Gandhi And The Power of the Press

“Without a paper, a journal of some kind, you cannot unite a community. (A teasing smile.) You belong to a very important profession.” Ben Kingsley as Mohandas Gandhi speaking to reporter Vincent Walker.

I just recently watched the very powerful 1982 Richard Attenborough film Gandhi with Ben Kingsley.  The film is of course worth watching just on its own merits, but if you teach newspaper or video production, then this film is worthy of even more attention.

Veteran actor Martin Sheen portrays Vincent Walker (aka Webb Miller) who meets Gandhi as a young man and then goes with him on the Salt March.  His reporting quite possibly helped to bring the British Empire to its knees and allowed the freedom of India.

Then there is the real life photographer Margaret Bourke-White, played by Candice Bergen (of Murphy Brown fame) who took the iconic photo of Gandhi with the spinning wheel.

And finally, there are the wonderful features on the second disc.  This is a treasure trove for video teachers.  I had always assumed that Gandhi, the film, was a major big-budget film.  I was only 15 when the movie came out and I just figured it was a big thing.  I’ve always enjoyed Richard Attenborough as an actor and had no idea he’d ever directed a movie.  The cinematography is outstanding, not to mention costumes, sets and of course making a movie like this in India before cell phones, computers and email.

The film was actually made with no budget and all kinds of problems with production. Yet, it is a wonderful masterpiece.  I highly recommend this film for summer viewing.


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