Gandhi – My Father

October 14, 2007

We always think about Mahatma Gandhi as the freedom fighter, fighting for India’s independence, leading millions of people in protest against the British, liberating the country in his own unique way. What about Gandhi the person, a husband and father of four children?

The movie Gandhi My Father takes a close look at one of Mahatma Gandhi’s life’s biggest personal regrets. A rare movie that talks about his family and the problems in his own personal life. That he was able to rise above them in achieving what he did is just an illustration of his being the great man that he was.

It isn’t easy being great. It is harder being a father when you have greater things to achieve. This movie is about Gandhi and his relationship with his eldest son, Harilal Gandhi.

The movie starts off with a young Gandhi (Darshan Jariwala) before that incident at Pietermaritzburg which made him plunge into the fight for civic rights. He is a lawyer. He is happily married with kids. All but one are with him. The one who isnt, his eldest son, is in Rajkot. Hari Lal.

HariLal (Akshaye Khanna) gets married to Gulab (Bhoomika Chawla) without taking his father’s permission, and Gandhi being the strict father that he is, is offended. Harilal soon comes to South Africa, and gets involved in Gandhi’s work. He in fact becomes the first Satyagrahi in South Africa, and goes to jail. But somewhere inside him there’s this desire to be free of his father who makes all decisions, even the decision to send Gulab back to India even as he was still in jail. He wants to study, become a lawyer, lead a happy family life where he makes money to feed his family. He wants to take his own decisions.

He quits. And goes back to India. Only his abilities don’t match his ambitions. He fails his matric (10th grade) exams three times, and is unable to find any job. So much for becoming a lawyer. His household, meanwhile, is running with money coming from South Africa. Gandhi still wants him to join his movement and he keeps refusing.

Meanwhile Gandhi is done with South Africa and returns to India.

I know i couldnt be the ideal son you wanted, but you are responsible for that. I wasn’t always like this. My hands shake as i write this. I am sorry. Harilal writes in a letter to his father.
Gandhi tells Ba (Shefali Shah) – “My son is brave, but wrong. The good thing is that he is willing to fight for his principles, even if it is against me”

Harilal goes his separate way. Only to commit fraud at his job. The job he got because of is father’s name. Soon people start banging on the doors trying to recover the money they trusted him with. Gulab soon leaves him because she cannot support his corrupt dealings anymore. His son dies soon. Then she dies.

Gandhi asks him to move in to the ashram. Life seems to be getting back on track.

Not for long. Some industrialists involve Harilal in a corrupt scheme involving Gandhi’s name. He is in heavy debt. People lose their life savings investing in this fraudulent venture. Eventually Gandhi has to publicly disown Harilal Gandhi.

Things get worse. He converts to Islam. Gandhi is hurt, but still loves him.

Harilal or Abdulla, they both mean the same thing. Son of God. If he changed his religion, that doesn’t mean that our love for him should grow any less. He tells Ba (his wife – Kasturba)

Things go out of hand soon. Eventually Harilal converts back to Hinduism. But that doesn’t change things much. He is still a drunken, depraved mess of a man who has no clue what to do with his life. Ba dies with Harilal’s name on her lips wishing he was with them.

India gets Independance, though not the one Gandhi wanted. Millions are killed in the rioting all over the country. Gandhi has two regrets in his life – Mohammad Ali Jinnah, and Harilal Gandhi.

In his last days, Gandhi keeps wondering if things would have been different had his son been with him. Harilal is nowhere to be found. Gandhi dies felled by a fundamentalist bullet, and Harilal watches the funeral of his own father from the sidelines.

He dies a few months later, unknown, unsung, and unidentified. A man who couldn’t bear the burden of being the son of a great man. A man who tried to chart his own destiny but whose name wouldn’t let him lead a normal life. A man who couldn’t be the son of the father of the nation.

Related Reading:

Father to the Nation, Stranger to his son
Mahatma Gandhi – Wikipedia
Gandhi on his son converting to Islam
Deccan Herald on this movie

Interesting Fact:

Harilal was born when Gandhi was 19. By the time Gandhi was 31, he had four sons.

Tags: , , ,

22 Responses to “ Gandhi – My Father ”

  1. Shefaly on October 15, 2007 at 5:40 am

    Good review.

    Wasn’t Gandhi married in a child marriage?

  2. rambodoc on October 15, 2007 at 6:11 am

    One more movie I missed out in the past. Good review!
    I think yes, Shefaly, he was married as a child.

  3. Shefaly on October 15, 2007 at 7:40 am

    Rambodoc: Thanks. In which case his having fathered a child by the age of 18 is no surprise.

  4. madhurisinha on October 15, 2007 at 12:14 pm

    Good Review AD.
    If only Mahatma would pour his heart out directly to Harilal instead of Ba.

  5. pr3rna on October 16, 2007 at 7:23 am

    I loved the movie.Must see for all parents and children. One can see the other side of the story.

    Very true Prerna! – AD

  6. mahendrap on October 17, 2007 at 9:48 am

    I am simply glad that they’re making such movies. There was this one, and the other – Chirosakha He, about Tagore’s sister-in-law. Unfortunately, familial obligations have prevented me from seeing Gandhi My Father, and Chirosakha He hasn’t been screened in India…

  7. Interval on October 31, 2007 at 7:12 pm

    Need to watch the original Gandhi movie to appreciate this:

    To watch all the latest Bollywood flicks, go to

    Relax, take a break at Interval.

  8. Sasha R. on February 11, 2008 at 10:27 am

    Yup, Gandhi was married at the age of 13 to a girl named Kasturba… I think they were both the same age. There was one quote that stuck in my memory… something like this…

    “We were both thirteen. … the wedding meant no more than wearing new clothes, eating sweets and playing with family”

  9. read even more on September 22, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    The Internet is really just a new medium for conveying information.
    Things like search engine optimization and pay per click management are more intangible, but they help promote a website by placing it where people
    will see it when they are looking for that type of product
    or service. One of the quickest method to frighten prospective customers is by having
    a lot of spelling errors.

    my webpage read even more

  10. property management companies in the south bay area on September 23, 2014 at 12:24 am

    Just desire to say your article is as surprising. The clarity to your put up
    is simply cool and that i could think you are a professional on this subject.
    Well together with your permission allow me to take hold of your feed to stay updated with impending post.
    Thanks 1,000,000 and please carry on the enjoyable work.

  11. website development Boise on September 23, 2014 at 11:25 am

    I was recommended this website by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by
    him as no one else know such detailed about my problem.
    You are incredible! Thanks!

    my web-site website development Boise

  12. Anonymous on March 14, 2016 at 9:09 pm

    WOOD PRODUCTS ???? MTV-5222 ???? hag-4183453s2 ?????? ???? ???? ??? ?? ? ? ??? ?????? ?? ??? ???? ?????? ?????? AV??? AV??? ??????? TV? TV??? TV???

    Superb, what a webpage it is! This webpage presents valuable information to us, keep it up.

  13. I got this web site from my pal who shared with me about this web site and now this time I am visiting this web page and reading very informative posts here.

  14. Anonymous on March 16, 2016 at 5:36 pm

    Hi, i think that i saw you visited my blog so i got here to go back the want?.I’m trying to find things to enhance my web site!I guess its good enough to use some of your concepts!!

  15. Anonymous on March 16, 2016 at 10:23 pm

    Howdy, i read your blog from time to time and i own a similar one and i was just wondering if you get a lot of spam remarks? If so how do you reduce it, any plugin or anything you can advise? I get so much lately it’s driving me crazy so any help is very much appreciated.

  16. Anonymous on March 29, 2016 at 9:46 am

    Pretty! This has been a really wonderful post. Thank you for supplying these details.

  17. Anonymous on March 30, 2016 at 12:56 am

    When someone writes an post he/she maintains the idea of a user in his/her mind that how a user can be aware of it. Thus that’s why this paragraph is amazing. Thanks!

  18. Anonymous on March 30, 2016 at 5:15 pm

    Remarkable issues here. I am very glad to look your post. Thanks a lot and I am taking a look ahead to contact you. Will you kindly drop me a mail?

  19. Anonymous on March 31, 2016 at 1:10 am

    Good post. I learn something new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon every day. It will always be interesting to read content from other authors and use a little something from their web sites.

  20. Anonymous on March 31, 2016 at 8:08 am

    Everyone loves what you guys are up too. This kind of clever work and coverage! Keep up the awesome works guys I’ve incorporated you guys to blogroll.

  21. Anonymous on April 1, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    I rarely drop remarks, but i did some searching and wound up here %BLOG_TITLE%. And I actually do have a few questions for you if it’s allright. Could it be simply me or does it appear like some of these responses come across like coming from brain dead folks? :-P And, if you are posting at additional online sites, I would lie to keep up with anything new you have to post. Would you list of all of all your shared pages like your twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?

  22. Anonymous on April 3, 2016 at 10:28 am

    Great beat ! I wish to apprentice even as you amend your website, how can i subscribe for a blog web site? The account helped me a appropriate deal. I had been a little bit acquainted of this your broadcast offered bright clear concept

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog


All content on this site is the personal opinion of the writer. It is in no way related to their employer or their official policies. Most of what is written here is in a satirical tone. If it hurts your sensibilities, I sincerely apologize.
%d bloggers like this: