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.