Gandhi Godse Ek Yudh
Onto the next release and I finished watching another Hindi theatrical release which has been lost in the humongous Pathaan wave. The film is Gandhi Godse Ek Yudh which is directed by veteran director Rajkumar Santoshi who was previously at the helm of films like Andaz Apna Apna and The Legend Of Bhagat Singh. And as luck would have it, my review goes live on 30th January which is regarded as Martyrs Day or a day when two powerful personalities crossed paths for the last time – Gandhi and Godse with the latter assassinating the former. I wouldn’t comment on the views of either party but would strictly stick to the movie at hand here.
Firstly, it may not have been the wisest decision to take Pathaan head on by releasing the film theatrically along side. It was a no-brainer that the film did not find many takers due to the Pathaan wave. Secondly, I did find the trailer to be interesting but I also did fear a controversy round the corner, tactfully brewing in the form of a propaganda. It did seem like a film trying to tarnish the image of one of the two protagonists in the film(upto you to guess, kind of obvious). Despite that, I still did go with an open mind in order to judge the film for what it is serving without my own opinions trying to influence me. So then does Gandhi Godse Ek Yudh manage to impress, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
Gandhi Godse Ek Yudh is a fictional account of the miraculous resurrection of Mahatma Gandhi post the assassination attempt of Nathuram Godse that triggers a ideological war between the two parties. The story is straight up a fiction and credit to the makers for putting up a disclaimer right at the beginning. And thus, this concept is a thought-provoking one and something that holds a lot of relevance in today’s times to opt for a middle ground between various ideologies. The screenplay standing at just about a 110 minutes is a brisk watch alright, but the writing barely skims the surface making its trailer look like a clickbait.
First things first, this film contrary to my belief is NOT A PROPAGANDA FILM. it doesn’t tarnish the image of either of the parties. But when you have a powerful title and a trailer, the viewers do go in with an expectation of witnessing a proper debate or face-off between the two principle characters. But sadly, you get very little of it. The drama does devote a good 25 minutes to setup the world and the politics of the time. This part of the drama is closest to history as we know it. The conflicts and the turmoil of the people leading up to the assassination of the Mahatma is what we have learnt in our history textbooks. And the world building here is quick to acknowledge that and quite brisk also in setting up the context. But it is from this point that the drama ends up becoming a fiction but not in a bad way.
The idea of the resurrection of Mahatma Gandhi was a clever one, something that did give the film a new dimension. However, the writing here is shallow and not deep enough to evoke the right kind of sentiments. This would have worked better as a stage play but as a feature film, the medium holds some reservations, one of them being the factor of fleshing out the drama to meet its appropriate length. The screenplay is quite disjointed as well, especially in the middle act that absolutely goes for a toss. The writing should have been nuanced and seamless in trying to go from Point A to Point B but sadly that wasn’t the case.
One of the reasons why I had gone in to watch the film was to witness the fight of ideologies, as promised in the trailer. But for major portions of the film, this doesn’t transpire. The focus instead is on the Mahatma extending support to citizens at the grassroot level. This would have worked too, had the writing not been disjointed. Atleast three separate incidents were laid out with no connection to each other, thereby making it disjointed. The face-off of sorts is restricted only to the third act which is quite good to witness but not with its share of flaws. I did get a feeling that in trying to maintain a balance, there was a little manipulation in terms of the writing. For instance, the entire love angle did not work and felt totally unnecessary despite featuring as a turning point in one of the individual’s ideology towards the end. Also, the transformation of both individuals did not seem convincing, leading up to an abrupt end. So overall, while the concept was a winner of paper and supremely relevant, the writing is under par here.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are quite good particularly in the face-off which does create a bit of an impact. The music is good with a nice little rendition of certain songs of the Mahatma. The BGM is decent as well. The cinematography is quite good. Director Rajkumar Santoshi has been a prolific director over the years. But here I did feel that his skills were outdated, probably stuck in the late 90s and early 2000s. This was a similar issue that I had with Indra Kumar in his last directorial venture Thank God. The skills need updation for a better impact in the drama. But having said that, he does show some glimpses of brilliance particularly in the third act that does have its heart in the right place. So overall, a bit of a mixed bag as far as the direction is concerned.
The performances are quite good here. Arif Zakaria and Pawan Chopra are fabulous to watch and have their moments to shine. Anuj Saini as Naren is a little stiff. Tanisha Santoshi as Sushma did look pretty but she did get off to an uneven start. That first scene was faulty.
But as the drama does progress, she keeps getting better. A tip for her – she may want to restrict her facial expressions and instead use it a little more tactfully. But the show does belong to the two principle characters – Deepak Antari as Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and Chinmay Mandlekar as Nathuram Vinayak Godse. The latter is a fabulous actor and here he is such a natural onscreen. He is sincere and endearing walking a fine line on being firm on his ideologies without being hated. The former is probably the closest resemblance to the Mahatma and his body language and mannerisms are absolutely brilliant. The drama is the best to watch when both of them share screen space together which is also a metaphor on the middle ground that the film does intend to convey.
Gandhi Godse Ek Yudh boasts of excellent performances but the writing needed to be sharper and nuanced for a bigger impact. I would still urge people to give the film a chance primarily due to the subject which is supremely relevant. Available in a theatre near you.