Actors Who Lived Mahatma Gandhi On Screen

De di hame aazadi bina khadag bina dhal

Sabarmati ke sant tune kar diya kamala…..

This soulful song from the film JAGRITI (1954), penned my Rashtriya Kavi, Pradeep beautifully pays tribute to the Father of Nation, Mahatma Gandhi. October 2, marks the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the apostle of peace. On this occasion; Raaga.Com pays our humble homage to Mahatma Gandhi and takes a look at Top 5 actors who played Mahatma Gandhi on screen. 

Ben Kingsley (GANDHI) : Though it’s tragic but it’s true that no Indian actor has been able to portray, the caricature of Mahatma Gandhi, as genuine as Ben Kingsley, in Richard Attenborough’s film, GANDHI (1982). In fact readers may be surprised to know that the first choice for this role was Naseeruddin Shah but Shah in his interview himself confessed that after his screen test, when he saw Ben Kingsley as dressed as Gandhi, he could not believe his eyes as Ben Kingsely was so perfect in the role. 

Ben Kingsley went on to win an Oscar for the film and his performance in GANDHI is considered to be the best till date.

Naseeruddin Shah (HEY RAM): Though Naseeruddin Shah lost his chance of playing Mahatma in Richard Attenborough’s film, GANDHI but he got the opportunity to play Gandhi in Kamal Hassan’s HEY RAM. According to me after Ben Kingsley the Naseeruddin Shah holds the second position to potray Gandhi to perfection. The highlight of Naseeruddin Shah excelling in the character is that Shah splendidly added the Gujarati accent and body language superbly thus making the character immortal. 

Dilip Prabhavalkar (LAGEY RAHO MUNNABHAI): Till LAGEY RAHO MUNNABHAI was released few knew who played the role of Mahatma Gandhi in the film. The actor to excellently portray Gandhi was renowned Marathi actor Dilip Prabhavalkar, who is regarded as versatile stage and cinema actor in Maharashtra. This was the first film which showed Gandhi in a contemporary setting and humorous brought home Gandhiji’s teachings and principals to the modern day world. 

Dilip Prabhavalkar, was so much lauded by the film buffs that he was offered to repeat the role of Gandhi in the Telugu language remake LAGEY RAHO MUNNABHAI called SHANKAR DADA ZINDABAD.

Darshan Zariwala (GANDHI MY FATHER): Stage actor Darshan Zariwala played Bapu in Anil Kapoor produced Gandhi My Father. The film had the most unique take on Gandhiji as it focused on his personal life more than the political one and showed how despite being the ‘Father of nation’, Gandhiji couldn’t be a good father to his son Harilal Gandhi. 

Darshan Zariwala won the Best Supporting Actor National Award. 

Annu Kapoor (Sardar): Annu Kapoor became a famous figure on Indian television through the musical game show Antakshari. But before his television stints he was a part of several small and sensible Hindi films. He played the role of Gandhi in Ketan Mehta’s biopic on Vallabhai Patel titled SARDAR.