29:12 in the film.

      While the event may have lasted 10 minutes, as reports indicate, I contend that firing certainly lasted no more than 2 minutes. Whereas, the film gives a much different rendition with an open-ended scene leaving us with troops still firing after 1min 43sec of sustained fire and a pile of nearly 50 shell casings at the foot of one soldier.

      Yes, the massacre was a horrible and inhuman action. Shouldn’t the facts alone stand to support this without the hyper-sensationalized, inaccurate depiction given to us by Hollywood?

      • For anyone who cares, er… is interested [This is, in fact, college. You are supposed to learn something no matter the subject, correct?], I recently learned that while the Lee-Enfield rifle did have a detachable magazine, it was in fact serialized to the rifle, as were the bayonet, and the bayonet scabbard (if you own one with all matching serial numbers it is more valuable as a collectors piece). That indicates that the rifleman had to reload via the open bolt, which would, in theory, increase the time that it took to expend the number of rounds as listed in the reports.

        And Hollywood is still Hollywood.


  2. Whatever its flaws, I am glad the film was made, and in Hollywood where it would have exposure to Americans. Let’s not limit Hollywood to Indiana Jones types.

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