February 2, 2023
by Carla Hay
Directed by Rajkumar Santoshi
Hindi with subtitles
Culture Representation: Taking place in 1948, primarily in New Delhi, India, the dramatic film “Gandhi Godse – Ek Yudh” features an all-Asian cast of characters representing the working-class, middle-class and wealthy.
Culture Clash: In a story that revises history, political revolutionary Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (also known as Mahatma Gandhi), a preacher of non-violence, survives an assassination attempt by Hindu nationalist Nathuram Vinayak Godse, and the two men have ongoing political debates about how much power Hindus should have in India.
Culture Audience: “Gandhi Godse – Ek Yudh” will appeal primarily to people who don’t mind watching a ridiculous story that insults the legacy of a beloved historical figure.
“Gandhi Godse – Ek Yudh” is a fictional drama in every sense of the word, because the movie completely rewrites history about Indian political revolutionary Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (also known as Mahatma Gandhi) to turn it into something that looks like an ill-conceived fairy tale. Although the movie’s intentions might have been good, it’s a bizarre and revisionist fantasy that insults Gandhi and makes his assassin look like a misunderstood fanatic who could easily manipulate Gandhi. Perhaps the best thing that can be said about this movie is that at least the actor playing Gandhi resembles him.
Written and directed by Rajkumar Santoshi, “Gandhi Godse – Ek Yudh” (which means “Gandhi Godse – A War” in Hindi) takes place in 1948, mainly in the Indian capital city of New Delhi. In real life, Gandhi (who preached tolerance of other cultures and non-violence) was assassinated by a gun shooting on January 30, 1948, at the age of 78. Gandhi’s murderer was Nathuram Vinayak Godse, a Hindu nationalist who believed that only Hindus should have power in India. Godse, who was found guilty in a trial, was executed by hanging on November 15, 1949.
In “Gandhi Godse – Ek Yudh,” Gandhi (played by Deepak Antani) is shot by Godse (played by Chinmay Mandlekar) in public in January 1948, but Godse survives the assassination. Godse, who has a particular hatred of Pakistanis, then launches a public smear campaign against Gandhi, in order to make Gandhi look like a traitor to India. The two men meet up under various circumstances to have political debates in public and in private. That’s the flimsy concept of this very misguided film.
It’s a fundamentally flawed concept, because Godse faces no real punishment for trying to kill Gandhi. The movie makes it look like Godse was let out of jail in a matter of a few months. “Gandhi Godse – Ek Yudh” never shows Godse on trial or entering a “guilty” or “not guilty” plea to attempted murder charges in a courtroom. This careless disregard in ignoring any realistic legal consequences for this assassination attempt is enough to ruin the movie.
It gets worse. “Gandhi Godse – Ek Yudh” also has an unnecessary subplot about a young couple meeting Gandhi when he was in a hospital recovering from his gunshot wounds. The couple’s names are Sushma (played by Tanisha Santoshi) and her boyfriend Naren (played by Anuj Saini), who teaches English at a local college. Sushma and Naren plan to get married, and they want Gandhi’s blessing.
The storyline with Sushma and Naren is nothing but filler to stretch out the movie and have a few sappy singing scenes. The romance between Sushma and Naren is as boring as can be and really adds nothing to the movie. It’s all contrived so that there’s a conflict when Godse finds out that Gandhi does not approve of Sushma and Naren getting married. Godse’s thoughts on this romance is used as a reason for Godse to have more resentment toward Gandhi. Yes, this part of the movie is as bad as it sounds.
All of the acting performances in “Gandhi Godse – Ek Yudh” range from mediocre to terrible, just like the dialogue and scenarios in the movie. Real-life political figures Jawaharlal Nehru (played by Pawan Chopra) and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel (played by Ghanshyam Srivastav) are portrayed as hollow and generic. “Gandhi Godse – Ek Yudh” wants to promote the idea that Gandhi and Godse could have had a “frenemy” relationship. In the movie, it all looks like a tacky soap opera.
“Gandhi Godse – Ek Yudh” is filled with ridiculous and unrealistic scenarios that truly insult the intelligence of viewers. Even people who might not know anything about Gandhi can see how moronic everything is in this train wreck of a movie. The “debates” between Gandhi and Godse are very repetitive and lack anything than can be considered clever. And to top it all off, the ending of “Gandhi Godse – Ek Yudh” is absolutely heinous and just confirms that this garbage movie is completely irredeemable.
PVR Pictures released “Gandhi Godse – Ek Yudh” in select U.S. cinemas and in India on Janaury 26, 2023.