On the eve of Mahatma Gandhi’s 146th birthday, An Encounter with Mahatma was screened in the city on Thursday. The 12-minute video is the directorial debut of city-based Gautham Kashyap – a scriptwriter, who co-wrote a bilingual film, Malini-22 and also Telugu film, Kundanapu Bomma in the past. The short film portrays Gandhi’s way of looking at religious differences in India during the pre-independence era.
Speaking of how people are divided on the grounds of religion, director Gautham Kashyap said, “Humanity today requires Mahatma Gandhi more than before. More importantly, I believe, we need Mahatma Gandhi to answer the fundamental questions of the present youth.”
The director added that though Gandhi was a Hindu, he respected other religions too. “Gandhi spent much of his life trying to reconcile differences between religious groups,” pointed the 47-year-old Gautham.
Though Gautham has made an effort to deliver a strong message, the video fails to hold the attention of viewers as it lacks eye-catching video clips from the archives.
The director who also plays the role of Mahatma in the video has failed to bring a realistic touch to it.
Majority of the reel has been eaten up by Mahatma’s speech – 10-and-a -half minutes. What adds on to the drag is that the speech has been captured in one particular camera angle – focusing only the left of Gandhi. Even the speech is repetitive, where every point Gandhi makes stresses on respecting every religion.
Technically too, there are a number of jump cuts. Abrupt audio editing makes us wonder whether this is the final product. There are a few scenes where the audio either ends after the video fades or begins before the visual hits your eyes.
However, speaking about the abrupt cuts, one of the producers and Telugu Film Directors Association (TFDA) President, B V S Srinivasu also known as Veera Sanker said it has been done to make it more realistic. Well, mister Sanker, it would have been better, had you given a little more attention to detail. Another factor that works against the docufiction is Gandhi’s strong South Indian accent.
Produced by Anuradha Umarji, screen writer for Gaganam, Ye Maya Chesave, 180 Intinta Annamayya and B V S Srinivasu the short film ends with Martin Luther King speaking about Mahatma Gandhi.
Available on YouTube.